Getting to Know the Financial Industry

Every industry has its own lingo. Learn the lingo and educate yourself about your target audience and you will not only have an easier time breaking in, it will make every project you write for that audience stronger.

This month, our focus is on the financial industry. So, here’s how to get a financial education fast and cheap …

Step One: Build Your Swipe File

Save the promotions you receive in the mail and online for financial products and services. Ask your friends and relatives to give you the ones they receive. Order a product or two to get your name on some mailing lists. (Remember, you can return anything you order after reviewing it, if you need to.)

Spend time each day reading through a package or two in your swipe file. This will help you in a number of ways. You will begin to recognize the approaches financial copywriters commonly use … you will get a feel for the visual elements of a financial package … and you will start to get familiar with financial lingo.

Step Two: Sign Up for Free Newsletters

Many financial publishers offer a free daily or weekly newsletter delivered right to your email inbox. By reading a few of them on a regular basis, you will start to get a handle on how the stock market and investments work. Some e-newsletters to check out include The Daily Reckoning (http://www.dailyreckoning.com), The Motley Fool (http://www.fool.com), Daily Wealth (http://www.dailywealth.com), and Investor’s Daily Edge (http://www.investorsdailyedge.com)

Step Three: Use the Resources Available to You

Online trading sites like TD Ameritrade (http://www.tdameritrade.com) and Charles Schwab (http://www.schwab.com) provide a host of free research tools and resources. There’s enough there for any financial copywriter to build a solid foundation of investment knowledge.

And because it’s always a good idea to participate in the industry you write for, buy shares in a mutual fund or invest in an individual stock. Doing this will give you a bit of practical, hands-on experience. It will also help you understand the emotional side of investing. Remember, a copywriter needs to have both book learning and street smarts!

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Published: June 10, 2008

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