Seize opportunities to go deeply into esoteric knowledge domains, even if it’s something (say, collateralized loan obligations) that you can’t imagine talking about at the dinner table. Every time you learn something new about the world of finance, you create hooks to hang new knowledge on. Ultimately, you want, with preparation, to be able to get on a call with a subject-matter expert within a client organization and talk confidently about his or her area of expertise.
That doesn’t mean you have to be an expert. It means you have to be quick on your feet, ask good questions, and keep your clients’ business—including its audience and objectives—in the back of your mind, even as you ask what’s new about CLOs or whatever else is timely.
Watch for opportunities to participate in client audience persona projects or do a mini version yourself. What’s important to them? What drives their decision-making? Why wouldn’t they choose to work with your client? What keeps them up at night? What are they searching for online?
Get beyond marketing language. Read industry trade media about topics relevant to your clients. Learn how the words sound. Financial services is a particularly rich area for content development because of the need to translate technical topics into accessible text. To be that translator, you need to develop your ear for both ends of the spectrum.
Learn how your work fits into a larger strategy
Until now, you’ve probably written mostly for yourself—that is, under your own name. Now you’ll have opportunities to write on behalf of firms and individuals. You can and should take pride in your work … but it’s not your content.
The content you create—whether written, audio-visual, social or otherwise—exists to help fulfill a business purpose. It’s part of a larger marketing and communications strategy. Ask questions (within your firm) to help you understand that strategy. Shape your content based on what you learn.
Seek opportunities to work collaboratively both with colleagues within your firm and with your client-side counterparts. Grab chances to work on cross-functional teams to better understand not only how content is created but how it’s used. For example, as you learn more about SEO and data analytics and learn how customers are finding you and what content is getting the most engagement, you’ll further improve your ability to deliver content that supports its practical success.
Recognize, too, that strategies change. Follow the financial markets and learn how they relate to your clients’ business strategies. By staying current, you’ll be more confident offering ideas. And as important as it is to execute clean content, what’s even more important is the idea itself. Become an idea person by watching—and by raising your hand with “what if we did this?” suggestions.
Build on your content creation skills
You have a lot of competition, not only from people but from AI tools (see this post). How do you make your work stand out?
First and foremost, make your work clear and accurate. Never try to sound smart. Don’t rely on jargon. Don’t misspell client names (or anything else—but names are especially embarrassing). Whether you’re writing an article or making a video, take care of your audience. Emphasize coherence, one idea leading naturally to the next. Don’t be salesy as doing so can violate implicit trust with your reader. Instead learn to incorporate your clients’ value propositions subtly. Take time to structure pieces in ways that make them easy to follow.
Beyond those basics, look for opportunities to enrich your content in ways that personalize it to the bylined content authors. Ask those you interview for anecdotes, metaphors and even cliches you can use to bring life to the concepts you address. Seek opportunities to extend your work into other media. Integrate striking visuals. Where appropriate, go deep on a subject. Bring the human element in wherever you can. That’s especially important as we anticipate effects of easy-to-produce AI-generated content on the competition for search rankings. Do what AI can’t.