Financial services providers and banks may not be able to agree on much, but they all know that their businesses depend upon the same thing: high-quality content. The finance sector is unique in its need for accuracy, consistency, and professionalism when it comes to content marketing. Not only do information and data need to be accurate (and therefore trusted), but the language used must be appropriate to an international audience, engaging and compelling.
Even the best content is useless if it's not read by anyone, so finance brands also need to understand how people are accessing information these days – via mobile phone, tablet, or desktop device – and create strategies accordingly.
Finance companies may have higher standards than most when it comes to creating content, but that's not to say they don't have their own unique challenges.
There are several different types of content used by finance companies, the most common of which are:
1. Educational/Informational – Content that is designed to educate and inform audiences about a specific topic or subject. This takes many forms, from blog posts and eBooks through to webinars and videos, but always focuses on providing valuable information as opposed to selling a product.
2. Interactive – This is interactive in nature, often using tools like infographics or quizzes to get audiences involved with the content itself. Interactive content can be educational in its own right (a quiz about finance won't sell you anything but it might just teach you something useful) or used to increase engagement in order to promote something else.
3. Inspirational – The finance sector uses content to inspire audiences, often by sharing case studies of other companies that have succeeded in the industry or individuals who are showcasing their success within it. This type of content is designed to motivate people by demonstrating what is possible with the right mindset and skillset.
4. Thought Leadership – This is content that demonstrates a company's expertise in its field. Thought leadership can take the form of a white paper, blog series, or other formats, and often serves as the stepping stone to pitching a product or service by giving audiences a chance to 'test drive' what you have to offer before they buy.
5. Product/Service Launch – In addition to creating content for existing products and services, finance companies also create campaign-specific pieces designed to generate interest in a new launch.
In an ideal world, brands would have the time and resources necessary to create all of these kinds of content for every product or service, but that rarely happens. Instead, they focus on a content mix that's right for their brand, tailored to the intended audience. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using buyer personas, which are fictional representations of your ideal customer based on real data about what they want and need, allowing you to create content that speaks directly to them.
Once you've got a clear idea about which kind of content is appropriate for your brand, there are several rules that need to be followed in order for it to be effective.
1. SEO – Because search engines like Google are the main portal through which most people access information on finance topics, all forms of content should include relevant keywords and phrases to make sure they're found by audiences.
2. Engagement – Content needs to be relevant and engaging, and the best way to do this is by keeping it specific and high quality. By writing about one thing very well (e.g., mortgages), rather than many things just adequately (e.g., home finance), you'll be better able to establish yourself as a thought leader.
3. Consistency – This is an extension of the last point because once you've established your expertise in one area it's important that any new content reinforces this perception. That means staying up to date with market trends, being consistent across multiple platforms, and demonstrating ongoing value by constantly providing fresh information on the topic.
4. Transparency – You should always be clear about your motives for creating content and upfront with audiences about where the information comes from and how it was obtained (i.e., what's your source?). That way they'll know you're not just trying to sell them something, and so will be more open to taking advice on finance-related topics.
5. Trustworthiness – All of the above points will lead to increased trust between your brand and its audiences, but it's also important that you demonstrate a commitment to employing ethical practices and doing things by the book (e.g., complying with new GDPR rules). This is especially true for content dedicated to promoting products and services, but it's equally applicable to other forms as well.
Remember that at the end of the day, all content should be aimed toward achieving one goal: closing the deal. By consistently creating high-quality pieces that inform and inspire your target customer you can increase your chances of both generating leads and converting them into paying customers. If you follow these rules and work hard to create a positive experience for all audiences every single time, you'll be in good shape.
Want to learn more about how a content marketing plan can attract new clients to your business? Contact us for a free content marketing audit.