ICYMI: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released their style guide to the public a while back and it is filled with goodies.
Several blogs have already examined the CIA Style Manual and Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications in detail, but we want to bring it to the attention of the financial services industry.
Why is a style guide important?
Let’s start with a quote. The CIA puts an emphasis on being direct, and the following paragraph is the foreword:
“Good intelligence depends in large measure on clear, concise writing. The information CIA gathers and the analysis it produces mean little if we cannot convey them effectively. The Directorate of Intelligence and the Agency as a whole have always understood that. Both have been home, from their earliest days, to people who enjoy writing and excel at it.” The CIA Style Manual and Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications
The financial services industry isn’t much different. Our content, from what we share on Twitter to the brochures and whitepapers we produce, is founded on research. And that research is highly technical.
As financial services marketers, it is our duty to guarantee that readers understand the data because we’re talking about their financial future. As a result, style guides are essential to our communications with clients and stakeholders.
What about you?
Does your firm have a style guide? If so, many new terms have popped up in recent years so maybe it’s time to revisit it. For example, is it CRM2, CRM-2, CRMII or CRM II? Have you socialized it recently?
If your firm doesn’t yet have a style guide, we think it’s time you make it a priority.
“This guide is designed to be helpful and convenient, sensible in organization, and logical in content. It contains, among other changes, a revised list of accepted acronyms and new tips on word usage. The world is not static. Nor is the language we employ to assess it.” The CIA Style Manual and Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications
If CIA writers – whose work is likely read by relatively few people – follow a style guide, so should you. As a financial services marketer, you owe it to your readers (investors in one way or another) to deliver sharp copy that’s consistent and engaging.