By Nick MacKay Senior Digital Account Manager, Spark Green| Posted: 9 September 2019
Content is king. This has become a catchphrase in online marketing over the past few years - it refers to the rise of content marketing as an important and powerful digital strategy.
Content marketing is the development and promotion of content that provide customers with valuable information or entertainment. Any type of content could form part of a content marketing strategy, but most often includes blog articles, videos, or infographics.
A new approach to advertising
Content marketing differs from traditional advertising in that it puts the customer first, rather than the product. Instead of pushing messages at the customer all about your product and why its’ so great, the focus is on the customer’s needs and providing them with genuine value. It’s more of an indirect model that seeks to build a relationship and trust with the customer first, before trying to sell to them. Or for existing customers, to strengthen relationships and increase their stickiness and loyalty to your brand.
Long-standing finance organisations, like many large companies in traditional fields, are likely to be tied to the traditional way of thinking which puts the product first. This is part of the reason financial startups have had so much success recently in disrupting the industry. These disruptors are putting the customer first, not just in content marketing but also in the development of their products and services. Although it may require a bit of reset in thinking, traditional finance companies have a huge opportunity to embrace content marketing to meet consumers’ growing demand for financial content.
Benefits of content marketing
The main benefits companies can expect to see from a successful content strategy are:
- Thought leadership – demonstrating you are an expert in your field. This will show your customers you know your stuff and hopefully make them think of you when it comes to decision time, or make it less likely they go to a competitor.
- Driving traffic – producing content gives you the opportunity to drive traffic to your site through various digital channels. Regularly producing quality content also gives your users a reason to return to your site. There’s also the chance that a piece of content could go viral and create a big traffic spike – the more content you produce the more chance there is of this happening.
- Engagement – valuable content engages your customers, keeps them coming back to your site and strengthens relationships.
- Building a community – letting people comment on your posts or providing other opportunities for interactivity can help build a community of highly engaged users. You can also achieve this sense of community on your social channels.
They key to a successful content strategy is providing real value with your content. The content should be highly relevant and meet your customers needs and/or answer real questions they need answering. There is so much content online competing for attention. If your content isn’t genuinely interesting to your customers you don’t have much hope of breaking through. Providing value should always be the main focus, not talking yourself up or trying to sell. Provide value without asking for anything in return and you will build trust.
Of course, there should still be a strategy behind the content you produce and how it may indirectly generate sales.
Content for finance
In the finance world, there are some unique considerations when developing and executing content strategies. It is a highly regulated environment and content must be legally reviewed to ensure it’s compliant. And of course, funds can’t be seen to be giving personal advice. This can add some additional time and challenges to the process, but the challenges are far outweighed by the potential benefits. In the wake of the royal commission, people are more financially aware than ever and are crying out for information about investing and superannuation. The industry is also looking for ways to repair the trust that was broken by some of the commission’s findings.
If done right, content marketing can go hand-in-hand with an SEO strategy and give your site a major boost in search engine traffic. Create strong enough content and promote it well and you may see a boost in search traffic without doing any SEO work, simply from people naturally linking to your articles/videos etc. But if you do include an SEO program as part of your strategy you could get your content ranking strongly with Google and really see your traffic skyrocket. If you don’t have the budget for an SEO program, you could still use keyword research to identify what people are searching for to find out what topics they are interested in.
What else do you need to think about?
As well as the actual content you produce, it’s important to consider where you will host your content and how you will promote it.
A well designed blog will help users easily read and navigate your content, as well as show your brand in the best light.
Awesome content on a slick looking blog isn’t worth much if no one sees it. There are many ways to promote your content including email newsletters, organic and paid social channels, paid search and SEO. You can also “guest blog” on other websites to increase your reach. It’s important to get the mix right for your specific audience and budget to get the best results.
It’s also important to make sure you have the planning and resources in place to be able to consistently produce high quality content to a regular schedule.
Content marketing is something that may require a shift in an organisation’s thinking and a significant allocation of resources. However the potential benefits can be huge, and may even help your company develop a more customer focused culture overall.
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