Content marketing is a marketing approach which focuses on providing value to a target audience, often in the form of education, in order to benefit that audience. This exchange of knowledge increases consumer trust in the business, and drives profitable customer action.
Sceptical? Well, it’s catching on. In the UK, 86% of organisations use content marketing.
But that’s only part of the picture. In fact, most businesses are not doing enough of it to see significant benefit. In the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 UK report, 38% of organisations categorised as ‘most committed’ to content marketing said that their approach was either ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ successful. Compare that to organisations categorised as ‘somewhat committed’, of whom only 5% said their approach was successful.
So, whilst a lot of organisations use content marketing, it’s only a minority who actually do it well enough. From experience, I can say that it’s often the industry sectors with most to gain from content marketing who are least likely to be doing it well, if at all.
One of those, you guessed it, is financial advice. Financial advisers in particular stand to gain from a committed content marketing strategy for a few key reasons. Content marketing can help you:
Financial professionals are amongst the least trusted in the world - understandably, due to the scandals and crises which still inhabit the memories of most of the population. When allied to good service, engaging with customers and using your expertise to help them builds trust in your brand.
Help clients understand
Investing can appear incredibly complicated, and it’s easy to be boring when explaining the why of a certain investing approach. However, that doesn’t mean that advisers shouldn’t try to explain what they do, in fact doing so is absolutely vital when it comes to building trust and persuading someone to engage your services. The solution then is to be clever about the way you communicate. Content offers a variety of ways to facilitate learning, with video being particularly effective for complex information.
There are lots of other advisers offering the same core services as you. A good exercise is to google ‘financial advice’ and add the city or region you are in. Go on the adviser websites - How similar or different do they look? In my experience, the majority of advice businesses look very similar, especially to those of us outside of the industry.
Content marketing can help deliver a distinctive message. This could be something based on the mentality or attitude you give your clients to help them invest, a key difference in your service, process, or fees, or a distinctive visual brand identity. It should really be all three.
So, how can advisers do content marketing well? I’d suggest the following:
When you’re trying to think of ideas for content, your launch pad should be the question: ‘What do my clients, or investors generally, need to know in order to have the best chance of success?’.
Once you’ve got some answers to that question, think about how you can structure and publish those answers to give you a higher number of assets you can use. You can break blogs, videos or podcasts down into series, which you can produce in advance and publish regularly over a longer period of time. Having regular content to share on social media is vital if you are to build an engaged following.
Be authentic, but don’t forget quality
Think about quality - do your prospective clients care whether your videos or podcasts have high technical standards? They may well do, especially if you are aiming at high net worth investors. Generally though, what matters most is the authenticity of your message - what are you actually saying - is it honest, is it useful, and is it reflective of you and your team?
Have a mission
Current trends in marketing point to the fact that for consumers, it’s not necessarily enough that the product or service is good. Beyond this, people are attracted to brands that have a stance or argument which either challenges the negative aspects of the status quo, or leads with a story about positive change.
For example, if you don’t believe active investing works for the majority of investors, make a fuss about it. Or, if you think the pervading attitudes we have to money are damaging for investors and we need to think in a different way, tell that story.
Focus on the whole marketing mix, or as much of it as you can
It’s important to have an integrated approach. For example, just commissioning video won’t work without using it effectively via social media, your website and direct client communication. Always remember that getting your audience to see any content, advertising or sponsorship is just as important as the content itself.
So, there are good reasons for advisers to use content marketing. There’s a lot to remember, but nobody is suggesting you do it all yourself. You may have a team who can shoulder some responsibility, and you can also outsource the elements you think you’ll be weakest at. Remember as well that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with outsourcing to more than one company, as long as the communication required remains manageable.
Finally, the last thing to remember is that, like passive investing, content marketing is an approach which will yield much better results over the long term, and stopping and starting can be counter-productive. As obvious as it may sound, if you’re going to do content marketing, you stand more chance of success if you do it with commitment.