How to write and manage financial services content

Written by Rachel McCallion

Getting sign-off on financial services content can be hard, especially with so many parties having a vested interest in the end product. 

These pointers will help you master the art of managing financial services content. 

We'll cover everything from side-stepping jargon and nailing down a great tone of voice to making sure your copy is SEO-friendly and serving user intent. 

And we won't even charge you a penny for our thoughts.

Create a stellar content plan

We’ve worked on a lot of site reviews and rewrites. Our key takeaway? A staggered approach to content works better for everyone. Do it in stages. 

What you need is a content plan. 

Prioritise your content based on business needs or SEO. Which areas of the business need the most attention first? Or, what kind of search terms are proving most popular? 

Work in order of priority and monitor improvements to traffic as you go. 

Work with an SEO agency to optimise your copy 

To make sure you’re targeting the terms that your customers are searching for, we recommend working with an SEO agency. They will provide you with an extensive keyword research document to work from.

Once you’ve got your keywords, use them in your H1 (main heading) and H2s (sub-headings) so that Google’s algorithm knows what your page is about. Be sure to do your homework on how to optimise headings before writing them.

Schedule a weekly call with the team

The A-Team, Power Rangers, Scooby Doo and the gang. Cobbled together with nothing but witty repartee and a plan. There’s definitely something to be said for both if you want your project to run smoothly. 

Add a catch-up to the schedule and remember to send around an agenda beforehand. That way people will come to the table prepared to answer relevant and timely questions. 

Remember: a weekly call isn’t a replacement for structured project management. You still need that. 

Allocate enough time to write the copy

Expert copywriting takes time, so give it the respect it deserves. Don’t just slot writing into a convenient hour between designs being approved and final sign-off. 

Do your research. Make your copy digestible and interesting by reading online resources or setting up phone interviews with experts on the topic.

The more you know, the more your writing will resonate with readers who are less attuned to financial services. 

There are a lot of ways to write impactful content. But make sure you stay away from jargon – if you’re looking for a word, use the simplest you can. And always stick to your tone of voice. 

Be the internal mediator 

With financial services, getting sign off is half the battle. There are a lot of people across the business with a vested interest in your website copy.

So, stay one step ahead. Set up a meeting with the compliance team involved in signing off your content before any actual work begins. 

Ask them what their expectations are, or if they want you to create the content brief for the site and then get their approval. Whatever route, keep them in the loop so each team knows what to expect from the other. 

And remember, it’s OK to challenge the legal eagles. If you hit a snag with copy, don’t ask them what you can’t say, as they may just give you a list. Instead, ask them why you can’t say it – then try to address the underlying issues. 

After all, you all want the same thing. A positive user experience. Speaking of which...

Don’t forget your customers 

The sole purpose of this copy is to answer their questions. Has it achieved that? Be an advocate for good supporting content that reassures them. 

Look at credit cards as an example. Some boast a ‘0% balance transfer’. Customers who don’t understand how the balance transfer fee works may be surprised if they’re asked for a minimum payment every month. After all, it’s a 0% interest card. A page called, ‘How balance transfers work’ would provide answers to any lingering doubts people might have on the subject. 

Test the success of your content and how your customers respond to it. That way you can support them by answering their questions in full and being a brand they can rely on. 

Keep an up-to-date and accessible version of the copy 

Dropbox, Google Drive, [enter chosen file share service here] – there are myriad systems out there when it comes to content management. Choose one that works for you and your client, and stick to it.

The idea is to have a defined process in place that everyone involved in content creation is clear on, and will stick to. 

Making sure they do stick to it involves clear briefing, monitoring, and a willingness to take on feedback. If something isn't working, adapt.

Keep a running style and tone guide 

Write a style and tone guide and make sure the entire team can access it. 

You might want to include rules for how to represent a product name, punctuation styles, words to avoid and how to format titles to name a few. It doesn’t have to be final. You can keep adding to it, and invite the team to do the same. As long as everyone’s on the same page and changes aren’t made without alerting each other.

Know when amends have gone too far 

When your current version is well into the teens, it’s time to call a halt to amends. Something isn’t working.

Maybe you’re struggling over technical specifics of a new product that haven’t been nailed down yet. That’s fine. But as soon as a department signs off on the copy, stop sending it to them. It narrows the circle and means you have less and less amends to deal with. 

Book a day for your copywriter to review the live site 

This should be in the diary from the get-go. It’ll help you avoid typos, bad paragraph breaks or other errors that might’ve crept into the final copy. Your copywriter can help. Hey, that's us. 

There are plenty more considerations too: Have your images got alt tags? Were extra pages added that could do with some metadata? 

Need help squeezing the air bubbles out of your content process? We've got a knack for that.