The following is an extract from the eBook "Attract and Retain: A Content Marketing Guide for Growing Fiduciary Businesses". Download it here.
Over the last couple of posts, we’ve seen what content marketing is, how it can help financial planners and evidence of how it can generate business. This next section contains 20 short hints and tips on where to start, and if you’ve already got a content strategy, where to improve. To help, it's organised into order for the process so it's easier to find the information you need.
(Quick note: these tips have been edited from another of our eGuides, The 39 Steps to Successful Content Marketing, written by my colleague Robin Powell. Have a look at it for a broader approach to content strategy).
Your first step is to determine exactly what you want to achieve. Is it raising awareness, retaining existing clients or building a profile that’s most important? Or is it purely about conversions and sales? Chances are it’ll be a combination of things. But agreeing on what your priorities are from the outset is essential for success.
The most important thing here is to be realistic. Research suggests that it takes between six and nine months for content marketing to start making a significant difference. Or as we saw with MeaningfulMoney TV, 18 months. Don’t expect overnight success. But be specific - for example, you could aim for a number of page or video views per day after, say, six months and a year.
Identify exactly who it is you want to target and find out how they negotiate social media. Ask yourselves what sort of content they’d like to receive. Is it the informed investor, or the retail consumer? Is it financial directors in established institutions? Particularly think about the problems they’re facing that you might provide an answer to.
A content calendar laying out what content you’ll publish when is essential. Factor in key events in your industry, such as institutional reports or the Autumn statement. If required, Google Docs provides editorial calendar templates and WordPress has a plug-in.
Decide on your niche and what sort of content you’re going to produce on an on-going basis, and when you’re going to publish it. Keep testing: if it works, stick to it. Your audience will come to expect consistently regular updates, so don’t disappoint them.
Don’t talk at your audience; talk with them. Mention them in your blogs and videos; thank them for sharing your posts; act on their feedback. Ask them to write a guest blog, or interview them in a video or audio podcast.
Interviewing an industry expert is an easy way to produce engaging content. Particularly ask them to address concerns and questions your audience has. Repurpose the content so that it has longevity. Turn it into a video - and perhaps a longer audio podcast - and provide the highlights in written form.
Post your content to multiple social media accounts. Depending on where your audience go, you should be sharing every post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and your Twitter account. And make it easy for people to share it via any of their accounts.
Content marketing ultimately will increase sales, but it’s not a sales tool in itself. Start talking about how great your company is, and people will lose interest. Instead, focus on giving your audience information they want and need. Help them, don’t sell to them.
When planning content, think about the challenges facing your target audience. Get inside the minds of your customers… What problems are they having? What keeps them awake at night? Then produce content that addresses these pain points.
The hardest part of creating and curating regular content is coming up with ideas. Some of the most effective content is the type that addresses the questions that customers are asking. So listen to what your customers are asking. Look through industry forums. Every question provides potential for a new piece of content.
Don’t see including links to external sites as sending traffic away. People take you seriously when they see your information comes from a reputable source. No one has a monopoly on the best ideas. And quoting experts shows you’re part of a wider conversation.
Your content shouldn’t be a sales or promotional tool. But do include calls to action - and vary them each time. For example, as well as urging people to phone or email, ask them to submit their details in return for premium content, or to share your content with others.
Establish yourselves as experts on your industry. Keep tabs on all the latest developments - and any emerging trends. Scan the latest RSS feeds, surveys and reports using tools such as Feedly - and conduct your own surveys to provide new insights.
When writing a blog or video script, don’t write as if it’s a formal report. Like Rick Deckard, people can spot if it’s robotic and they will disengage. But don’t make it too conversational either. Avoid jargon and flowery language. Write in plain English. Imagine you’re writing for just one person. Help that person. Make an impact on them.
Although key words are important, don’t get too hung up on them. Or worse, cram your posts with them. It’s unreadable and utterly cynical. Write for your audience - not for SEO. Provide them with informative content and they’re more likely to share it and remember you when they come to buy. That way you boost sales and your search engine rankings.
Ideally you need both, but if you really have to choose, choose quality. It’s particularly crucial in the B2B sector, where a few strong leads are preferable to scores of inferior ones. There’s already plenty of content out there; quality will make yours stand out.
You don’t need to produce all the content yourself. Curate the best content that others are putting out. Try using a curation tool like Scoop It, Storify or Spundge. Always credit the content creator and add your own comments instead of just sharing.
Nothing will motivate you more than seeing the fruits of your labours. Another reason for tracking the impact of your content is that it shows you how to tweak future content to ensure it hits the spot. Google, YouTube and HootSuite all provide a wealth of useful analytics.
There are some very effective online tools to help you spread your content far and wide - directories, syndicators, aggregators and publishers. It’s worth checking out the likes of Alltop, Reddit and Stumbleupon, which will link back to your own website.
This is the final post in a series of blogs looking at content marketing for growing fiduciary businesses. If you've enjoyed them and found them helpful, you can download the eBook that they've been taken from over at Regis Media - simply scroll down to see the link. It includes these extracts, plus lots of other helpful content including interviews and extended chapters.