I attended Content Marketing World recently and thought I would share some observations and insights from the conference that apply to financial services marketing.
The old is new again
Content marketing is a hot topic in the marketing world. But, the fact is, content marketing has been around for ages. In the past, it has included a number of second and third-tier tactics for financial services marketing, including:
- Educational newsletters
- Custom magazines
The expense and delayed ROI of these programs relegated them to support tactics, mostly used for retention or long-term prospecting.
Today, our digital world has changed the game. It has shifted the emphasis from old-school “selling” to a new paradigm of “helping”. And the efficiencies of digital delivery make it possible to move content marketing tactics into the first-tier of financial services marketing strategy.
Strategy. The most important part of your content marketing effort.
As you know, any successful effort starts with a smart strategy. This is especially true with content marketing. A well-defined strategy helps ensure your tactics have the three qualities of effective content marketing:
1. The content is consistent with your brand
2. The content is relevant to your audience
3. The content offers real value in their lives
Without this focus on strategy, you end up posting just to be posting. And that can do more harm than good.
Content marketing trends
Delivering relevant and valuable information is a timeless practice. Trends become a factor when we look at how our audience is accessing and consuming information. Here are a few tips:
- Make it visual. Think infographics and photography. These elements should illustrate and support the points or data you present. Studies continue to show that visual information gets you more attention. And, an improved chance that your compelling content will get shared across the social channels.
- Video is the most potent medium. It simply outperforms static content. Make sure you’re taking advantage of the power of the medium. A lot of financial services marketing videos end up with a guy in a suit talking at us. Just like the infographics or photography, the video should do more than just deliver your message. It should illustrate your point.
- Think mobile first. Statistics show that mobile web access continues to grow. Smartphones and high speed access continue to evolve, making it possible. More people look at mobile, not a laptop, as their first choice for accessing the web. Make sure your content presents powerfully in the mobile formats.
The future of content marketing
Content marketing will always be judged by its ability to engage with an audience. For that reason, compelling storytelling will always be a key tenet of content marketing. But there is so much more emerging. For example, a smartphone app can bring together a community of likeminded users to share information and, in some cases, even add content to help the community. Launch an app that allows that and aligns with your brand and you have an invaluable marketing asset.
Speaking of audience contributions. Your users will continue to offer the potential to add to your content. That can take some of the burden off of you. It’s a little trickier for financial services marketing, but engaging an audience for their comments and ideas can be a valuable tool for creating compelling content and solidifying loyalty.
Finally, actionable content is the future. That is, information that can help your user come to a decision, address a challenge, take advantage of an opportunity, and more. Develop that kind of compelling content and you will stay ahead of the content marketing curve.
- Content marketing is an old idea that has gained prominence and importance due to the changes in the way we access, consume, and share information.
- A content marketing strategy is essential in order to create compelling content.
- Emerging trends include visualizing information and utilizing video to create compelling content, as well as focusing on mobile delivery.
- Content marketing is built upon strong storytelling and is growing to include new ways to engage communities and deliver real help that can have an impact on your clients’ lives.