Content marketing, brand journalism, native advertising, branded content, content curation, owned media, these are terms that we hear quite a bit lately. What do these terms refer to? And why should financial services companies care?

First, the crux of content marketing is creating and distributing relevant content for the purpose of connecting with an audience.  You can do that by solving a problem, meeting a need or sharing thought leadership.

  • Content marketing is how a prospective client begins to build a relationship with your company; it builds awareness and creates trust with them. It helps convince them you are an expert.
  • Content market helps to maintain relationships with existing clients.  It “confirms the purchase.”
  • Content marketing is how a prospect understands the role and relevance of your organization.
  • Content marketing can feed public relations, sales, and lead generation.
  • Content marketing can replace or substitute for advertising.
  • Content marketing can improve your search engine results (SEO).

Content marketing is much discussed lately because Google’s search engine data has shown that buying decision sources dramatically increased for both business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) decisions in recent years. Decision makers are perusing your content (and others’) as part of that decision making process. And more importantly they are finding out about you by conducting broad searches on the web. Decision makers are asking Google questions and content is supplied to answer those questions. Is it your content?

So what is the key to good content marketing? It’s simple really. It’s basic sales strategy – keep the needs of your customers in mind as well as your business goals. Answer your prospective customers’ questions. Your FAQ should be a robust and significant effort. Write thoughtful, quality content. Be interesting, useful and helpful. Inform, don’t sell. Post your content to your website.  Share it in newsletters and blog posts.  Create case studies, whitepapers, webinars and blog posts. Then push that content out via social media, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Proactively share your knowledge and best practices. Become a trusted adviser to your prospective client before you even meet them.

Content marketing can take many forms in the financial services industry. Can your organization offer up timely insights on some aspect of the market? Can your organization share thoughts and best practices on a new regulation or piece of legislation impacting the investment community? Can you share your take on recent market movements or economic indicators? Can you share a strategy for dealing with rising interest rates?

We’ve helped our clients answer these questions and others through by-line articles, email blasts, eBooks, media advisories, whitepapers and case studies.  More than pushing this content out, we seek to shine a light on the thought leadership at an organization to help build relationships with current and prospective clients.