We’ve used the terms “breaking through the clutter” for more than 15 years when talking about the challenge of being heard in a multimedia world. Well before the widespread adoption of social media, we talked about the proliferation of news websites and online media that competed with – and ultimately reduced – the power of traditional media.
But today, the proliferation of content is exponentially greater. Now brand advertisers create online, social and video content, feeding the dramatic increase in available material competing for our attention.
The Wall Street Journal describes how brand strategists are churning out content: “When your favorite clothing store, your hardware store and your coffee shop are all pouring out more and more content each day (not to mention the traditional newspapers and magazines you still subscribe to), the clutter can feel overwhelming.”
While major financial firms like Fidelity and Schwab create reams of high-quality articles distributed widely to customers and advisors alike, they are not alone. In fact, good content is democratic in the sense that small players can harness their own experts to increase awareness and get the word out.
Do you have a content strategy? If not, start by building out a content plan for the coming year:
- Identify regular content you already produce for clients – economic commentary, quarterly market outlooks. Make this content, or if necessary, a pared back “public” version of it, available on your website. Link to it on your corporate social media pages. Encourage your professionals to share it.
- Identify areas where you or your professionals have timely and meaningful knowledge and create articles or whitepapers to share that expertise. Asking a portfolio manager or analyst to write a case study or blog post may not always be welcome, and some may have neither the time nor the inclination to write about what they know. If so, consider engaging a writer to interview your experts and create content they can edit and put in their own voices.
- Pay attention to what’s happening in the news and react quickly if you have something meaningful to say. The government shuts down? Ask your economist to write about the potential economic impact. A new regulation gets proposed? Ask your legal team to create a briefing on what the potential impact will be on your customers. Tax filing deadline looming? Ask your tax expert to offer some reminders to last minute filers.
- Be sure to identify topics for webcasts, podcasts or a company YouTube channel. Not everyone likes to read detailed technical papers. Instead, create short 1- to 2-minute audio or video pieces featuring your experts sharing guidance on important issues.
- Select your best and most interesting content and share it with selected media to generate earned media exposure. Ideas from your content may lead to a news story or result in a publication sharing your submitted content for their readers.
In a world of abundant content, it is important that your content is engaging and addresses important topics your customers need or want to know about. Make it salient so it breaks through the clutter and leaves an impression. Measure which content your customers engage with most, and regularly refresh the pieces that get the most clicks.