If you’ve read our previous blog posts on getting the best out of paid advertising and developing a long-term SEO strategy, you may well be on your way to building credibility and authority in your market, and strengthening your financial services brand online.
But there’s one thing that underpins these marketing efforts—content.
Without strong, strategically developed content, your marketing strategy will fall drastically short of delivering its maximum sales and growth potential.
But to develop such content, there are several questions you need to ask yourself.
The answers to these questions will ultimately shape the purpose of your content, the messages that drive it, and the form that it takes.
Read on to learn the 3 key questions to ask yourself when developing content ideas for financial services.
1. Is your content valuable?
In today’s era of marketing, we are bombarded with content from all directions.
As audience members, the way we decide which content to engage with is by asking the question: what’s in it for me?
In other words, the content must offer us value for us to engage with it—whether that’s by providing an answer to a question in our minds, or the solution to a challenge we face.
All content you create should offer value in some way.
If you have a content idea for your financial services marketing but can’t see how it can offer value to your audience, then adapt it until it does. Or go back to the drawing board.
2. Is your content relevant to your audience?
The quality of your content is informed by how well you understand your audience.
You want to provide the sought-after answer to a much-asked question in your market? Or resolve a challenge that has troubled a particular demographic for weeks and months?
Well then, you need to know exactly what these questions and challenges are.
And more than that, you need to know exactly what your customer is going through when they are trying to answer that question, or address that challenge.
We highly recommend building audience personas and using them as a reference tool when developing content ideas for financial services.
Audience personas are detailed documents that represent a target customer or audience segment, which can be used as a reference tool when planning and creating content.
The more specific you are here, the better.
What are your customers’ values and beliefs? Where do they go to consume content? What pressures do they face in their job role? What metrics are they expected to deliver on?
With a crystal-clear picture of who your customer is and what drives them, you can create content that speaks directly to these key motivators.
This is how you make content that really grabs people, and resonates with them on an emotional level.
3. Where is your customer on their “buyer journey”?
There are numerous aspects to this final question, but stick with us, and we’ll walk you through it.
When a prospect engages with your content, they are embarking on a decision-making journey—from Point A to Point B.
At Point A: they don’t know who you are, what your service offering is, or how it can help them.
At Point B: they are emotionally invested in your brand and they trust what you have to say. They’ve developed an understanding of their problem, considered the different ways to solve it, and decided that your service offering is the best way to do so.
Creating content that corresponds to the different parts of this journey is how you maximize the returns of your content marketing, and convert leads into paying customers.
So, what are the different stages of this buyer journey?
Broadly speaking, there are four:-
The point your prospect is at on this journey will dictate what kind of content they are willing to engage with.
For a content marketing strategy that supports high returns and growth, it must lead prospects sequentially through those first three stages.
If that’s done successfully, the prospect will then take action—whether that means reaching out to book a consultation with you, or investing in one of your products or services.
Your prospect has a question to answer or a problem to solve, and they have begun conducting research to gain a greater understanding of it.
Awareness content is what helps them discover more.
This content should be informative and digestible, made to support a top-level understanding of something, rather than delving into the details.
Think blogs, infographics, checklists, and 60-second explainer videos.
Some real world examples for financial services marketers could be:-
Checklist: 5 factors to consider when moving data centres
Blog: 9 steps to launching a successful Hedge Fund
Search engines and social media marketing are your allies here.
With these channels you can leverage a bit of budget, broaden your reach, and get your content seen by those that need it.
At this stage, your prospect understands the fundamentals of their situation, and now they want information that is a bit more definitive.
Consideration content should help the audience narrow down their options so they can make an informed decision.
Format wise, think case studies and product comparison reports—anything that compares and contrasts the options available to the prospect, and uses some kind of evidence or social proof to come to a conclusion.
That evidence can come in the form of survey results, a customer success story, or a testimonial from a leading voice in the industry.
Client Case Study: How we helped an investment bank reduce latency and trade 10x faster
This is where you help your prospect make that final step towards action.
Decision content should be devised to answer any lingering questions that your audience might have.
The best way to do this is by making something interactive.
A webinar, a product demo, or a Q&A episode of your podcast, where you invite listeners to submit questions on social media before you go live.
Here’s an example more relevant to the financial services industry:-
Webinar: Build vs. Buy; the Pros and Cons of Managing Trading Infrastructure
And there you have it.
Once your prospect has gone through this process, and continued to engage with your content as it increased in detail and focus, you can consider them a sales qualified lead—action is now within reach.
Content ideas for financial services: Key Takeaways
- If you want people to engage with your content, it must offer value. Always bear this in mind when developing content ideas.
- The quality and value of your content is ultimately informed by your understanding of your audience. Take the time to know the emotions, values and beliefs that drive them, then shape your content around those drivers.
- The depth and form of your content should be dictated by where your prospect is on the buyer journey.
- For your content marketing strategy to maximize its sales and growth potential, it has to guide prospects along this buyer journey; from awareness, to consideration, to decision, to action.