Content may be king, but strategy rules – part 1

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In the first of our series of articles exploring how to improve content marketing for financial brands, Raphael Queisser takes a look at the importance of a strategic approach. You can’t run a successful financial content marketing campaign without great content. But there is much more to effective content marketing than just producing content. You need to consider how to create, distribute, measure and track it. And, most importantly, you need to know why you’re doing it. Have you got a strategy in place? Do you know who you’re targeting and what you want to achieve?
Having a well-thought out strategy with clear deliverables in place ensures each piece of content you produce is seen in context ie. in the right place, at the right time, by the right audience. It also ensures you can measure exactly how effective each individual campaign was in achieving your objectives and in delivering results.
We carried out research with FS brands, in conjunction with specialist financial content marketing agency Editions Financial and the Financial Services Forum. We found that although over 50% believe content marketing is more effective at building trust than other approaches, only 38% have a defined content marketing strategy. That explains our research’s discovery that only 13% would say their organisation is very successful at measuring ROI from content marketing campaigns.
Without a clear, consistent plan in place, it’s impossible to be able to give any kind of clarity as to how effective a campaign has been in achieving your goals, and where in the customer journey your audience has been most receptive. You need to know where each campaign fits in your overall goals and strategic objectives, to be able to effectively measure which has been most successful.
Below are our 3 takeaways FS brands should consider when creating an effective digital content strategy:
1.Lead with your audience, not your brand.
You need to know your target audience challenges and pain points – what do they need information on? What are they passionate about, what will make them engage your brand? What can make them trust your brand online? Strip your content strategy back and really think about who your audience is – whether it’s investors, traders, personal financiers or those investigating their options for investment, retirement or banking. Create detailed user personas that explore more than just demographics – consider their behaviour and motivation.
2.Don’t take anything for granted
Know exactly what your audience reads and when they read it, and utilise that knowledge to make decisions on which channels will deliver optimal attention. Put yourself in their shoes and consider where they will be receptive to your messages. Armed with that information, you can create content which will appeal to their needs and can be targeted appropriately. Don’t underestimate the importance of testing either, without A/B testing creatives (both in terms of imagery and text), optimisation becomes a guessing game rather than a strategic decision making tool.
3.Learn what works well where, and what doesn’t
Constantly check how campaigns are performing against your strategic goals and objectives, and that they are fully optimised. Make sure you have the right reporting in place for a campaign to ensure it is completely transparent – that it captures all the information you need to give an indication of how it really performed.