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CUTTING THROUGH THE NOISE.

A 5 Step guide to creating engaging content for financial services.

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OF PEOPLE WANT TO LEARN ABOUT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THROUGH CONTENT RATHER THAN TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING.

CMI RESEARCH 2017

This is great news if you’re a content marketer in financial services. But it doesn’t mean we can just throw a bunch of sales literature at people thinking it will work.

Our audience is bombarded with hundreds of different pieces of content every day.

And according to the FT, financial services organisations are spending more than double the amount of time producing content than other industries, but seeing the content perform 20% worse than average. So it’s clear that creating more content alone won’t help engage our audiences.

SO HOW CAN WE FIND A WAY THROUGH THIS CONSTANT NOISE AND GRAB THE ATTENTION OF DECISION-MAKERS?

5 STEPS

TO MORE ENGAGING CONTENT:

Customers want engaging and useful content that creates a memorable experience for them. This is the biggest challenge that financial content marketers face today – producing work that is engaging time and time again. But it can be done. Follow these five steps and you should be well on your way to creating genuinely engaging content.

01 CONTENT WRITING

Research

RESEARCH.Before pen is put to paper, talk to your audience. Let your audience tell you what challenges they face and what they need from your content. Give them what they ask for, not what you think they want, and your content will have more impact almost immediately.

Plan

PLAN. Never start writing without an outline of what you want to write – it will keep your thought process organised and your messaging on-track. Start with the concept – the main message you’re trying to get across. If your concept isn’t clear, or it can’t be easily summarised in a sentence or two, it’s time for a rethink.

Grab their
attention

GRAB THIER ATTENTION. Your content needs an engaging first line or hook. This could be a headline or first sentence, but it has to really grip your audience. Make it interesting, unusual, shocking, or emotional. It could even be a thought-provoking statistic. There are many writing techniques when it comes to writing content, which is why it’s always worth considering using a professional writer.

Skimmable & Scannable

MAKE IT SKIMMABLE & SCANNABLE. Visitors will skim your page to see if anything grabs their interest before committing to explore the content further. Use short paragraphs and sub-headings to break up each section of content. Ensure the key ideas or attention-grabbing quotes stand out from the rest of the page to hook in the right audience.

Be a ruthless editor

BE A RUTHLESS EDITOR. Before you even think about hunting for typos, you need to start with larger, conceptual concerns – known as ‘developmental editing’. For example, have you stuck to your outline? Is your message coming across? Does it fit your brand voice? Is it providing value for your audience?

Fresh eyes

A FRESH SET OF EYES will add an objectivity that is often difficult for the writer to have when editing their work. So make sure someone else edits the copy as well as the writer. And, if possible, give the content the ‘overnight test’. When you write and edit on the same day your mind will automatically make up for mistakes in the copy. Editing the next day will be much more effective.

02 VISUAL STORYTELLNG

The way that you visually present your financial services content is almost as important as the content itself. If you can’t entice people to read or view it, your hard work is wasted.

That crucial first impression, when the reader scans the page deciding whether to stay with it or not, will most likely be formed by your design. In a cluttered landscape, words can take a while to cut through, while visual storytelling has an immediacy of impact that can make the difference when it comes to gaining attention and then keeping it.

Obviously a great designer who can create an engaging look and feel is essential. But here are some tips we can all make use of when we’re trying to make content more visually enticing.

Use images

USE IMAGES. One of the best ways to make your content more engaging is with the right amount of relevant images. Some experts suggest that the right amount is one image every 75-100 words, but do what feels right for each piece of content.

Infographics

INFOGRAPHICS are an excellent form of content marketing, especially for Financial Services, because they can take quite complex information and compress it into something significantly easier on the eye and more digestible.

Make quotes sing

MAKE QUOTES SING. If your content has interesting quotes from influential sources, make the most of them by breaking them out of the main body of text.

03 VIDEO & ANIMATION

CONTENT THAT’S BROUGHT TO LIFE

SHOUTS LOUDER

Presenting impactful content means finding ways beyond simple text and design to express your ideas and get your message across. Animation (be careful to make it considered and usable) can be a powerful way to create some hierarchy in your messaging. Make crucial points stand out by animating them onto the page, using slides or bounces for example.

THE POWER OF VIDEO

Video storytelling is becoming more important to the financial sector.

Audiences are becoming tired of blatant marketing content and bland corporate blogs. They want to digest their information through more compelling, interactive stories. Video is a great way of expressing your content with a human voice and allows you to add your own brand personality to the content.

Video storytelling is particularly effective when trying to engage audiences that are difficult to reach, such as time poor IFAs. Video is not just informative and compelling, it is quick to digest and share. And because of this, the use of it is set to grow.

04 DIGITAL DEVELOPMENT

TRACKING SUCCESS. When utilising video content, marketers can better track exactly when consumers stopped watching, how many full and partial views a video has received and how often a video actually brought the client business. Compared to text, the ability to track individualised video results is revolutionary.

Consumer journey tracking software like Google Analytics and a wealth of new apps coming out, allow for users to track how efficiently their content is performing on their website.

MOBILE OPTIMISATION. The most important rule when optimising your content for mobile is to keep it simple. Mobile should be much less intensive than regular online content and should be easy to navigate. Headlines, first paragraphs and sub-headers become even more important. In mobile they have to have a timely hook, be benefit driven and be highly relevant to your audience.

And the way that mobile content is formatted is crucial. Choosing the right colours, the right fonts, the right layouts, and the right visual elements - such as photos or videos - will all contribute to how engaging your mobile content will be.

SEO is a huge area that requires it’s own dedicated piece. If it’s important to you and your business that your content ranks highly on search engines then you’ll need a full blown SEO strategy.

The thing to keep in mind is that high-quality relevant content will always win through. Knowing your audience well, giving them content they need and that adds value will go a long way to to making your SEO healthy. It will also mean you are using words they would commonly search for and means pages are focused to specific search terms so become more effective.

05 PLANNIG FOR THE FUTURE

Content marketing in the Financial Services industry is set for huge growth. The CMI forecasts that 73.6% of marketers plan to spend more on content in the next two years. As ever, technology is evolving fast, producing fresh opportunities and challenges. It’s important to keep planning for these as part of your content engagement strategy.

Three major trends to prepare for are:

ADVANCED
PERSONALISATON

ADVANCED PERSONALISATION – advances in use of data means that content will become more and more personalised. Individuals will be targeted with unique offerings and information according to what they previously expressed interest in, which can be tracked through segmented data.

INFLUENCER
COLLABORATION

INFLUENCER COLLABORATION – like many other industries, content that is jointly penned and highly informative will have the appeal and “legs” to reach bigger audiences. Influencer endorsement will increase and serve to sway customers with a strong measure of authenticity.

MOBILE READY

MOBILE READY – even in more traditional industries like Financial Services, mobile content is going to become a lot more important. Finance audiences are also consumers and many of their habits and needs flow seamlessly between their two selves. More than ever, they’ll be expecting your content to reach them through their phone.

IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CONTENT MARKETING FOR THE FINANCE INDUSTRY, GET IN TOUCH WITH US AT 2112 COMMUNICATIONS ON 020 7680 6571 OR SAY [email protected]

WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU.