Marketing and public relations have existed in one form or another for over a century, but a subset financial marketers are using more often — content marketing — has quickly become integral to many institutions’ strategies.
Often considered a form of PR, content marketing takes a more modern approach to marketing that involves using forums outside of traditional media. The point is creating valuable content with information people are already searching for on the internet to attract, engage and retain a specific audience.
The key differentiator — and possibly the best part about content marketing compared to traditional PR — is that you can do it all yourself, without having to rely on journalists beyond your control to share your news and ideas. Content marketing articles or other formats typically are hosted entirely by the financial institution (on its website, most often). The key reasons for using content marketing includes establishing your brand as source of expertise. Doing so can help the audience think of you when it is ready to make a decision.
Here are four ways your bank or credit union can implement content marketing:
1. Writing Blog Posts Educates and Informs Consumers
Crafting keyword-focused blog posts that explain topics commonly discussed among your current and prospective consumer customers is a great way to generate an audience for your bank or credit union and engage people’s attention. The key is providing relevant answers their questions, not just presenting sales messages disguised as education.
For example, a bank or credit union’s website may share a blog explaining how to open a savings account. With an intentional plan for building in keywords, someone browsing the internet for “How do I open a savings account?” will see your blog post in search results. Suddenly, you have an active audience on your website, which opens the door for future conversations.
In the midst of the COVID recession, many complicated financial questions have been on consumers’ minds and financial institutions have many staff experts who can offer answers in blog form.
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2. Publishing Case Studies Can Show Perplexed People How to Proceed
Case studies should provide real-life, detailed examples of how a financial institution does its job well. Most often, they explain the challenge faced by a consumer or small business leader, why they began working with your bank or credit union, what your staff did to help, and how things turned out for the better.
A case study illustrating how a financial planner for your institution helped a young, financially-uneducated couple would have much appeal these days. The article could show how they were taught how to establish a financial plan, paying off their debts and starting retirement savings. Any young couple searching the web for financial advice would find this interesting.
It’s important to offer multiple case studies to address differing needs. For example, an older, successful business leader would probably not be drawn by the young couple’s story. However, he or she would like to hear how your institution saved another small business from bankruptcy.
So it’s important to offer a selection of diverse case studies that cover the entire spectrum of your target audiences.
3. Creating Interesting, Illustrative Infographics
People like pictures. Studies have shown that 65% of a typical consumer base are visual learners. This means that the majority of your audience is more likely to retain information they see illustrated rather than just described in written form.
This is where infographics — “information” and “graphic” — come into play. This form of content marketing combines illustrations, charts and graphs with words to quickly and memorably communicate concepts. People typically digest graphics more easily than text — a good bar chart conveys huge amounts of information clearly — so well-executed infographics that blend charts and pictures can often relay very complex information.
Infographics can illustrate all sorts of narratives in surprisingly small spaces. They can explain a company’s culture or illustrate the history of an industry, to name just two of their uses.
Let’s look at an example: During tax season, most Americans experience severe stress. As a result, thousands of consumers search the internet these days to answer questions regarding topical specifics like “tax treatment of unemployment benefits” to more general ones like “how to do your own taxes.”
This is a great opportunity for an accounting firm to establish its expertise by sharing an infographic, such as “3 Things You Need to Know About Your 2020 Taxes” or “How to Be Prepared for Tax Season.” Better still, it’s an opportunity for a bank or credit union to work with a local accounting firm to show how banking products can help accomplish tax goals.
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4. Starting Podcasts Can Put Your Institution Out in Front
Edison Research found that in November 2019 there were 62 million Americans listening to podcasts every week — a 226% increase from the 19 million listening in 2013.
The astounding popularity of podcasts is a great opportunity for financial institutions to interact with their audiences in a new way. Just as infographics satisfy visual learners, podcasts cater to auditory learners.
Financial institutions should consider what value they can offer their audiences through podcasts. Can people on your staff comment on market trends? Discuss how the news affects stocks? Give business or budgeting advice?
Whatever the topic, it should be informative and non-promotional. Simply having people’s attention for the length of a podcast is enough promotion. Once you’ve decided your topic, buy a good microphone, find a quiet room and get talking.
In these and ways that haven’t been conceived yet, content marketing allows financial institutions to take advantage of the platforms and knowledge they already have. Incorporating informative blogs, case studies, infographics and more to your website establishes your financial institution as an expert in your industry.
Clients who regularly find information on your website may not be ready to make a decision yet, but when they are, they’ll know where to go.