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4 practical reasons financial planners should use a style guide for their content

Do you think your business doesn’t need a style guide? If you’re communicating in writing with your clients, it’s definitely something you may benefit from.

A style guide could make your communications more effective and consistent, whether you’re getting in touch through a letter or posting a blog on your website. It should serve as a manual for anyone who’s writing content for your business.

The Yardstick style guide is something our team of copywriters use every day – it’s a massive 138 pages long! It covers everything from when to use punctuation in bullet points to which tax allowances should be capitalised. Our style guide is an essential document that’s always evolving and ensures each article, guide, or newsletter the content team produces meets the same high standards.

If you’re not convinced that a style guide is necessary yet, here are four practical reasons it could benefit your financial planning business.

1. Consistency can make your content clearer and easier to understand

As a financial planner, your communications are likely to cover complex topics and terms your clients and prospects might not have come across before. A style guide would set out how to present key phrases so they’re consistent across all forms of media.

Let’s say you’re writing a blog about how much you can tax-efficiently add to your pension. The first time you refer to the “Annual Allowance” it’s capitalised, but a few paragraphs later it’s become the “annual allowance”, and by the end of the blog it’s turned into the “pension allowance”.

You know that you’re referring to the same tax allowance, but does your reader without financial knowledge know that? Even something as small as removing the capital letters could sow a seed of doubt and leave readers unsure if you’re still discussing the same thing.

Consistency could eliminate unnecessary confusion and prevent your target audience from losing track halfway through.

2. Demonstrate you pay attention to the small things

Showing that you’re detail-oriented and you pay attention to the small things could be valuable to you as a financial planner.

Building trust with your clients is essential. After all, they’ll be trusting you to manage their finances over the long term and may discuss their hopes and fears with you.

A prospect’s first contact with you might come from your website or social media profile, so lay the groundwork that demonstrates you’re a safe pair of hands by making all your content consistent and easy to understand.

3. Develop a recognisable tone of voice

At times, different people might contribute to the content your business produces. A clear style guide that’s on hand for anyone to look through could help you achieve a consistent tone of voice.

That doesn’t mean that your communications have to be devoid of personality. Even with a style guide, there’s scope for writers to put their own spin on the copy.

Similarly, a style guide can help you create a cohesive voice when you’re writing for different platforms, such as email or social media. The style might not be exactly the same on each platform – you might prefer shorter, punchier content for social media as you need to capture attention quickly – but it’s still recognisable as your business.

4. Highlight language that reflects your business’s priorities

The language you choose to use has an impact and could show what your business values. Setting preferences or even phrases to avoid could help you reinforce your priorities or ethos as a business.

For instance, if your focus is helping clients reach their goals by creating a holistic plan, you might favour the term “financial planner” over “financial adviser” to reinforce this. If you want clients and prospects to know you take a collaborative approach to financial planning, you might use personal pronouns, like “we” or “you”, throughout your copy.

Think about how you want your target audience to view your firm, and how to use language to support it.

Get in touch

If you want to talk about how we could help you create consistent and insightful content with the help of our style guide email or call us on 0115 896 5300.

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