Consumers have access to volumes of information, any time anywhere. How does a financial institution compete and differentiate itself from its competition? With a strong brand and good content.
Content marketing is the practice of sharing information with and educating consumers instead of selling to them. It’s the practice of teaching your customers/members something or helping them solve a problem in their lives. Instead of flashy ads and marketing lingo, content marketing provides relevant information that establishes your financial institution as the go-to expert for your audience’s finances.
Here are four ways to boost your financial institution’s content marketing efforts.
Develop a content marketing strategy and calendar
Content marketing takes work. Do not underestimate the amount of time and resources you need to keep the content fresh and flowing. Take some time to determine what type of content is relevant to your customers or members. Plan how often you will produce new content, how you will publish or distribute it and who is responsible for creating that content.
Be realistic. If you have one person in your marketing department, consider forming a content team from talented employees in other departments. Start small and build your calendar as you build your team. It’s better to have limited, quality content on a consistent basis than to have poor, random content.
Americans spend more time watching YouTube than any television network, especially younger Americans. They watch videos. They make videos. They share videos, and it’s not just for entertainment. YouTube is their go-to place for information and advice. These are not professional videos requiring big budgets and a film crew.
You could ask a loan officer to use the camera on his or her computer and explain how to improve a credit score in three easy steps. Or, use your phone to record a demonstration of someone using your mobile app. If you can invest in a digital camera (about $500), that will improve your quality, but use the tools at your disposal until you can afford something better.
Stick to one topic per video and keep videos brief – about two minutes or less.
Share your content on social media
Many financial institutions (and other businesses for that matter) make the mistake of promoting their products and services on social media. It’s okay to do that every once in a while, but the point of social media is to engage consumers. Use your content marketing as a starting point. Post links to your blog, videos, podcasts and website content on social media. Ask customers or members to comment on your content. Use your content and your social media channels to start a conversation.
Share consumer stories
There’s no better endorsement for your financial institution than a testimonial or story from a consumer about how you changed his or her life. Share those stories. Capture them on video whenever possible so the audience can experience these consumers’ emotions.
Did you help a family purchase their first home when nobody else would give them a chance? Did you host a financial seminar that helped someone become debt free? Did someone on your staff simply listen and empathize with a customer or member when they needed a shoulder to cry on? Tell these stories. Better yet, let your customers market your financial institution for you by telling these stories in their own voice. Connecting with customers on an emotional level is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your brand and differentiate your financial institution.
Content marketing works because it focuses on building trust and relationships. Instead of establishing your financial institution as the place where consumers can get a checking account, savings account or loan, it establishes your financial institution as the place that solves their problems and cares more about them than the sale. Use these tips to boost or begin your content marketing efforts. It’s one of the best ways to differentiate yourself in the minds of consumers.
Notes from the editor (a content marketer):
- Content Marketing Institute is the place to go to learn more about this field. Its founder, Joe Pulizzi, has done an amazing job of providing a foundation for this craft. Their event, Content Marketing World, is something anyone with an interest in content marketing should attend at least once.
- There are some great agencies (I recommend Hanley Wood and BrandPoint) that specialize in content marketing that can be really helpful in getting programs like this off the ground for resource strapped marketing teams.
- There are many banks effectively using content marketing to grow their reputation and their account base in the banking industry. If this is something you’d like to talk more about, reach out to me on LinkedIn, I’d love to chat with you.