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5 tips for bankers who want to start content marketing

Apr 22, 2016 3:52:08 PM

Content marketing has been around for decades, but the concept is still generally unfamiliar to the world. Some people call it “inbound marketing” because it serves as a useful contrast to “outbound marketing,” while others call it “permission marketing” because it serves as useful contrast to “interruption marketing.”

Here’s what content marketing means in five words: Stop interrupting and start helping. If you do that, then you can reach the levels of lead generation you’re seeking. These five tips will give you the guidance you need.

1 - Leverage your entire employee base

If you don’t have a writer on your team, hire one (or two or three). Have them leverage the knowledge you already have on hand by interviewing your employees who have been in the industry for years. Chances are that each of your employees will have several compelling stories or analogies or statistics that they use when talking to account holders. Your writer can use this information as a base for your content marketing strategy.

In fact, you may even consider having your writer team up with these employees to write a post under each person’s name. By scheduling a ghost-written post each week, you’ll have a steady base for your content marketing efforts.

2 - Interview experts in your field

Another way to pump out steady content is to have your writers interview financial experts — especially those who live in cities near your headquarters. These experts are often looking for ways to get their ideas into the world, and an interview can be a simple way for them to do just that. Schedule a 30 minute interview, record it, and have someone who can type fast transcribe it in real time. Then clean up the interview, making it as easy to read as possible, and send it to the interviewee for final review.

We have done this at MoneySummit with our growing interview repository, which features big names in fintech and banking.

In a similar vein, Umpqua Bank started a podcast about finances called Open Account. The host, a correspondent on MTV, interviews people — including celebrities — about their experiences with money. This represents a great way for Umpqua to offer fresh and interesting content to their customers, building brand loyalty in the process.

Note that one added bonus to this strategy is that you’ll build your relationship with each person you interview, putting your brand top of mind when that financial expert talks about banking.

3 - Keep it human

A lot of marketers try to write in a “corporate” voice, from a company to another company or a company to end users. Maybe this is done in an attempt to establish credibility, but it can sometimes result in your audience feeling like an entity is talking at them rather than having a conversation with them. The truth is that businesses don’t read your messages, people do.

If you want people to take action you have to actually speak to them. Some companies like Progressive or Allstate even use a fictional personality (Flo, Mr. Mayhem) to try to create that human connection. In the same vein, whenever possible, have your messages come from real employees even if they’re ghostwritten for someone such as your CEO or your VP of member services. This way you let account holders feel like they are developing a relationship with someone they can trust.

4 - Create a Series of How-to Guides

Ideas include:

  • How to Get a Mortgage
  • How to Get a Car Loan
  • How to Prepare for Retirement
  • How to Spend Money on What You Actually Want
  • How to Save More Effectively

These guides can serve as evergreen content on your website, and, as a bonus, they can be used to train new employees in helping account holders understand their financial health.

5 - Set Up a Campaign Cycle with a Content Calendar

When it comes to content marketing, you will succeed only if you consistently produce quality content. That’s a simple concept, but it ends up being incredibly difficult to execute well. What typically happens is that a company will generate 3, 5, or even 10 pieces of content, and then the executive team complains that the company isn’t seeing an ROI on content marketing. Or perhaps the team simply runs out of ideas and stops publishing. In either case, the company blog loses steam and everything shuts down.

In order to successfully execute on content marketing strategy, you must commit to the long game — at least 18 months. To consistently generate content for 18 months, it helps to set up a campaign cycle that enables you to have dedicated topics for a set time period. For instance, if you ran each campaign for 6 weeks, you might write about retirement advice for the first cycle, savings advice for the next cycle, car loans for the next cycle, and so on. Focusing on a set topic for a 6-week period enables you to research each topic fully.

It’s also critical to have a content calendar that fleshes out the details of each 6-week campaign. To illustrate, you might commit to publish an interview every Monday, an original blog post every Wednesday, and a collection of interesting finance articles from the week every Friday. Getting into a regular cadence can empower you to keep moving forward when you feel like your ideas are drying up.

Further Reading:

Books
Inbound Marketing by Dharmesh Shah, Brian Halligan
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

Courses
HubSpot’s Inbound Certification [free]

Sites
Copyblogger, including ebooks such as A Content Marketing Strategy That Works
Sethi Ramit, including ebooks such as The Ultimate Guide to Remarkable Content
The Financial Brand — arguably the most successful content publication in the banking industry

Want more content like this? Download the Ultimate Guide to Bank Marketing below:


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Topics: Design

Jon Ogden

Written by Jon Ogden

Jon Ogden is the Director of Content Marketing at MX.

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