New York

Investment Writing Utopia For Realists

Ross Hunter 20 January 2022
Optimism and realism

“Our vision is to become the trusted investment and communications partner to financial services companies, help them do business around the world and create opportunities for our people to build meaningful careers.”

We passionately believe in our vision. We think it’s something truly different from other communications agencies. By building a large international firm that specialises in financial services (and largely asset management), we want CMOs to benefit from:

  • Access to the best talent – with experience across geographies, market sectors, distribution channels and media
  • A more flexible team – the ability to scale resources up and down to match needs
  • Greater efficiency – cost-effective solutions to fit changing demands
  • Consistency of quality globally – a unique approach to financial communication that allows CMOs to connect their content across their international marketing teams

We firmly believe our model gives financial marketers the opportunity to change for the better – in the way they work, the quality of their content and the outcomes they achieve.

What change do we want to enable?

Our approach can help people transform their working environment. I see four ways in which we seek to make a positive change: for investment writers, marketers, fund managers and investment companies.

content marketing for financial advisors

1. We want to help investment writers

For both ours and our clients’ – to feel fulfilled, work normal hours and spend more of their time writing the stuff they like and are good at.

We see too many in-house writers putting in serious overtime at quarter ends. Our outsourced fund commentary solutions protect your valuable writers from burnout.

We also see writers who are poorly matched with their workloads – senior writers are spending days proofing fund commentaries when they should be assigned to more complex work (or specialist equity writers muddling through to create a fixed income white paper).

Our scale – more than 100 investment writers and editors worldwide – means we can allocate the right skillset to each task.

2. We want to help CMOs and their marketing teams

Get better client engagement with their content, secure maximum value from their writing budget, and gain a market-leading reputation for creativity and innovation.

We see too many managers publishing a white paper, sharing it on LinkedIn and then moving on to the next task. In a noisy market, it needs more persistence to get noticed. Our content creation and distribution model helps managers produce more pieces of content from the ‘cornerstone’ white paper, and more social media posts to communicate that message to investors.

Meanwhile, we bring fresh and creative ideas to help your messages resonate with your audiences and get the attention your insights deserve. This could be through developing better headlines, producing infographics from copy or turning articles into video scripts.

3. We want to help fund managers

Become recognised, admired and respected by their investors through good times and bad.

Investors are more likely to be loyal to a person than the company he or she works for. Companies should embrace this and allow their fund managers to build a reputation with their investors. Clients are less likely to stick around in tough times (up to a point, of course, as recent events will testify) if you’ve not built up any emotional capital with them during the good times.

We ghostwrite for fund managers and build their followings through fund commentary, blogging, white papers and social media.

4. We want to help asset management companies

Create a differentiated market position for their brand.

Many investment companies lack brand awareness and rarely have a strategy for engaging with their end investors. A reliance on intermediaries for your business is highly risky.

If Amazon or Google raid the asset management market, the survivors are more likely to be those companies that have developed a differentiated franchise in which people value their service enough to pay for it.

Our creative and strategic writers can help you develop and execute on a plan to help you stand out and become an indispensable manager for investors.

The process of change can work in two ways:

One is to start with your desired outcome and work backwards.

  1. What do you want to achieve?
  2. What actions do you need to take to achieve the outcome?
  3. What information do you need to know to take those actions?
  4. What questions do you need to ask to get the right information?

Or you can start with a question.

Here are some good questions to get you thinking differently about the challenges you face in your role as a senior marketer.

  • How do I produce more content with the same level of resources?
  • How can I get fund commentaries produced AND publish articles and blogs through busy periods?
  • What new content tools can I use to increase attention and engagement?
  • How can I still achieve my marketing KPIs if my budget is cut in half?
  • How can I improve the ROI from my writing team?
  • How can I increase AUM in our flagship portfolios?
  • How can I retain AUM in our underperforming portfolios?

It all starts with a question.

It’s only when we ask ourselves the toughest questions that we come up with creative answers. And it’s those creative answers that drive the change that grows businesses.

My 8 Point Investment Writing Manifesto

I started Copylab in 2005 because, as an investment writer myself, I saw the problems of having a 100% in-house writing team – and I was convinced I could do something to address them. Since then, the hybrid model we’ve developed has helped transform the marketing operations at some of our key clients.

And the need for this flexibility is perhaps even more pressing than it was 14 years ago.

Based on our experience, here’s my model for the most efficient and effective investment writing function:

1. Separate fund commentary from editorial and marketing communications

In-house writers frankly resent having to write commentary, so improve their working lives by letting them focus on what they are good at and enjoy doing.

2. Outsource fund commentary to an expert third party

We employ people who love commentary, ensuring what we produce is focused, timely and written with tangible pride.

3. Employ one person in-house as an editor/traffic manager

Control and oversight are important. A content production manager can look after relationships with your commentary partner as well as the flow of all other content within your team.

4. Set up your in-house writing team as a newsroom

Storytelling is the future of content marketing and is the core of most good content strategies, so get with the programme. BNY Mellon is a great success story in this area.

5. Use your investment writing agency partner as an outlet for specialist areas

Product campaigns, digital content, product literature, new product launches and specialist technical papers that are outside the normal skillset of your news team.

6. Outsource all proof checking and sub-editing to a third party

This function is non-core to an asset management business and is a totally different skillset from creative storytelling.

7. Consider a partner for headline creation and social media too

Headline creation is a specialist area that is critical to get right for optimising engagement with your content.

8. Have a content marketing strategist on retainer

Fresh insight and strategic advice will ensure a stream of new creative input for your content marketing planning and execution.