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Cracking the Content Marketing Code in Financial Services

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Written by: Alicia Eu

If Alan Turing could overcome the near impossible and decode the wartime communication of the German Enigma ciphers in World War II, then surely cracking the content marketing code – the code that has been pushed by PR and marketing folk alike for the past two years – should be an easy feat in comparison.

Yet, for many in the financial services industry, the content marketing journey hasn’t started, has only just started trundling along or is a mass content creation and distribution play with little data to help make better connections with meaningful leads.

The picture I’m painting may seem bleak but shows there is plenty of room for improvement and to ‘crack’ the content marketing code, it may be worthwhile reviewing the milestones we’ve passed (or are still struggling with), taking the lead from best practices examples in the industry, and considering our tips for getting you on the journey quicker.

Content marketing milestones

Taking a strategic approach: While marketers have started taking a more strategic approach to their content marketing strategies, the latest Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmark, Budgets and Trends report finds that only 46% of respondents have a documented content marketing strategy. As is best practice with any new endeavor in business, and as the Content Marketing Institute suggests, a content marketing strategy is the vital first step to informing the creation, publication and governance of useful, usable content to help manage content as a business asset. 

Content amplification: This is the happy marriage of valuable content and paid tactics to extend or amplify your content to your target audience at the right time. A major shift in the last few years has seen traditional and non-traditional digital publishers offering native advertising products and sponsored editorial posts. The challenge for these publishers is how to deliver these products in a way that doesn’t impact on the integrity of the articles written by journalists and thus their credibility.

Metric-driven marketing: Organisations are starting to make better use of analytics to refine content marketing strategies as an important function – and optimising their content accordingly.

Lessons from the best in financial services

A number of financial services organisations are nailing their content marketing strategies and there are lessons that we can learn from each.

  • Engage your audience with topics they want to know more about: Accounting software company, MYOB, started a multi-authored blog called ‘The Pulse’ in 2013 aimed at providing useful information on a range of topics that are nteresting to and relevant to their audience of Australian small businesses – beyond the subjects they would be known for, accounting, tax and finance. The blog has a strong following with thousands of shares across key social media channels
  • Develop a community: Commonwealth Bank has not only committed to content marketing via its blog, customer forum and social media platforms, it has also undertaken a Woman in focus’ initiative. The initiative involves the partnership between the bank, Telstra Business Women’s Award and Business Chicks to extend its reach and develop an active community of women collaborating to achieve extraordinary things through face to face events, online and social channels
     

Content marketing is a long term strategy with no instant fixes so you will need Mr. Turing’s persistence and patience to crack its code. However, to get you on your journey quicker, here are three strategies we suggest you put into play:

  1. Put your content marketing strategy down on paper: It might be a no-brainer but if you’re one of the 56% of marketers who aren’t documenting your content marketing strategy, now is the time to pinpoint your purpose. Just like writing down your New Year’s resolution, your content marketing strategy will keep you on track and will help you to align your team behind it.
  2. Help people find you: Search, particularly Google, is one of the first places that people go to find information. People will type in keywords related to their topic of interest and review results based on their rank. Make your content do some of the work for you by ensuring it is keyword rich, has the appropriate title and description. Also, don’t underestimate the power of media coverage. Consider linking back to these articles to boost your search rankings!
  3. Tailor your content according to your consumer’s buy-cycle: Use insights that you know engage your prospects and clients at each stage of their buying cycle so you’re serving up quality and relevant content that guides them from brand awareness to commitment to purchase. People who trust your content are more likely to share it too.
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