Top writing tips from CFA Hartford, FPAMA, NYSSA, and PAICR

Participants in my four May writing workshops expressed their opinions on my most helpful tips. I share their favorites below, along with related links.

1. Use mind mapping to organize your thoughts before you write.

You can create a mind map focused on the topic you’d like to tackle in your investment commentary, article, or other written piece. Put the topic in the middle of your page, then start mapping ideas. Once you have everything down on the page, it’s time for analysis. Don’t forget this key step!

Here are some of my blog posts on mind mapping:

Mind mapping was the favorite tip of my CFA Hartford and New York Society of Security Analysts participants.

2. Use the first-sentence check on your articles, blog posts, and more.

The first-sentence check is a great way to assess how well your article flows. The method also gives you a sense of how much a skimming reader might absorb.

The basic idea is to read the first sentence of every paragraph. I explain the details in “Quick check for writers, with an economic commentary example.

This was the favorite tip of participants in my PAICR RFP Symposium presentation. In general, they favored my tips for simplifying sentences. By the way, if you’re a PAICR member, you can find my handout from the presentation on the members-only website.

3. Improve your email subject lines.

Your email subject lines will have a greater impact when you put your action items and deadlines in them. Also, pay attention to line length, or you may experience the problem I describe in “Don’t make this mistake in your email subject lines!

The topic of subject lines clearly resonated with the attendees at my presentation to the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts.


Want to learn more about these techniques? Stay tuned for the release of my book, Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients.

June 28 update: I revised this post to add a link to “Photo + Mind Map = Blog Inspiration,” which is one of my favorite posts. Also, I made one small word change.