Marketers often band around the phrase: “Content is King.” Yet why do so many IFAs struggle with it?
Surely it should be straightforward? You just write an article about pensions and post it on your blog/website. The article then shoots you to the top of Google within days, where dozens of potential clients can read it. They’re so inspired that they practically crash your website as they scramble to fill out your form and make an inquiry…
Does this sound like reality? We can tell you for a fact, it isn’t.
Many IFAs do not speak this scenario out loud when they approach a partner to provide financial content marketing. Yet it is often the unspoken expectation, or close enough to it. Content marketing is like an investment portfolio. It does not usually yield significant returns straight away. Yet over time (thankfully, not as much time as the typical investment portfolio) it provides amazing results when done correctly.
Other IFAs, however, swing to the other extreme. They ask: “What’s the point in financial content marketing? Surely no one is going to make an inquiry after reading just one article.” Yet this belief simply doesn’t square with the facts. Practically every industry is spending more on content marketing every year, having grown from $44 billion in 2014.
Why? Because of the ROI. Traditional marketing, for instance, generates a lead at an average cost of $373. For content marketing, the average cost is $143. Square that up against the average lifetime value of one of your clients, and financial content marketing for IFAs starts to become a no-brainer.
So why isn’t your financial content marketing working? Well, aside from unrealistic expectations, there could be a number of explanations:
#1 There’s no clear strategy
According to Marketing Profs and the CMI, only 27% of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. Take some comfort from that if you don’t have one either!
Yet this is usually a huge factor behind the failure of financial content marketing efforts. Why? Because it helps you track “success,” and helps you determine whether you are getting value for money.
Do you know who your primary target audience is? Do you know what sort of topics will engage them, and when they are likely to consume it?
Do you know what kinds of content they like to consume? (Article, podcast, video etc.).
Are you aware of how they like to consume it (e.g. desktop, mobile)? Do you know where this consumption tends to happen, and for how long?
Do you know what their motivations, interests and pain points are, which your content can address?
How are you planning on generating a sense of belonging/community around your content and brand?
How will you create regular touch points with them, to engage them over time and gradually “reel them in”?
How much time, effort and investment do you expect this all to take?
Financial content marketing, without answers to these questions, is taking a “scatter gun” approach. The problem with scatter guns is they usually miss, and you often end up shooting yourself.
#2 Your budget is insufficient
If you want to spend £15 per blog on a freelancer, be our guest. However, you should expect to get what you pay for. Usually you get something written with sub-optimal spelling and grammar, and clearly done in a rush. (Who can afford to pour themselves out over your content on that kind of money?). Worst-case scenario, you end up with something plagiarised from another brand which punishes your SEO or gets you into legal trouble.
Financial content marketing requires investment. You cannot cut corners with it. That means investing in a solid, reputable copy-writing partner who knows your target-market. They will have the knowledge, experience and creativity to come up with really unique and compelling topics, speaking directly to your audience’s pain-points and interest-buttons.
You also need your marketing partner to push out this content regularly, and in line with your content marketing strategy. They can help you develop this strategy, and you can both hold each other accountable to it.
#3 You aren’t promoting your content
Unfortunately, financial content marketing simply isn’t as easy as hitting “publish” and watching your article sail to the top of Google, or LinkedIn Pulse. You need to actively push your content out via the channels available to you.
That means social media marketing and linking to appropriate followers or accounts, increasing your impression range.
It means re-purposing the content and approaching other relevant blogs or websites, asking if they will feature your content in front of their larger website traffic.
It means approaching other content-creators and asking if they will link to your article in their own published work.
It means having a solid, coordinated email marketing strategy to push it out to your subscribers.
#4 The content is terrible, or just “meh”
How many generic articles are out there about “pensions” or “passive funds” at the moment?
You need to ask yourself a hard question. Why would clients flock to your content if you are essentially saying the same thing as everybody else?
The only reason they’d come to you – and keep coming back – is if you offer something truly compelling and different. That might be the form your content takes (e.g. a video blog), or it might be the slant you take on a particular area of expertise/interest to you.
#5 You haven’t given it enough time
How long did it take for your clients’ investment portfolios to produce a return? I bet it took more than a month. Or three.
Yet IFAs often expect financial content marketing to yield high dividends almost immediately.
Unfortunately, content marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. It often does pay off in the shot term However, you need to take a medium-long term view.
Be committed and keep building on the initial foundation.