How to Write About Controversial Topics in Your Investment Newsletter

Posted by Scott Wentworth on Sep 28, 2017 10:05:44 AM

Many investment firms struggle when deciding what they should write about in their investor newsletters. These decisions can become particularly difficult when there are high-profile news events that are dominating headlines in the mainstream media.

As a financial writer who helps companies write their newsletters, I get a lot of questions from clients along the lines of, “Should we be writing about [insert trending, high-profile news item here] in our newsletter? I know our clients are hearing a lot about this, and it seems like we should have a point of view on it.”

Clients will bring up many different considerations when talking through these decisions, including: “We don’t want to look like we have our heads in the sand.” “We want to show that we are relevant.” “We don’t want to touch an issue that is too politicized or divisive.” “We don’t want to end up being wrong.” “We don’t want to ‘get outside of our lane’.” And the list goes on.

Given the number of considerations companies try to weigh, it’s no wonder that firms struggle when deciding whether to write about a high-profile and potentially controversial topic.

Rather than trying to balance all of those separate considerations, firms should narrow their thought-process and answer one main question: “Can we add value for our clients by writing about this topic?” If the answer is yes, the topic probably belongs in your newsletter. If the answer is no, leave it out.

Let’s apply this litmus test to a few recent topics that have been grabbing headlines lately.

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Newsletters, Financial Writing Tips, Investment Banking Marketing, Asset Management Marketing

3 Tips For Writing High-Quality Investor Letters

Posted by Scott Wentworth on Sep 13, 2017 10:52:00 AM

Writing quarterly letters to investors is a fact of life for portfolio managers, financial advisors, and other professionals in the asset management industry. Whether you operate a mutual fund that is legally required to send out a quarterly letter or you’re a financial advisor who just wants to have a regular stream of communication to keep clients updated about market conditions, the deadline for your next quarterly letter always seems to be right around the corner.

If you’re like a lot of quantitative-minded people, these investor letters might be the most writing-intensive task that you have to tackle all quarter. But sitting down and putting your ideas about the fund’s performance, market valuations, or macroeconomic conditions—things that you spend all day thinking about—in writing might not be as simple as it sounds.

As a professional ghostwriter who works with clients across the financial services industry, I’ve helped many clients write or edit their quarterly letters to investors. So I’ve seen a lot of excellent letters—and a lot of weak ones, too.

Here are three things you can do to enhance the quality of your quarterly investor letters:

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Financial Writing Tips, Investment Banking Marketing, Asset Management Marketing

How CFA Charterholders Can Become Investment-Grade Writers

Posted by Scott Wentworth on Sep 4, 2017 4:57:21 PM

While most CFA charterholders may not consider themselves to be professional writers, most of them spend a significant portion of their day writing. Whether it’s an email to their internal investment committee, a quarterly letter to their fund’s investors, or an article about recent market trends for the firm’s blog, explaining their investment ideas through the written word is an important skill for most investment professionals.

For many CFA charterholders, however, numbers are their native language, and writing isn’t something that comes naturally to them. But that doesn’t mean these analysts, portfolio managers, and other investment professionals can’t improve their writing.

Contrary to popular belief, writing is not an innate skill that can’t be improved. Even if you consider yourself a “numbers person, not a words person,” there are several simple practices that you can follow to improve the quality and efficiency of your writing.  

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Financial Writing Tips, Investment Banking Marketing, Asset Management Marketing

Defining and Executing a Financial Marketing Process

Posted by Shane Stiles on Aug 17, 2017 1:21:11 PM

This guest post was written by Shane Stiles, president of Gate 39 Media.

Whether you’re a fund manager, investment advisor or broker, selling retail or institutional trading, or raising assets for a fund—marketing starts with a process. The goal of a well-defined marketing process is to generate leads that can then be converted to clients through the efforts of automated marketing and sales tactics.

Marketing Infrastructure

Before you begin to define your offers and campaigns, your marketing infrastructure – the engine for your marketing fuel – must be defined.

Your infrastructure is the engine through which you will feed content that informs, educates, and engages your audience. This infrastructure must also be able to report on how well your content is being received.

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Financial Writing Tips, Investment Banking Marketing, Asset Management Marketing

FCS Chicago Examines “Marketing to Financial Advisors”

Posted by Scott Wentworth on Jul 27, 2017 3:33:57 PM

Chicago’s historic Printers Row neighborhood has undergone massive changes over the past several decades. Many of the buildings that once housed print shops have now been converted to loft condos, and the printing companies that remain have dramatically adapted their facilities and business models to account for new digital technologies.

FCS_party_2017_social.pngThus, the setting was an appropriate one for the Financial Communications Society’s first-ever “Cocktails With Content” event, which looked at another business that has undergone massive changes recently: marketing to financial advisors.

The July 25 event, hosted at an art gallery in Palmer Printing, explored the challenges facing asset management, technology, and communications firms that are trying to market to financial advisors. Moderated by Frank Tirado, vice president at The Options Clearing Corporation, the panel comprised investment and marketing professionals from across the financial services industry:

FCS_panel_2017_social.pngTirado said that reaching financial advisors has become increasingly difficult as the marketing communications landscape has become more cluttered with content. “How do we reach them when we know they are being hit over and over again? How do we bring value to an advisor group that is looking to grow its practice?” Tirado asked the panel.

To answer these questions, the panel discussed topics related to how financial advisors can differentiate themselves, the types of thought leadership and content marketing that advisors find most valuable, and the biggest challenges advisors face in growing their practices.

Here are 10 of the most thought-provoking quotes from the discussion:

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Financial Writing Tips, Investment Banking Marketing, Asset Management Marketing

5 Keys to Incorporating Data in Financial Thought Leadership

Posted by Frank Kalman on Jul 27, 2017 3:31:11 PM

Financial services professionals are used to dealing with data. Numbers and analytics are at the center of everything you do. Whether you’re a portfolio manager discussing the latest consumer confidence or housing starts numbers in a quarterly investor letter, or a financial advisor educating clients about valuations in various asset classes, data is going to play a central role in your message.

But using data in white papers, blogs, and other forms of thought-leadership content comes with several important caveats. Scott Wentworth, the founder and head financial writer at Wentworth Financial Communications, recently appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloudcast to discuss some of them. (A link to the full podcast episode is listed below.)

If you don't have time to listen to the podcast, here is a rundown of five specific things financial marketers should consider when incorporating data in their content.   

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Financial Writing Tips, White Papers, Investment Banking Marketing, Asset Management Marketing

To Increase Financial Content ROI, Focus on Basic Math

Posted by Scott Wentworth on Jul 24, 2017 5:34:11 PM

Creating thought leadership and other forms of branded content has essentially become table stakes for financial services firms. Today, every brand is a publisher. In this crowded environment, how do you rise above the noise and create content that delivers a positive return on investment (ROI) for your firm?

When thinking about your content’s ROI, it’s easy to get bogged down with all sorts of metrics like conversion rate, net promoter score, and audience equivalency. While those metrics definitely serve a purpose, it’s important to remember that ROI, at its core, is a very basic fraction. The numerator is the impact that your content has on your target audience, whether through building brand awareness, driving engagement, or increasing leads. And the denominator is the cost—in terms of time, money, and energy—of creating that content.

Anyone who has passed fourth-grade math knows that there are two basic ways to increase the value of any fraction: 1) increase the numerator or 2) decrease the denominator. And with content ROI, it’s no different.

Let’s start by looking at the numerator. Based on our experience at Wentworth Financial Communications working with brands across the asset management, investment banking, and private equity industries, we have identified three primary ways to improve your financial content’s ROI by increasing the impact that it has on your target audience.

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Financial Writing Tips, Investment Banking Marketing, Asset Management Marketing

Financial Communications Society Examines "The State of Custom Content"

Posted by Frank Kalman on Jun 27, 2017 4:56:46 PM

While you may not be familiar with the phrase “custom content,” you probably have encountered custom content at least once (and probably numerous times) today. Custom content is one of the many terms—along with content marketing, brand journalism, branded content, thought leadership, and native advertising—used to describe certain types of marketing materials that companies create to promote their brands.

Where custom content differs from other forms of marketing is that custom content is all about using a narrative format, similar to what you are used to seeing in a newspaper or magazine, to tell a company’s story and articulate the company’s expertise. Some of the most common forms of custom content include white papers, newsletters, and blogs. But custom content has now evolved to also include rich-media formats such as video, podcasts, and even virtual reality.

Custom content has become so prevalent and so important in the financial services industry that the Financial Communications Society hosted a luncheon on June 21 to examine “The State of Custom Content.” Wentworth Financial Communications CEO and head financial writer Scott Wentworth provided the keynote address for the event at Chicago’s Union League Club. The luncheon attended by approximately 80 marketing professionals from the asset management, insurance, investment banking, exchange and trading, and media industries.

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Financial Writing Tips, Investment Banking Marketing, Asset Management Marketing

Three Financial Writing Lessons My Dad Taught Me

Posted by Scott Wentworth on Jun 1, 2017 9:15:40 AM

I have been influenced in many wonderful ways by my dad, both personally and professionally. While it’s not uncommon for a son to say that his dad was a big influence on his career, in my case it is a bit unusual given how different my dad’s career is than mine.   

My dad, Steve Wentworth, is a corn and soybean farmer in Central Illinois. Like me, he is the owner of a small business, but the fields that we work in (pun intended) are very different. His farming business is capital-intensive and somewhat dangerous, requires in-depth mechanical skills and scientific knowledge, and creates a commoditized product. My business—leading a team of financial writers who work with clients in the asset management, investment banking, private equity, and consulting industries—is basically the opposite of those things.

Despite these differences, my dad has had a profound impact on my career as a financial writer. Here are three of the most important lessons about financial writing that I learned from my dad:

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Financial Writing Tips

Three Financial Writing Lessons My Mom Taught Me

Posted by Scott Wentworth on Jun 1, 2017 9:03:10 AM

Everyone knows how special moms are and everything they do for us. In addition to all of the normal “mom stuff” that my mom, Pam Wentworth, has done for me, she also has played a huge role in shaping my career as a financial writer.

In her career, Pam, who retired in 2016, was a high school math teacher and the business manager at the church my parents attend in Decatur, Illinois. While those careers may not seem directly related to financial writing, my mom has been a major influence in my career.

Here are three of the most important lessons about financial writing that I learned from my mom:

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Topics: Financial Advisor Marketing, Financial Writing Tips