Content marketing is vital across all businesses, and the financial sector is no exception. Social media channels and blogs are always buzzing about content’s increasing power in the digital marketing realm and, with 2 million blog posts written every day and B2B marketing’s shift to the interests of individuals as opposed to businesses, it is fair to say that digital marketing revolves around targeted, well-researched, rich and relevant content.
Why is content marketing important?
Fundamentally, most, if not all, types of marketing are based on high-quality content. In email marketing campaigns, for example, you need clever copy and an eye-catching headline in order to achieve positive results. Content provides a value to the user, signifying an implicit agreement to the recipient which essentially boils down to free information for free exposure. This is certainly a fair trade, especially if the content you’re developing is useful enough that the recipient shares it with his/her colleagues.
Without content, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) would be close to pointless, and social media and influencer marketing would be nonexistent.
1. Getting to know your audience
Contrary to what some may think, the first step to content marketing is not creation/production, but research. Researching the kind of person your audience consists of is vital to content creation since you can’t exactly create relevant content when you don’t know who your audience is or what they want to hear.
Here are some important questions to consider when doing audience research:
- Who is my current audience?
- Who do I want my audience to be?
- What are their challenges?
- Does my content present solutions to their problems?
Once you accurately assess the current state of your content marketing, make a list of areas that you want to improve. Some useful tools to help you with content marketing research are:
- SEM Rush
- Google Keyword Planner
- Yoast SEO (as an extension to your WordPress blog)
- Google Analytics
If you are looking to improve your brand awareness, content marketing is probably the best way to go about it. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 82% of financial marketers use content marketing to raise brand awareness and engagement.
It is important to note, however, that producing content for your website-blog-newsletter without taking advantage of sharing it on social media won’t do too much for your brand strategy. After all, what’s the point of creating great content if no one knows about it? Consider engaging with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, the 3 most popular channels for content marketing for the financial services sector.
Theoretically content creation is easy, right? You pick a topic, do some research, write 1000 words and it’s done. That may be true to some, depending on their company’s size, goals and market, but content creation for the financial industry is a bit more multi-faceted and complex. One of the largest differentiating factors is your content is not only the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy, like it is in several industries, but it’s also a vital part of your sales team job.
1. Personalized content
Financial marketer’s B2B content should speak directly to the challenges and needs of its target audience. In 2016 the persona has become more important than the brand. Step one is to truly understand your readers’ desires; then engaging content can follow.
Think outside of the box and find your niche. For example, you could focus on covering financial politico-economic news, as well as relevant technological innovations. Utilize several channels to get your message across. Webinars, videos, infographics, and blog posts are some content types to consider.
If your website has any combination of the 11 most common on-site SEO issues, that’s probably the reason why your website and blog don’t get as much traffic as you’d hope. Even when you have the most outstanding content, unless you adhere to the right rules, Google won’t be able to “see” your work.
Duplicate content, meta descriptions and title tags can be huge dents in your organic traffic and rating. The first step you need to take is performing a SEO audit of your website. With an audit you can assess if there’s something wrong so you can take steps towards fixing it.
3. Social media trends
Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, the 3 most popular social media channels for the financial industry, are vital keys for content promotion. What’s more, a recent B2B study on content marketing by Regalix discovered that social media (27%) is nearly as important source of content distributions as email (28%) and more important that website traffic (26%).
So what should you do? Just start posting. Don’t worry too much if you don’t have as many followers at first as you’d like. More often than not social media popularity has a snowball effect – it’s harder to get that first couple thousand followers but once that’s done, maintaining and growing your subscribers is a breeze.
Many 2017 marketing predictions say that next year video will be at the heart of content marketing. According to a recent Firebrand research, 85% of marketers have experienced an increase in ROI after incorporating video to their content strategy. Now is as good a time as any to get on board!
Undeniably, producing meaningful videos for the financial services is not as easy as it is for the B2C industry but that shouldn’t stop you! Try to be creative in your approach and remember that it is your job to be a trendsetter and revisit the established marketing practices of the financial services.
Like every other branch of marketing, content marketing is a continuously evolving and advancing field. Whereas just a few years ago having a blog meant you were riding the top of the marketing innovation wave, today a blog is just not enough. Is 2017 going to be the year of content marketing? Maybe. Probably. Most definitely. Stay tuned for more exciting content marketing news!