Considerations for your Banking Content Strategy

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Trust in the financial services sector fell 20 points 2018, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer.

However, within the same study, 60% of people said they view content shared by companies they work with as credible. Meanwhile, Forbes stated, "Increasing personalization in more channels can increase overall consumer spending up to 500%."

Content can generate trust, which generates confidence, which leads to business.

Many bank marketers hear the word "content marketing" and immediately think "blogs." However, a brand cannot just generate blogs and hope for success—in fact, many fail at content strategy because of this thinking. Content marketing should be approached strategically, creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content for clearly defined audiences. Valuable content wins the trust of consumers, ultimately driving profitable customer action.

There are three main considerations for a successful content strategy.

Have a holistic strategy

Many banks and financial institutions immediately turn to posting blogs as their start to content marketing. However, a blog is just a piece of content—an individual tactic. If you do not have a strategy to promote it, you are not using content marketing effectively. Your content strategy should include a plan to promote the content you produce, otherwise you risk investing in content that no one will see.

What do you want to have happen after consumers see your content?

Chris Nichols, the Chief Strategy Officer at CenterState Bank believes many banks' content marketing falls flat because they don't have a clear strategy. According to Nichols, some content marketing "efforts should be focused on generating leads while others should be focused on moving existing sales leads to convert them into loans or deposits." Through their analysis, they have found that long form content is more effective at generating leads, whereas webinars are a good source for conversions.

Content can influence the entirety of the customer Journey across paid, owned and earned channels. Make sure you plan for it holistically

Your audience is human

Another glaring mistake banks make in content marketing is only aligning it to their current promotional offer. This doesn't mean walking away from publishing content that supports offers, but it does mean understanding if an offer is relevant to the audience you are aiming to connect with.

According to Lisa Beets from CMI , "Marketers are trending towards more awareness of the importance of the audience as human beings." Sounds stunningly obvious, but it's surprising how often that is overlooked.

Furthermore, according to the B2B Content Marketing Trends Report, nine out of the ten top-performing content marketers prioritize their audience's needs over their sales/promotional needs. Understanding your audiences and prioritizing their needs goes a long way to rebuilding the trust that has evaporated from the financial services industry.

Researching and analyzing data about current customers to create "personas" of the ideal customer group(s) will allow banks to create content that resonates with potential consumers. By doing so, they will be able to connect with a larger audience than just those who might currently be in the market for a personal line of credit or new mortgage.

Measure Meaningfully

Many believe there are only three main types of metrics to evaluate content success: engagement (e.g. downloads), sharing (e.g. shares) and lead generation (e.g. form completions). While there is value in all data, these are vanity metrics—metrics that look good on paper but don't necessarily tie back to true business results hold little value. To properly report ROI, you need to evaluate metrics that actually impact the bottom line. These include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs and cost per lead.

As the experts at the Content Marketing Institute astutely said, "The goal isn't to be good at content. The goal is to be good at business because of content."

To be good at business, you need to build trust. Content can help you do that—but only if you use it thoughtfully.

About the author

As our Media Director, Jessica believes brands need to get beyond counting impressions and get back to making them. She understands this need and works hard to bring that to life.

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