Crush Your Next Finance Post
I’ve been publishing on Medium for a couple of months now and have been pondering why some of my articles pop and others flop.
But enough about me. You probably have a post to write!
So without further ado here’s what I’ve added to my financial writing toolkit.
Minimum Viable Audience
Right out of the gate let’s start with Seth Godin. Host of the Akimbo podcast and author of 20+ books he continues to publish daily; so should know a thing or two about writing.
His advice goes a little something like this: We all want to go viral and reach as many people as possible. But if we set about to please everyone then we won’t delight anyone. The secret is to flip this on its head; instead of trying to be all things to all people, go after the smallest viable market to sustain your work.
To succeed you have to throw everything you learned about the mass market from economics 101 away. By having a focus; say crypto, budgeting or portfolio construction the quality of your output will improve and your ideas will start to spread.
Keep it Topical
The finance world like any other industry is dominated by a news cycle. There are times when blood is on the streets, other times where everything is going to the moon and generally there are always storms brewing somewhere in the capital markets.
The key is to recognize where we are in the cycle. Say the market drops 20% in a day and everyone is clammering that the sky is falling. If you follow the crowd you run the risk of being lost in the noise. Instead, take a contrarian approach and report (backed by evidence) that there has never been a better time to invest.
Document, Don’t Create
Advice from Gary Vaynerchuck comes next. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you have probably come across his content. Gary got his start on YouTube with a show covering wine before building VaynerMedia a social media-driven digital agency. Clients routinely pay him $20,000 a month to run their social channels. But you needn’t shell out that much and have a video crew follow you around 24/7- at least not yet!
You know the ins and out of your financial life better than anyone and by focusing on documenting instead of creating you can be your authentic self. Readers love stories that put the personal in personal finance. There’s a lot going on in all our financial lives; problems selling your flat, what to do with a lump sum or how you went about asking for a raise. We all want to hear and learn from your journey.
Know Your History
The best finance writers always have an eye in the rearview mirror. They are students of history. Sure, App only banks, Crypto wallets and trading from your toilet are all new phenomena but greed and fear that move the markets haven’t changed.
Reflect on key events of the past, the Spanish Flu, The Great Depression, or the mid-70’s oil crisis; all echo down the years and provide valuable lessons for future downturns. Take my recent article that was published in The Investor’s Handbook likening prospectors in the Californian gold rush to the bitcoin miners. History doesn’t repeat but it rhymes.
Have a Hook
Readers are always looking for the latest commentary on current events. When you pick up the pen take a look around and find a news story that ties in to your article. If you are quick off the mark and can offer a unique angle this might lead to securing wider coverage and may establish you as a thought leader in your niche.
Know Your Niche
Speaking of niches; it’s time to find yours. I hate to break it to you but it is unlike you will hit a home run and go viral with your first article.
Finance is a huge topic and sits up there alongside health and happiness in the most blogged about categories. That means much of the Medium real-estate has already been claimed.
Back in the early days, you could set yourself up as an ex trader with insight and captured a big audience, the same was true as Crypto gathered steam. But today topics have fragmented and the writers who are making waves today are the ones who combine a couple of niches. For example, try paring your interest in financial markets with coding.
This is a lesson that took me a couple of years and a few hundred bucks to learn.
Think of WordPress a little like your corner shops drive past at 60 mph and you’ll miss it, in 2021 is is nigh on impossible to build a following with a personal blog.
With Medium, you have a captive audience who already follow money management and they are always hungry for more high-quality content.
Continuing the store analogy: Medium is a mega-mall. Think back to your last visit- chances are you went in to make a one-off purchase say a pair of Nike sneakers. But once you are in the door you spot Pandora and next, you get hungry and want to grab a pizza.
Readers on Medium are like shoppers they come in for an article and then bounce around and with a bit of luck, they’ll arrive at your store.
Taking control of your finances isn’t done by reading blog posts or listening to podcasts. Your readers need to start taking action.
Think back to the advice you’d heard when your first started investing and pay it forward. So document the steps you took to open a brokerage account, give them a step-by-step guide to unitizing their portfolio or explain how you track your net worth.
While there is no secret sauce to writing a viral piece if you can consistently implement the strategies above I’m confident that you will begin to build a loyal set of fans.
Invest in your writing and you and your readers will reap the dividends.