From tweets and Instagram Stories to white papers, successfully leveraging content is a skill every financial marketer must master. First you need to know your audience — what content they need and how they want it delivered. Most importantly, always remember it is truly all about them.
Subscribe to The Financial Brand via email for FREE!Creating fresh, relevant content isn’t easy — especially for banks and credit unions. Many marketers fall back on what they know best and create “banking content” that’s focused solely on their organization’s brand or its specific products. And usually, that content is ignored.
No matter what your marketing goal, you have to remember your audience only wants to spend time on what interests them… and that isn’t their banking provider.
So, if you’re building a content strategy or just trying to create more engaging content, start by learning everything you can about the people you’re trying to reach. Here are some tips that will help you get better acquainted.
1. Start Following Influencers
For most brands, finding influencers is just a Google search away: “The top 10 funniest, must-follow influencers for makeup tutorials.”
If only it were that easy for financial brands. But that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to find.
Personal finance and investing are topics that have vibrant communities of influencers and content creators. What are popular interests where money is essential? Travel springs to mind almost immediately.
Find the niche interests in these broader communities and comb through the search results. Get a feel for what type of content is being posted and see if there are any noticeable trends in engagement based on topic or type of post.
Influencers have a knack for being incredibly in tune with their audience. Starting with what content they’re creating will immediately put you on the path to creating relevance for your own messages.
2. Mirror The Social Media Habits of Your Target Audience
The best way to know what your audience members like, what they don’t like, and where your brand can make an impact is to become one of them, at least in a virtual sense.
Creating a Google Alert for your brand or your industry isn’t enough anymore. If you have personas or segments you want to target, put yourself in their shoes and ask, “What would their interests be?”
For instance, a thrifty young mother might want to follow similar moms who provide advice on budgeting and planning for their young family. Or a near-retirement, empty nester might turn to YouTube to learn how to wind down their 401K and prepare for life after their career.
Once you’ve found the platform(s) where the bulk of content relevant to your brand or product is being shared, create a brand-new account, leverage that platform’s recommendation engine, and start following or subscribing to content creators.
Check that feed during your commute. Check it while you’re eating lunch. And check it for a few minutes in the evening. That’s what it’s like walking a mile in your audience’s shoes.
This is the only way to really learn the subtle nuances in language and format that makes the most engaging content stand out for that demographic slice.
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3. Track Conversation Themes With Social Listening
Social listening can be incredibly powerful, if used correctly. It’s important to take the first two steps listed above, before you can get the most out of a platform like Netbase, Crimson Hexagon, or Synthesio.
To find some seriously useful insights, start with general searches in your category and slowly refine the conversation down into specific views of your product or brand.
Look at how your institution compares to competitors in earned conversation and see if there have been any shifts in major conversational themes over time.
Social listening can help uncover the major themes and gaps that serve as “tent poles” for your content strategy.
4. Ask How Your Brand Fits In
Once you understand what content is resonating with your audience, you should ask two key questions:
- What does the audience want to hear from my brand?
- What is my brand trying to achieve?
If your audience is house-hunting, show people how their credit score and income factor into their mortgage rate. Or provide guides to starting an online business, and how important it is that the payments they receive flow into a bona fide business account.
If you can answer such questions readily, creating engaging content should be simple for your institution.
You could discover that most of the time your audience is really just taking a break and looking for entertainment. If that’s the case, focusing on humorous, awareness-driving content might be the best option.
On the other hand, if they’re looking for an answer to a specific question, a campaign focused on promoting long-form content could work best.
5. Pay Attention to Format
You don’t want your content to stick out for the wrong reasons. Getting a grasp of the preferred formats for content on the platforms where you promote it is key.
For instance, animated GIFs receive 167% more click-throughs than do static images on Twitter, according to sprout social. Even if you’re not creating a custom animation, adding dash of motion to any still image is a great way to draw the eye.
7. Repurpose Your Content Into Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are one of the fastest growing tactics publishers are using to drive traffic to their content. 400 million people a day actively engage with Stories. Experiment with Stories by cutting up your content into a narrative, divvying up the story across multiple text and still images. Chase, for example, features content from their Sapphire Six series, which promotes the eating experiences their Sapphire card earns extra points on.
8. Explain What’s Going On In The World
The idea of newsjacking has been around forever, but instead of spending a ton of effort trying to force your brand to be relevant, choose news items and trends that relate to your brand and explain them after the fact. The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal both create incredible Instagram Stories that leverage this type of content.
Creating engaging content as a financial brand can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be if you start in the right place. Use these tips to get to know your audience and you’ll be creating killer content in no time.
This article was originally published on November 21, 2018. All content © 2018 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.