Most people’s attention span is a fraction of what it was just a few years ago. The onslaught of digital tools has made us ‘skimmers,’ just as you may be doing right now.
As our brains act like a sieve, creating engaging content in any industry can be a challenge. Creating engaging content as a finance professional is one of the most difficult. It requires even more challenges than an average blog, article or the like.
Making finance interesting and even humorous is a fine line between sounding like an amateur or a professional. Yet, this is what engages a following. It can be much more of an uphill climb, but it can be done.
Out with the Old
In the financial world, a plethora of pertinent information is readily available but is often perceived as dry, mundane material that revolves around statistics, numbers and future predictions. This can often sedate readers into half-engagement, if any engagement at all. They want to retain the information but getting there can be a chore and for some it becomes a “par for the course” expectation.
However, what if your content not only informs but also draws in your reader to the point that they not only read every word, they come back to your info as well as recommend it to others? This is the Holy Grail for anyone wanting to get their work noticed, especially if it goes viral.
In a blog or article you want to gear your tone to the emotional side of finance as well as the practical. This, of course, doesn’t mean that your work should be fraught with so much emotion you lose your reader. It means that any feelings you may experience in your field are probably shared by others. Use these clues to keep it real but not over the top.
Like any finance project, before you decide to write content you need to know what and how you’re going to lay it out. Create an outline that covers the beginning, middle and end of what you want to say. Once this technical step is covered, adding in some personalization is next.
The Personal Take
Here is where it get’s tricky. Unless you are a known professional in your field that people want to listen to, chances are that self-indulgent work may immediately turn off your reader. Therefore, stick to writing in the third person putting your views into the eyes of the reader.
It is all well and good to write like a literary novelist but if you don’t say something meaningful with proof to back it up there’s no chance anyone will care. Lay out your content with bullet points, quoted financial analysis that is up to date, current events and news and various opinions (other than your own). All references must be sourced at the bottom of the page or as a hyperlink.
Title It Right
Using technical jargon in a title may be exactly what your reader will respond to. However, creating a “hook” that stands out from the rest could be your foot in the door. For example, if you are writing about how new technology has affected trading behavior you could use a title such as, ‘Machines Takeover: Trading in a Nanosecond.’
Go Digital Crazy
Getting read across social media platforms is the best form of self-marketing. When it comes to your engaging content this is where you can not only test it out but receive some actual feedback. Sure, grandma and all your loved ones may swoon but many social media users feel safe enough to spout their honest opinion.
Here a few tips to get your stuff on the social media highway:
- Open Accounts - You should belong to every platform and any that are on the horizon. Unless you want to limit yourself to only financially related threads, connect and be able to link back to Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter.
- Open Your Mouth - Get word-of mouth recommendations of where your colleagues might connect.
- Don’t just Link - Posting a link on your Facebook page to your blog or recent published work often gets lost in the sauce. Copy and paste a sample along with your link to hook a new reader.
- Link Back - Many sites offer a ‘link back’ hyperlink or bottom source posting to your site(s) if you offer them a guest article. Others allow this in lieu of pay. Either way, finding someway to bring readers back to what your article refers to enables a solid reference that makes your work look credible.
How to create engaging content as a financial professional takes a ‘thinking outside the box’ approach to surpass all the competition. Stay clever and creative to make your work get noticed.
Megan Ritter is an SEO professional, writer and graduate student who lives in Los Angeles. You may follow her at https://twitter.com/megmarieritter.