If you’re reading this article, you’re probably in a position where, whether for personal reasons or work, you have to write about some pretty specific investment topics – that you know nothing about. At first glance, this is mission: impossible. How could you ever write something coherent that you know nothing about? Well, it is possible, and here you’ll learn some tricks of the trade that will help you write like you have a master’s in finance – or at least like someone who spent more than afternoon researching investments.
Firstly, you’re going to want to spend some time researching the topic. Depending on how much time you have to prepare, you can check out an intro lecture on finances and investment, or read up on some basic articles that will help you keep your head above water. Remember, you don’t need to know what it all means, you just have to be able to repeat it. Once you get deeper into a specific subject, you might need to reference back to the basics, and after a while, you will learn it by heart and maybe even start to understand the meaning behind the phrases.
Remember the tone
People who want to groundbreaking new, precise information aren’t going to read what you write. They’re going to look up experts in the field and look for very specific information. Your audience probably knows just as much about finance as you do, so you don’t need to get into the nitty-gritty of it all. Your tone should be casual and conversational. You need to give information relevant to the topic without confusing the readers with too many big words that they don’t recognize. This all plays nicely into your plan for writing something you don’t know about. As you’re writing, keep that in mind and it will help lessen the pressure and give you a clear structure for the tone of the article. Make sure that throughout the writing, you remain ethical: don’t recommend or advise people to do something that you have no clue about.
Keep up with current trends
Even if you don’t know much, you need to know what’s current. Looking up multiple blogs and groups will help you spot trendy buzzwords that appear in all of them, which you can then further research to make a good piece. You hear stashes being mentioned – lookup a stash review to keep up with the current trends which are mostly dedicated to fractional shares. To make investing easier, the developers of Stash have made an app that can help first-time investors or people who generally don’t have a background in finance invest.
In addition to this, it might be a very convenient, modern option. Most of these topics already have articles written that very clearly explain how it all works, so all you have to do is repackage the information for your audience. Staying relevant also means you can focus on that specific topic and what is making it so trendy, without leaking your lack of knowledge of the big picture.
Join the community
There are millions of fanatics who eat, sleep and breathe finance. Not all of them went to business school or studied finance, but they know that everything you’ll ever need can be learned online, and they formed massive communities where they share information and teach each other what they have learned somewhere else. These are subreddits, Facebook groups, forums, enterprise services, and all other places where people meet up to discuss finance. Get yourself into these spaces and read what people say.
These aren’t just filler articles they’re posting, it’s relevant information you’ll find very useful. You should also subscribe to a couple of newsletters, so you’ll get information straight to your inbox for free and with zero effort to look it up. If you can find some in-person groups, events, or lectures, make full use of them and go ask all the questions you have. If possible, find a mentor that will guide you through the first steps and explain the basics in layman’s terms.
Google what you don’t know
Google is your best friend at this point. Whatever you don’t know – ask Google. If you’re reading an article and you come across a word you don’t know the meaning of – don’t just gloss over it and keep reading, actually pause and look up the word. Expanding your dictionary is always good, but in this case, it can mean all the difference between understanding something that is written and being completely lost on the page. It’s not a bad idea to keep a list of all the new terms and their definitions nearby so you can reference it while you’re reading and writing on the topic.
Choose a niche
It’s much easier to specialize in a niche than it is to just write broadly about finance or investments. This is because writing about a specific topic will require you to only write about that topic and learn the few things that are tightly related to it. If you do this, you will quickly become an actual expert on the topic, and then you can slowly work back from there to understand the broad underlying terms and branch out to different topics. If you are required to cover several topics, choose ones that are interconnected so you can cross-reference what you know.
Inform, don’t explain
If you try to explain something about investing when you don’t know much about it, it’s very much a blind-leading-the-blind situation. You will struggle to write about it and whoever reads it won’t get what they came for. That is why you’re much better off sticking with informing, rather than explaining. Simply conveying relevant information to people who know what the information means and don’t need further analysis of it will benefit both sides, so it’s the best place to start until you improve your knowledge in these areas. If you don’t know where to get good information, always compare several of the most reputable investing resources and only relay the data that matches with all of them.
And while at first, you might feel like an impostor, the longer you stick to it, the better you will get, and eventually, you’ll just be the person who knows about finance, now just someone who writes about it. Keep your head up, keep researching and writing and remember to always Google things you don’t know.