Written by: Danielle Stitt
In short, respond to questions clients ask, not the questions you think they want to ask.
Major events, like a Federal Budget, offer a perfect opportunity for connecting with clients – by answering their questions and helping them solve their problems. This will help you develop your brand as an organisation that understands, and gives your senior team a chance to demonstrate thought leadership.
The first temptation is to go straight into content production mode. The smarter move is to spend some time researching and identifying what information needs your audience has and then work out how you can address them.
A good Budget wrap-up can be valuable, but by the same token, there are any number of good budget wrap-ups already written, so don’t feel you need to re-invent the wheel. The big banks have articles and videos targeting different aspects of the Budget, as do the major accounting firms, and financial advice firm ksm group has produced an excellent overview. All of these reports describe the significant changes announced in the Budget, along with commentary and explanations from experts in the field.
The window for producing a simple wrap up is probably around a week. After that its marginal utility quickly diminishes.
In the next wave of content after the precis dissemination stage you will need to dive into the detail, specifically addressing the answer most readers are asking, “What does it mean for me?”
By offering help and advice about next steps, you are giving them what they want and increasing engagement with your content at the same time.
So how do you start?
Step One – Identify your area of expertise
For most of us in financial services, we won’t be answering clients’ questions about healthcare and education. At the same time, depending on your area of expertise, you may not be addressing every question about financial services either.
Decide where you can add most value and play to your strengths.
Step Two – Identify what our clients want to know
If you take a bit of time to identify what your clients are asking about, you will be able to write the content they actually want to read. We all know that there is no point writing the best content in the world, if it doesn’t solve a problem, answer a question, or in some other way forge a link between you and your client.
Listen – social listening identifies areas of interest as well as trending questions and topics
Start by listening to what your target audience is actually saying on social media, as well as on other forums accessible online. For example, search “Budget 2016” on Facebook and look at the top sites (sometimes competitors’, sometimes media’s etc), and take note of what people are posting and commenting about.
Well-known commentators, like Ross Gittens, will often answer questions for listeners and the themes that emerge can identify areas of interest for your clients. For example, we produced a word cloud from the Q&A session Ross Gittens held after the announcement of the Budget. It identifies the most commonly repeated words and therefore highlights what was top of mind in that session. You don’t need to squint with one eye to see that “budget”, “tax” and “super” are big deals.
Respond – develop content around the themes you’ve identified
Now you are ready to produce your content. Prioritise the themes you want to pursue and map them to your target audience’s information journey. In other words, simple educational pieces work best at the initial discovery stage while how-to articles will help someone ready to implement change.
Think also about the format of your content. Is your audience looking for answers on social channels, so needs a quick infographic, or are they wanting the detail only a significant white paper can provide? And more importantly, how can you breakdown your content into multiple formats to ensure it is in the channel and format your different audiences need?
Distribute – get your message out there
We suggest hosting your hub content (which answers your clients’ questions) on your website in the first instance. Your website is like the library and should provide clients information when they go looking for it (or ideally when they find your website in search results).
The second step is to promote the message across all your channels – newsletters/ EDMs, through the brand’s/ CEO’s/ employees’ social networks, as part of participation in online communities, including groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as other online investment based communities, and also via Twitter. Shameless self-promotion here but we have a great playbook which explains everything about content distribution in financial services.
By taking the time to identify what’s important and being useful, you will take a major step towards better engagement with the people who matter most to your business. Your clients.
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