What marketers know: traditional marketing strategies have shifted to a digital focus. However, it’s not enough to have a basic digital marketing strategy. A content marketing strategy should be at the core of your digital marketing strategy. According to HubSpot, more and more marketers (70%) are continuing to invest in a content marketing strategy. In this post, we’ll cover what content marketing is, what content can look like, where content lives, and how financial brands can use a content strategy to inform their marketing strategies.
If you aren’t completely sure what content marketing is or even where to start – you’re in the right place. Let’s start from the beginning: Content marketing is defined as a marketing strategy that focuses on the creation and distribution of valuable content that is relevant to a defined audience. Remember, content marketing is not separate from your other marketing strategies but instead it’s at the core of each of your marketing strategies: email marketing, social media marketing, digital marketing, SEO, and PR.
I know, this seems like another responsibility you must add to your list as a bank marketer. But, think of it this way: You already include content in all areas of your digital marketing strategy. You just have to change the way you’re approaching content and fit it into your marketing efforts a little more strategically. The reward is worth it! The many benefits of implementing a content marketing strategy are increased conversion, customer retention, brand recognition, brand loyalty, and more. We’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: Content is king.
What is Content?
Content can be anything visual, informative, or deemed “shareable.” Think: blog posts, infographics, videos, social posts, graphics, emails, newsletters, and more. The types of content we’ll be referring to in this series are all digital forms of content.
The hardest part of a content strategy is to brainstorm what content is relevant for your brand to create but also important to your audience. Some questions to ask yourself as a bank marketer are: Do you have a graphic designer on staff? Do they have access to tools needed to assist in creating content? Do you have a strong brand identity? What do you need to clarify your brand? Is your marketing team consisted of one individual or many? Do they have specific roles in content creation? Do you have a dedicated people to help ideate content ideas outside of a marketing role? Answer these questions and start to map out your resources and assign tasks.
If you are a small team, there are great resources available to help you create content – and even build out your brand! There are many free tools online that can help you start to create content. Bookmark our social media image size guide to reference so that you know how to accurately size content for each social platform. Keeping up with social media trends is tricky but doing so could give you some great ideas for content that you can create for your own brand.
Where does content live? (Social is a channel. Content is a thing.)
You can distribute content on social platforms (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Facebook). Content can also be housed on your website (blogs, videos, PDFs), and make sure that you aren’t just relying on social media platforms to house your content. You can also distribute content through email marketing. With so many ways to get your content to your audience, how do you know which platform is right for which type of content?
When posting to social platforms, it’s important to take note of the culture around that specific social platform. For example, post short ideas on trending topics on Twitter, visually interesting content to Instagram and Pinterest, and storytelling posts through Facebook. Specific types of content we recommend posting to social platforms are: videos, graphics, infographics, community photos.
When housing content on your website, you have more control over what types and how much content you want to live on your website. We recommend these types of content for websites: longer form content, blog posts, downloadable whitepapers or guides, long videos.
When crafting emails for your marketing list, it’s most effective to create a campaign. Ask yourself these questions: What message do you want to send, why is it important for your audience to know, is it essential for them to know? Remember, an inbox is a sacred space and more people are being picky with who they let into their primary inboxes. You have to earn your place by not sending too many and making sure that your message to them is relevant. You can embed almost any type of content into an email but consider where you want to drive traffic to when implementing graphics, video, or photos into the body of the email.
How often should I post?
Just like you do with a good friend, it’s important to check in with your target audience regularly. Good friends not only check in but they work to build strong relationships. Testing what type of conent is engaging your audience, listening to their feedback and implementing it is is how you can harness social platforms to build relationships, and a community, with your target audiences. Per channel, this is our recommended posting cadence:
- Facebook, LinkedIn & Instagram: 3-4 times/week
- Twitter: Everyday, or strive for 5 days/week
Posting regular blog content can help with your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This is how your website ranks on search engines like Google when people search for keywords that are relevant to what content is on your website. Be sure to make sure your blog content is relevant to your industry and business. Although it is important to consider the bandwidth your team has to produce content, Hubspot finds that smaller companies that post between one and four times a week find success with their blog analytics. Larger companies find success posting more frequently at four to five times a week. Our recommendation: Start out small, maybe four blogs/month, and figure out what cadence fits into your team’s schedule and bandwidth.
When it comes to emails, it depends on what messages you need to or want to send to your audience. Does your audience expect a weekly or monthly newsletter? Have you tested the engagement a newsletter gets? Maybe you want to run a campaign that promotes your HELOC rates early in the year, that campaign could have four emails that run throughout the month. Check your annual calendar and plot out important initiatives and which ones are worth popping into your audience’s inboxes.
The hardest part about implementing a content marketing strategy? Starting. Today we reviewed: what content is, where it can live, and how to often to check in with your audience. We provided some resources and tools that you can use to get started! Later in this series, we’ll talk about how to put a plan in place and how to optimize your strategy.
In the meantime, make sure that you have a good foundation for your content strategy by creating brand guidelines. Download our free brand guidelines template to get started now!