What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a tool that aids in business success and brand growth. It contributes to lead generation by giving brands the ability to provide information that’s geared towards their audiences’ needs and interests. It’s all the stuff your potential customers want to read, watch or hear—and in most cases, they’re seeking it out themselves. The key is making your content easy to find. More on that later.
Why Content Marketing is Important for Financial Companies
More customers in the financial services and banking industries want a customized, digital experience that’s seamless and personalized. Companies must evolve their products and services for a new generation of consumers. The same is true for their communications. Marketers are tasked with finding solutions that improve the customer experience by considering how consumers digest information and make brand decisions.
Forget about pushing what you’re selling because people aren’t buying it, especially if they don’t know who you are.
Brand loyalty still exists, but trust must come first. What’s the best way to achieve it? Through valuable content. The more you’re seen as a go-to knowledge source, the more people will seek out your brand's content and consider you as a viable solution or opportunity.
Read these blogs to learn more about how you can use content to build trust, the role marketing plays in financial services and advice from top financial marketers:
Overcoming Content Marketing Challenges
Your content strategy demonstrates who you are as a brand and the expertise you bring to the table. What is your audience learning from you and how will it help them while also helping your business?
Generating leads through content can be intimidating if you don't know how or where to start. Some of the most common challenges include lack of resources, getting buy-in from higher ups and the rest of the team or not knowing how to integrate a content strategy into the larger marketing plan.
Content marketing shouldn't be all-or-nothing. You can customize a plan to fit within your constraints while still producing positive results. It's about being flexible and testing different tactics to see what's working and what should be prioritized.
Before we get into building the content plan, let's address three of those roadblocks.
Not having enough time, budget or people are some of the most common roadblocks for projects. You may have an in-house writer who can dedicate only a fraction of time to the company blog, which results in sporadic posts lacking in quality. You're saving money but losing in the long run. Had you outsourced this function, you could have a company blog filled with consistent, quality content that brings in potential leads. Money well spent.
Click the link for tips on how to organize your campaign strategy and properly allocate your resources:
2. Team Buy-In
When planning a project that requires company resources, business leaders must be on board as well as the departments that have to be involved. Everyone should be clear on the level of commitment needed for the campaign to be successful.
3. Strategy Integration
Having content is only half the battle. What you do with it is what really counts. From social media and PR to email marketing campaigns and paid opportunities, there are countless ways to promote your content.
Create a holistic strategy that's right for you rather than checking all the boxes and risking going off brand. It helps to first make sense of all the elements that go into a digital marketing program. Our free ebook can help:
7 Steps for Building and Executing a Content Marketing Strategy
Step 1: Define the Goal
Envision what you want the outcome to be. What must happen for your content to be a success? A clear objective will provide purpose for everything leading up to your goal.
Step 2: Define Your Audience
Don't lose sight of who you are creating the content for. You are not your audience. What's important to you may not be what your audience wants. It helps to envision who your target is. A great way to do this is to create buyer personas, which are idealized versions of your customer segments.
Read more about buyer personas here:
Click these links for some ideas on how to attract your audience's attention:
Step 3: Perform a Content Audit
Look through your existing branding and sales materials to see what can be repurposed or discarded and what needs to be created from scratch. This exercise also helps to paint a clear picture of how your resources should be allocated.
Click the link for ideas on how to reuse existing content:
Step 4: Review Available Resources
Speaking of resources, this is the time to assess what you're working with. Now that you have a better idea of your content needs, you can prioritize your resources accordingly.
Step 5: Create a Distribution Strategy
Think about how you're going to give the content ample visibility. Putting it on your website is a great start, but that won't be enough.
Download our free lead generation guide for a closer look at building the content strategy and distribution plan, identifying audience personas, optimizing content for search and more. Learn how purposeful content can turn visitors into leads:
Step 6: Develop the Content
Whether your content is written, visual or audio, it should have a purpose. The content will help guide your audience through the buyer's journey. Think of the journey as a funnel with three stages: awareness, consideration and decision.
Your audience starts out as strangers. They may be visiting your website or came across your blog, social post or media interview for the first time. What kind of content will attract people to your brand without the hard sell?
Take video, for example. It's become the preferred way to consume content. This is great news for financial companies because video offers a unique opportunity to demonstrate complex financial topics in a compelling and engaging way to keep your audience moving through the funnel.
Take this video from HighTower, for example, that uses whiteboard animation to explain the difference between brokers and fiduciaries.
Not every person who watches a video or reads a blog will want to do business with you. This ebook is about how to get them to notice your brand in the first place:
Click below for more content ideas:
Visitors begin to evaluate your brand by seeking out your content and they're more willing to answer a few identifying questions on a form to get it.
Content that's engaging is memorable and pulls visitors further through your funnel, turning them into leads. Here are some tips for improving your content:
At this stage, leads are getting closer to deciding whether they want to buy. You have built enough trust at this point to begin sharing case studies and sales presentations that demonstrate your abilities.
Why SEO is Important
Referrals and word-of-mouth, while always welcome, are not the only ways to source new leads. Content plays a huge role in the research consumers do when learning about different brands. Optimize your content for search to help consumers find you.
You don't have to be an SEO expert to apply basic best practices:
Step 7: Measure Success
Always look for ways to improve your content strategy. You can determine campaign effectiveness by keeping tabs on marketing data and measuring them against your goals.
If the goal is to achieve more brand awareness, you may want to look at things like website traffic, content downloads and blog views. When Measuring for lead generation, look at form submissions, blog subscriptions and overall conversion rate.
Content marketing often takes time and trial and error before you're able to see positive results. You'll be on the right path if you create purposeful content, stay on message and continue evolving your strategy.