Closing in on year end: What I learned in 2014

It’s been a busy but rewarding year for those of us involved in creating clear, direct content for consumers of financial services information. And the good news is that the need for concise writing and engaging content will likely continue through 2015 and beyond for a number of reasons. Among them:

  • The need to translate valuable insights of financial experts and investment professionals into language that real people can understand — and act on — will continue.

On the one hand, the jargon and shorthand that investment analysts and portfolio managers use among themselves will likely always exist. Like legal jargon among attorneys, terms such as “alpha” and “tailwinds” serve as shorthand among members 0f the elite investment professionals “club”, helping them quickly connect with their colleagues and the institutional investor audience.

On the other hand, there is a critcal need for regular investors to have access to these concepts, to stay involved with their investments, and understand how changes in the markets and the economy may (or may not) affect their decisions. That’s where writers who can translate the concepts become an invaluable resource.  For an interesting article on how plain language is critical to good communication of investment results, read Susan Weiner’s MarketingProfs article on Seven Ways to Talk Your Financial Execs Out of Jargon and Bad Writing. (You may be asked to sign up, but trust me, it’s free and more than worth it!) 

  • Feeding the the voracious content beast while also providing clear explanations and concise, readable content to help investors screen out an ever-increasing amount ot noise and make wise decisions has never been more urgent. Young and old, male and female, rich and poor, knowledgeable or just starting out — all want information that they can understand easily, digest quickly, and feel confident putting into action.
  • Cutting to the chase becomes absolutely essential as the ubiquitous use of mobile devices requires all communicators to help their clients think about how spare but strong words can capture people’s attention on a small screen.
  • Clear, concise language can cut through the clutter to engage people whose attention is so easily distracted by the next message (or cat video) on their phone, iPad, or laptop.

But my colleagues and I are up to the challenge. Always something new to look forward to (and fix!) in the year ahead. Welcome 2015!

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