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The 2018 Content Marketing Guide for Your Financial Service Business

11

DECEMBER 2017

Part of The Iris Content Industry Guides

Content marketing can be a tough game to win in many industries, but this is especially the case for financial services. Finance is a dry subject that is difficult to squeeze creativity from, but that doesn’t mean you can’t produce great content that wins clients. Furthermore, this also isn’t an excuse to put content marketing on the backburner.

When you take a look at the numbers, content marketing is more important than ever to master. In fact, if you’re not marketing with hhigh-quality content, it’s a safe bet that your competition is beating you to the punch. We know this by the most recent evaluation of content marketing benchmarks, which you’ll find below:

Content Marketing: A Look at the Numbers

Even though financial services depend a lot on face-to-face interaction to establish relationships, brands are still turning to content marketing to further establish themselves in front of countless customers.

The 2018 benchmarks via Content Marketing Institute indicate that marketers plan to spend up to 30% of the marketing budget on producing content such as blogs, eBooks, case studies, and more. This content is easily consumable, informative, and searched for by your customers day after day.

Furthermore, respondents from the same survey indicated they will increase spending by up to 8% more than last year.

The bottom line is businesses are spending money in content marketing, including in the financial industry.

Financial services that serve B2C have additional statistics to consider. The 2018 benchmarks from Content Marketing Institute also conclude the following as most popular and effective content types:

  • Social media content (non blog posts) 90%
  • Articles on brand website 81%
  • Blogs 77%
  • Infographics 62%

Now that you have an idea of how financial brands are possibly spending money on content marketing in the upcoming year, we can help you learn how to determine a budget.

 

How to Create a Budget for Content Marketing

Financial services that are new to content marketing might be wondering how to budget. After all, what price can you put on a service that establishes your brand while building relationships? Not to mention, content that is high quality and relevant can last for several years—which is also known as evergreen content.

While you’ll find a variety of costs for content all around the Internet, these are the guidelines you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • How big is your company? Company size in terms of employees can help guide you for your marketing budget. Large financial companies should consider spending more, since there is likely a bigger client base—which may require an increased volume of content. However, if you’re running a small financial service, you can start out with a smaller budget. Keep in mind that now isn’t the time to cut corners and save a dollar or two. In the world of content marketing, you truly get what you pay for in most circumstances.
  • The current state of your content marketing efforts: Have you started any content marketing efforts? If not, expect to spend more to get a campaign up and running. Starting from scratch with content can fill like an uphill climb, but getting started sooner rather than later is key.
  • Volume of content and content type: Furthermore, the type of content that you need for your company will play a role in budgeting. For example, you will likely pay more for a case study than a blog post since case studies are very in-depth and use original research. However, long format blog posts (2,000+ words) will cost considerably more than a 500-word blog post.

There are many variables when it comes to determining cost of content marketing. If you don’t know what you need to help build relationships and an online presence, a content marketing company such as Iris Content can help.

Photograph by LorGHog via Bigstock

Determining Your Goals for Content Marketing

You might know that you want to start blogging once or twice a week, but do you know why? Creating content for the sake of creating content is ill-advised for several reasons. It often leads to frustration, since many companies feel like they’re spinning their wheels without getting results. This strategy (or lack thereof) can also cause you to miss the mark with your audience, as you’ll quickly lose both readers and traffic.

Knowing the goals for your content marketing campaign can help streamline the process and help you get the results you have in mind. Here are a few examples for goal-setting with content marketing:

  • Increase brand awareness: You’ll want to focus on content that will catch the attention of your audience. While you can’t plan on creating viral content—as you can’t always predict how a particular piece will perform—you can always set the bar high and create the best content possible for your niche. The idea is that you’re making a name for your company and the more original and high-value you can make your content, the more likely you will increase awareness of your brand.
  • Drive more traffic to your website: Increasing traffic to your website can take a lot of work, but it’s possible with the help of content marketing. Create content with a call-to-action, such as a blog post with an e-mail signup subscription form. You can also funnel more traffic by creating downloadable content in the form of an eBook. Don’t forget that social media content can also help you drive content to your website, especially if it’s interesting and relevant to your audience.
  • Better search engine performance: If you’re concerned about potential customers finding you via Google, you can use content to send more visitors clicking to your website. Focusing on ideation in this instance, where you carefully research keywords for your content along with a strategy for enhanced search engine visibility. Note that you won’t see results overnight, so staying consistent and publishing 4 blog posts per day (as advised by HubSpot) will put you on the fast track to content marketing success.

Who is Winning with Content Marketing in Financial Services?

By now you likely have good insight in terms of what matters with content marketing, how to budget, and even how to get started. To help inspire you even further to use content marketing for enhancing your brand.

American Express OPEN Forum

American Express’s OPEN Forum is a value resource for small businesses—which is a perfect approach if you’re a financial service in the B2B sector. Positioning your brand as a useful resource via content marketing can ultimately lead to more customers.

When you visit OPEN Forum, you almost forget that it’s the website of a major financial service. This website is very well organizing, features a clean design, and it’s easy to navigate.

However, the real star of OPEN Forum’s show is the content. Business owners can find endless amounts of information on how they can run and operate a successful business. You’ll find articles that feature navigating partnerships, what to do if another business is using your name, along with growth opportunities, digital tools, company culture, and leadership.

If there is a need for motivation to run a business with better money management, team building, and growth planning, OPEN Forum is the place to go. This is American Express’s signature for encouraging business owners who many eventually need their services. 

Chase Uses Stories to Connect to Various Ethnic Groups and More

JP Morgan Chase, one of the world’s largest banks, uses news and stories to make everyone feel a connection with their brand. Their content centers around on how people of every ethnicity and nation can create fuller, more exciting lives for themselves—such as starting a business, owning a home, and investing.

In addition, Chase’s homepage also offers helpful content in terms of controlling financing, entrepreneurial advice, and even investment habits of millennials. Chase has a wide audience to reach, since money is used in nearly every country and culture around the world. Their content helps hit the mark on nearly any audience imaginable, all while offering top advice relating to finances.

Another angle that JP Morgan Chase uses with their content marketing is narratives by real people and business owners. Since Chase is such a large company, it can be difficult to feel a human connection. Chase overcomes this obstacle by offering content that centers on real people doing real things with money in their everyday lives. 

Monument Wealth Management “Off the Wall” Blog

If the name doesn’t catch your eye right away, maybe the content will. We mentioned earlier that creative content marketing in a dry industry can be difficult. However, Monument Wealth Management’s “Off the Wall Blog” succeeds where many other finance services fail.

This blog has an exceptional amount of personality. It even helps make complex financial topics easier to understand, which is key to helping potential customer trust your brand. This content doesn’t try to talk in confusing jargon—their content is written in a way that’s relatable, even if you don’t know much about the topic in hand.

Monumental Wealth Management certainly isn’t afraid to break the mold with content marketing in a somewhat boring subject matter. They even include memes, videos, and invite you to speak with them privately about wealth management.

This company truly is a standout trend-setter in the world of financial content marketing.

Lending Tree Makes Life Easy with Calculators and More

Who doesn’t love a good online calculator? Lending Tree helps customers make fast decisions by offering easy calculators to compare mortgage offers and more. Calculators are specialized content that goes beyond a blog or white paper, but there is no denying their power in the world of finance.

Creating the Best Content for Financial Services

Now that you’ve seen the examples of brands blazing trails with content marketing, it’s time to move forward with a plan to create your best content possible.

The first step is to determine the type of content you want to create. Some of the best options for financial services includes:

  • Blog posts: Think about long form blog posts that feature evergreen content. Not only will this result in more social sharing, but it will also potentially boost your search engine visibility. Studies have shown that blog posts that are 2,000 words and more have more social engagement and better performance on Google.
  • White papers: A white paper is a feature of a new product or service for your company. These are typically long—around 6 pages. They are effective for targeting customers at different stages of the sales funnel. You can create white papers for solving problems, focusing on the uses of a specific service, or even target specific customers.
  • Case Studies: A case study takes real-world products and services and shows how they impact the lives of customers. These are shorter than white papers at 800 words, and they are best suited for audiences in the top or middle of the sales funnel.
  • Social media content: It’s important for any financial brand to have a presence online, whether we’re talking about Twitter or Facebook. This is a direct connection to your customers, and creating quality content across all platforms is key.

Important Considerations for Content Creation

Once you’ve decided on your content type, your work is just beginning. You’ll need to consider publishing schedules, who will write your content, where you will publish it, and more.

Here are a few content marketing tips for those getting started in the financial service sector:

  1. Analyze Your Audience
    Before you hit the first keystroke on your first blog post, there is one important question to ask yourself: who are you writing for? Who is your target audience? Without knowing your audience, you’ll potentially miss big connections and waste a lot of time—and not to mention, money.
    If you aren’t sure what audience you’re targeting, it’s time to do some research. You can do this by reviewing Google Analytics on your web platform and look for trends and insights. This may also work with social media targeting. If you really need an in-depth look for analyzing your audience, consider creating a survey on Survey Monkey or another similar platform. 
  1. Add a Human Touch
    A human touch is vitally important in the financial industry. Remind your audience that your company has real people behind the computer screen, and you are there to answer their questions.
  1. Bring Value with Your Content
    If your content doesn’t improve the lives of readers or help them answer questions, your company will be overlooked quicker than you think. This is why you must offer value to readers, and you can achieve this in the form of offering content that solves problems while building trust.
  1. Use a Publishing Calendar
    The best way to stay on track with your content goals is to incorporate a content calendar. You can create a calendar in a style that works for you and makes sense to all involved. There is the option to create a calendar on Google Drive for easy sharing, or you can even create a simple calendar on an Excel spreadsheet. CoSchedule is another good option to help coordinate content production.

Choosing Iris Content to Kickstart Your Content Marketing

You know you need content marketing included in your marketing strategy, and you know that it needs done right. The experts at Iris Content can help bring your content marketing vision to life while building brand awareness, establishing new relationships, and more.

Iris Content stays on top of the latest trends in content marketing to incorporate for your financial company’s content marketing. Get in touch with us today to explore your options and make your mark in the financial industry.

 

 

 

 

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

If you need a professional to handle all your content during the hectic festive season, Iris Content is launching a few holiday packages that you can take advantage of. Reach out to us and we will help your business shine this holiday season!

If you are interested in trends in content marketing and what your specific industry should publish to stay relevant and improve ROI, come back for more professional reports from our team of expert writers.

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