Content marketing for financial services is a thing. Finally. As with many developments in the finance industry, it came late to the party but it is finally here. Of course, we have known that for some time however the industry has long relied on Adwords, banners and of course bonuses to succeed. Plenty of financial companies now embrace content marketing, or at least try to. The question however, still remains, how do you make content marketing work inside a financial services company?
With mega hurdles such as speed, compliance, approval hierarchy, company culture, budget and a heap of other obstacles, content marketing for finance can be tough. In this article, Contentworks Directors Niki and Charlotte answer your questions:
Q. YOU’VE WORKED EXTENSIVELY CREATING CONTENT IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST HURDLES YOU’VE FACED?
Niki: There are some big ones. One major problem is that content marketing is still not properly understood in the financial services industry. There is an expectation that if you create a really nice campaign that it will immediately go viral and hundreds of new clients will be banging at your door. Content marketing needs to be viewed as an integrated and lifelong process where the appropriate resources and budget are consistently allocated. This doesn’t mean one junior writer for one hour per week.
Charlotte: For me it’s a lack of awareness on the time and skill it takes to create and manage excellent content. It is very common for a CMO to expect a press release written, approved and distributed to multiple channels in an hour for example. Financial brands often only think about content and social media marketing at the 11th hour when they want materials created, often for a one-time event or PR disaster.
Niki: Compliance is of course a major factor in content marketing for finance. From my side, I have always maintained excellent relationships with compliance officers however there is still a “Them and Us” culture between marketing and compliance teams. Marketing wants to surge ahead with their latest hard hitting campaign whilst compliance pulls back for regulatory reasons. A compromise needs to be made and this comes down to excellent communication between departments.
Charlotte: Another big hurdle is underfunding for content marketing, however, that’s not usually due to a low budget. I have seen marketing departments consistently spending hundreds of thousands on Google AdWords producing a CPC of $100. Meanwhile organic content and social media marketing is quietly hitting a CPC of $1 with no fanfare whatsoever. There can also be a “let’s throw money at everything” approach which produces smaller results than if the budget were to be more condensed in key, well researched areas.
Q. YOU’VE WORKED WITH A LOT OF CMOS AND CEOS. WHAT DO THEY SAY IS THEIR MAIN CHALLENGE?
Niki: Their main challenge is increasing speed to market. CMOs in the financial services industry are aware that they need to be fast in order to capitalise on an event or new product. They are up against competitors who boast marketing departments of hundreds and trying to carve out a share of the market for themselves. They are also up against shareholders and owners demanding greater results.
Charlotte: CMOs are definitely worried about falling leads and low registrations. As bonuses have now been quashed across the financial services industry, they are left wondering how to bring in new leads. There is a lot of confusion about how to produce unique, intelligent content that performs.
Q. HOW DOES CONTENT FIT INTO FINANCIAL SERVICES MARKETING?
Charlotte: Content marketing is at the core of most marketing departments and this is especially true for financial services. The demands placed on writers in the financial services industry are monumental and far outweigh the time and resources of one person. Content marketing for finance includes; daily analysis (technical, fundamental and sentimental), daily blogging, social media updates, company news, landing pages, campaigns, eBooks, video scripts, press releases and so much more it will make your head spin.
Niki: Content marketing drives the financial services industry. It drives search, social, forums, emails and forms the entire funnel of communication between broker and client. It is the reason that new traders find their broker and the reason existing traders are motivated to stay with one brand. Great content marketing builds trust between the client and the financial services company.
Charlotte: Financial services companies trade on intellectual capital, so content is how they distinguish themselves from competitors. Unlike a retailer selling something tangible, financial services companies sell ideas and help clients solve problems. Good content is the manifestation of their “product” because it shapes the client’s perception of who the smartest person in the room is and therefore where you would invest your money.
Q. HOW DOES CONTENTWORKS HELP FINANCIAL SERVICES CLIENTS?
Niki: That’s true. We are offering a team of financial professionals who are managing the content of each of our brands. We have tailored solutions to fit the content marketing needs we know exist in the industry. We audit the company’s existing content marketing channels and suggest changes which can positively impact SEO, traffic, virality and engagement. We then run with a fully integrated content marketing plan which includes daily analysis, blogging, social media and campaign management.
Charlotte: We also offer coaching for marketing staff which brings value to the entire marketing and communications process. That means learning to ask questions about who the target audience is and what you want that audience to think or do as a result of seeing a particular piece of content. It means understanding the funnel and touch points at each stage of the client’s life cycle. It also includes planning and anticipating when content needs to be developed and delivered, as well as what form it should take. We take a really strategic approach to content marketing.
Keen to learn more about how content marketing can help your company? Contact the Contentworks team now for more information.