Thursday, May 01, 2008

Morningstar gets the WIIFM

Before your readers dig into your written materials, they want to learn the WIIFM--"What's In It For Me?" If you can't convince them they'll get something out of it, they may not read it.

Morningstar's newsletters do a nice job of communicating the WIIFM. Consider, for example, this title of a Morningstar Fund Spy article: "Dissecting the Ultrashort Bond Fund Mess: What should you do if you own one of these funds?" If you're in a "mess," wouldn't you want to learn what your next step should be?

Here's another example: "Take the Greatest Advantage of the World-Stock Group: There are many good global funds, but you still need to choose carefully." The title promises not only that you can maximize your gains, but you can also avoid pitfalls.

Notice how both titles use the text after the colon very effectively. I often advise my clients to use subtitles and subheadings--rather than just titles and headings--to draw more readers into their investment commentary and other writing.

Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Investment Writing
Writing that's an investment in your success

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