Times have changed. Young people know more about Bitcoin than bonds. Jobs are more fluid. Millennials struggle prioritizing saving money over paying for necessities — rent, utilities, and (of course) picking up the tab for Tinder dates. A study from Moody’s found that Millennials have a savings rate of –2.0%, so they are spending more than they’re bringing in.
Banks, start-ups, and financial planners are investing significant resources into trying to change this trend.
Does banking need to be easier? Does it need to be more fun? Does it need to seem cooler?
Financial marketers targeting Millennials may not see an immediate return on their content marketing investment, but there’s a huge opportunity to build lasting relationships for the future. As Millennials mature, they will accrue assets and have greater borrowing needs, and financial institutions that create solid relationships with them now won’t be scrambling to play catch up later. One of the smartest way to take engage Millennials is with helpful, relevant and transparent content — content that isn’t just about driving sales, but rather equips them with real tips, tricks, tools and insights.
With that in mind, here are a few tips financial services companies can use to overcome compliance barriers and create content that Millennials will actually care about.
1. Be a True Resource and Reliable Ally
It’s not easy investing time into building content that doesn’t appear to have an immediate and direct impact on revenue. But if your brand can commit to creating and sharing engaging, entertaining and educational material with Millennials, the potential long-term payoff is huge. While it isn’t likely Millennials will immediately choose to become the financially responsible person their mom wants them to be, there is a good chance that down the road they’ll get serious — and when that happens the brand that has been a trusted resource for them is the brand they’ll likely turn to.
2. Plan Different Types of Content
Financial services brands shouldn’t try to break news, and tweets about the next “Shred Day” event aren’t going to get it done either. Millennials want to feel that they’re getting real, relevant information from the brands they choose to engage with — online or off. In order to generate the right types of content in a timely manner, financial institutions need a strategy built off a combination of evergreen, seasonal and topical content.
For evergreen and seasonal content, banks can plan in advance so they have time to produce more in-depth coverage that can incorporate licensed visuals and expert interviews. With enough lead time, you can create longform feature articles, and infographics based on research data. When brands have something new to add to the conversation they can produce more topical content for social channels (like Twitter and Facebook) and shorter blog posts.
3. Streamline the Approval Process
Financial institutions are notorious for slow, arduous approval chains. But you can’t bang out the volume of content necessary to find success with Millennials if you have to navigate layers of management and compliance people every time you want to publish something. Does everyone really need to review every document? Can you build a more streamlined and efficient approval process? Are you using a program that allows those reviewers to collaborate easily and efficiently? Does that tool offer a way to limit how many times certain employees can edit? Is this process easily repeated, and easily tweaked for content that isn’t as well received?
4. Define the Rules of Engagement
Your legal team should be very involved in the creation process. If that sounds like your worst nightmare, keep in mind that by including them from the very beginning, you’ll establish rules and goodwill that will make it much easier for you to operate later on without needing to check every little detail.
Clearly document the ground rules that will prevent your content marketing team from violating the FFIEC’s guidelines, Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Act and any other important regulations. You can package this up into a content marketing rule book will give your writers something to reference while they’re writing so they don’t make mistakes like inadvertently promising a certain outcome based on advice provided in the content. This will likely also improve your approval timelines.
Sam Slaughter is the VP of Content at Contently and a long-time freelance journalist. He’s responsible for content marketing campaigns and partnerships for brands including Coca-Cola, American Express and Forbes. He also runs Contently Media, and is chairman of The Contently Foundation. Sam is a veteran of several news organizations, including Comcast.net, and NY1 News, and writes frequently about advertising, and the emergence of content as an effective marketing tool.