Clients and prospects for financial services firms expect great content.
It helps them to inform themselves about a service (e.g. pension planning) or product, so they can be sure if they want it. Content also helps the audience gauge whether you are the right “fit” for them, based on your knowledge and brand voice.
Content marketing also helps financial firms. First of all, it saves time for your team. Instead of staff explaining a product or service to a prospect, this person can educate themselves using a content resource (e.g. a guide on pension planning). Secondly, it helps your SEO since search engines like Google largely judge a financial firm’s search engine position based on the content it produces.
Below, our content team at MarketingAdviser offers this guide on how financial firms can do content marketing effectively in 2021. We hope you find this article helpful. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss your own content strategy with our team.
Defining content marketing
The word “marketing” often conjures up images of radio ads, TV ads and billboards. In 2021, however, marketing has largely moved online. In fact, a distinction is typically drawn between these “offline” forms of marketing – which are largely classed as outbound – and online (or digital) marketing, which is largely classed as inbound.
Outbound marketing is characterised by its “interruptive”, advertising nature. In short, it cuts across something else you were doing (e.g. listening to the radio) with an offer that you did not necessarily expect or want. Inbound marketing, however, focuses on positioning great content in front of someone who is looking for it.
This is the essence of content marketing for financial firms. You identify the needs of your audience and the problems they are trying to solve and you position helpful content in front of them, to help address them.
For instance, if your prospect is looking for information about how to transfer their pension safely and wisely, you could offer a helpful blog or PDF guide on your website for them to consume.
The power of content
Many financial firms see little value in “blogging” – seeing it as a lower-priority on the list of marketing “things to do”. Yet content marketing is so much more than posting a blog on your website as if it was a hobby.
Indeed, content marketing holds enormous power:
- It sets you apart from the competition. If you are offering primary research on pensions and investments, for instance, your audience may notice that you are the sole/main business doing this in the marketplace.
- Content expands your reach. If you publish some original research then who knows where it might go? Perhaps a leading blog or media outlet will pick it up and run with it. In which case, your brand suddenly gets in front of many more eyes.
- It builds trust. Prospects who consume great content from a financial firm are likely to start seeing them in a favourable light – possibly coming to perceive it as a thought leader and a safe pair of hands.
- SEO benefit. Search engines are looking for relevant, original and high-quality content to feature in their search results. If you can get your content in there, you can hope to drive more qualified traffic to your website.
Types of content marketing
Content marketing isn’t simply about blogging – although this can be an important feature of your overall marketing plan. There are many types of content which may be useful, depending on your strategy and target audience:
- White papers. A long-form piece of written content that provides comprehensive coverage of a specific topic.
- Infographics. An image which condenses a lot of information into a clear, digestible graphic.
- Videos. A 1-2 minute presentation which might use slideshows, voice-overs, background music and “talking head”.
- PDF guides. A 8-12 page downloadable document which contains text, images and graphs to inform on a specific subject.
- Factsheets. A 1-2 page text-based document providing a useful summary (e.g. a market overview).
- Podcasts. An audio file (perhaps 10-20 minutes) covering a topic or set of topics, perhaps including an interview.
- Paid Ads. Google Ads, Facebook Ads and other targeted online adverts which show to people based on interests.
Setting a strategy
How do you run an effective content marketing campaign as a financial services firm? Just as it is with investments, it is crucial to have a clear set of goals and a strategy to follow. This keeps you focused, consistent and moving in the right direction.
Firstly, define your goals (using the SMART acronym). For instance, are you primarily looking to build publishing partnerships over the next 6-12 months? Or, maybe you want to focus your content on building your search engine rankings. Decide on 1-3 SMART goals and stick to them.
Secondly, craft your content strategy – i.e. a roadmap outlining how you will reach these goals. Here, you need to determine a set of KPIs to measure your progress against (key performance indicators). At a basic level, this might involve tracking your publishing schedule – e.g. making sure you post a blog once per week, each comprising at least 1,000 words. However, you will likely also need to track engagement with your content. This might include pageviews, session duration and conversion rates.
Your strategy, of course, also needs to factor in your target audience. What sorts of topics will resonate with them? Which problems do they have which your content could help solve? What type of content might they prefer – e.g. articles, videos or podcasts?
Finally, set a budget and decide on who will create the content. Will it be done internally – perhaps by some of your financial advisers – or will you use an external freelancer/agency to do it for you? Also, how will you ensure quality control and compliance?