If you’re producing financial content marketing…well, it’s tricky. I was in your shoes about a year ago, creating content for a small financial advice firm. My job was to create marketing collateral that would generate leads and new customers. I was excited to work for the company, but once I got going, some of the hurdles seemed too large to clear. However, there were a few things I learned from the experience, and I’d like to share with you how you can jump those hurdles and excel.
But first, let’s look at why content marketing is so important.
Why Content Marketing is Key for Financial Services Companies
Investments, pensions, and other financial products are often major decisions, and people often have so many questions and fears to overcome before they buy. Those questions and concerns create an extraordinary need for high quality, helpful content. By listening to the challenges buyers have and understanding their main concerns when making a purchase or investment decision, you’ll have a long list of valuable topics to cover.
Figure out which terms confuse people. Do they know the differences between their options? Are they too embarrassed to ask? Discover how they identify their needs. Is it by stages of life, for example, saving for college, getting married, or nearing retirement? Answering these questions will help you organize and create truly valuable content for your buyers.
Also, finances are always emotional. People have different expectations for and relationships to their money and investments. By providing information during the research and decision-making stages, you’re giving people support and confidence during an emotional process.
Think how powerful that can be. By helping people make the right decision, you’ll foster trust and establish credibility.
My Story: Facing Three Major Hurdles
Content marketing may be important, but that doesn’t make it easy. There are still huge challenges facing content marketing practitioners in the industry. Here are a few I uncovered during my experience.
The Approval Hurdle
Problem: I would write a blog article, or a big PDF guide and then I’d have to get it approved by the legal department. Sometimes this would take a few days (in larger organizations, it can take weeks) because they were working on other projects. There was also a lot of back-and-forth over email, and content was rarely a priority.
Solution: Before you start, speak to your legal department and set expectations. Define what you need and agree upon reasonable deadlines. If it needs to take 3 weeks, build that into your timeline. Also, establish a content process that organizes workflow and tasks. This will help everyone involved understand what is needed and when, and also holds each stakeholder accountable for their step in production or approval.
The Subject Matter Expert Hurdle
Problem: Some financial products are very technical, and as an external copywriter, I’d have to ask my boss a lot of questions. That ended up being a huge bottleneck during the production process, as he’d often be swamped with other projects. Without proper support for a subject matter expert, efficiency and accuracy were near impossible to achieve.
Solution: Make sure you have someone technical supporting your efforts. This should be someone who understand the importance of content, and can set aside time to provide you with the information and clarification you need. Maybe its a meeting once a week. Maybe its 15 minutes a day. And come prepared with your questions and concerns.
The Buy-In Hurdle
Problem: As you can see from the examples above, buy-in was a real issue. There was a need for content, and that need was recognized. However, content wasn’t made a priority. Without the necessary stakeholders on board, it was almost impossible to schedule time for approvals and feedback, organize agreed upon workflows, and produce the valuable content needed to make an impact.
Solution: Every industry experiences objections, but buy-in is especially critical in financial services. As with other regulated or technical fields, the content producers might not be the subject matter experts who might not be the legal experts. In these cases, communication is crucial between all of these bodies. The best way to get each department to take content needs seriously? Get buy-in from the top and let it trickle down. By getting a member of the C-suite on board with content marketing, they can help you make the case for content in your organization, which will make your job a lot easier.
5 Financial Companies Clearing These Hurdles
Despite the challenges, many financial services companies are producing engaging content that’s driving sales and building their brands.
Sun Life Financial created the Brighter Life website to reach more customers and offer value to them. Sharing ideas about money, health and family, the site has become a trusted source for financial advice. This gives Sun Life not only a platform to sell their services, but also helps them build trust with potential customers. And that’s rare among financial institutions.
Farmers Insurance have created Famers University to help customers plan for life events. It covers things like buying a car, having kids and getting married. By reaching those carefully defined personas they can answer questions people naturally have at different stages in life.
Barclays wanted to target more small business owners with their insurance products and bank accounts. Given that busy business owners aren’t really interested in reading about those things, they created a portal around small business issues. From webinars, to business training workshops about checking credit, they’ve really nailed it.
City Index have also done a stellar job of creating engaging content. The company offers CFD and forex trading to speculative investors. To expand their reach to more novices, they created a 6-part online video series around their set-up called Trading Academy. With 3 hours total of what is effectively a TV show, the audience can experience and learn what trading is like.
Hymans Robertson is a pensions consultancy firm. Most wouldn’t consider it very exciting. But to counter the traditionally boring messages of their competitors the company created videos around a Mr. Motivator character. Among the small niche of employee-benefits managers that they target, it’s helped them engage and attract that audience very quickly.
Producing Content Efficiently Gives You an Advantage
Given that financial content marketing is so difficult compared to other industries, you can put your company ahead of your competitors. They may not have enough resources or an efficient process in place to create content. As a CMO, content manager or plain copywriter – this challenge is your chance to shine.
By having a formal process for creating content – especially in a larger organization – you have it all in one place and make creating content a priority. You can make lots of interesting and relevant content.
So jump those hurdles and race to the line.