So, what is content marketing exactly?
Content marketing is, defined by the Content Marketing Institute:
a strategic marketing approach on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.1
This means that you are creating content—guides, blogs, infographics—that is thought-provoking and targeting towards a certain group you wish to attract and retain. For example, if your clients are 55+ and are focused on creating a retirement income strategy that lasts longer than they do, you would create content about cutting down medical expenses, tax-efficient strategies, creating an estate plan, and cutting down medical expenses, for the ultimate goal of saving money that lasts longer than they do—something to emphasize in everything.
Regardless of what strategy you use for marketing, content should be part of your process, since it is part of all forms of marketing. From social media to search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing, content is part of every step of the process. Sticking with the prior example, that specific targeted group would want to see blogs, supplemental materials, seminars and guides on any number of those subjects.
Specifically, let’s say you publish a blog post to your website. Awesome! Now you need to target that group to get to your website and see your thoughts. So, you email your clients and prospects and urge them to go and read that blog post, with a call-to-action to reach out for more questions. You also post it to your Facebook company page, asking a question, curating a discussion and engagement. You boost that post to reach your target audience past your followers. You post it on LinkedIn, Google+ and even Twitter. You used your SEO strategy to integrate ranking keyword phrases about that topic.
It all meshes and morphs together. This is your content strategy.
Content marketing is becoming more and more important because of consumers’ changing interests from product-focused to brand-focused. Consumers want to know your story—they not only want to know about the products and services you offer, but the story behind the business, why you do what you do. Creating content that tells your story and established your brand, such as guides, infographics and blogs, can be the determining factor between you and your competitor. Almost 81 percent of consumers conduct online research before they buy a product, and they visit at least three different sources before making a decision.2
So, when an organic lead stumbles upon your website when conducting research related to your business, they may be asking themselves:
- Does this business offer the services I need?
- Does this business have resources and information available on hand?
- Do they seem trust-worthy?
These are only a few of the first questions that run through a potential client’s mind when they are in the “research” stage. If your business passes their list of standards, you are going to stand out and potentially convert an organic lead. Before that happens though, you need to make sure your Content Strategy is on par to meeting those needs and providing information to consumers.
But why is it important?
This question has a three-fold answer:
It matters first and foremost to your consumers. People these days, more than ever, turn to the internet to research a subject to form an opinion and make a decision. A Roper Survey of business decision makers found that 80% of surveyors prefer to get their information about a purchase from articles instead of advertising.1 Think about it. Before you buy a car, you look online to see what brand and model you want, gas mileage, four-door versus two-door, pickup truck or SUV, and most importantly, reviews.
Multiple bad reviews can make that car’s image deteriorate in the consumers mind, making it seem unreliable or a bad buy. On the flip side, positive reviews and features that align with the needs of the consumer, make that car ideal. In short, consumers want good content to help them make informed decisions.
How do the consumers get to the research though? The easiest way is through search engines. Search engines like Google constantly update their algorithms of determining reliable resources, and providing the most relevant information regarding their search. Google looks for quality—up-to-date content, publishing fresh articles, updating existing content will help maintain a strong showing on the results page and entice people to keep coming back to your site for further information.
Finally, it matters to your business as a whole because it showcases your subject-matter expertise. You can be a salesman at any time of day, but to truly know a subject thoroughly, and be able to speak to your potential clients about it in a way they understand, is imperative to identifying with them. When you connect with a client, you know they will come back to you for further education, so why wouldn’t you do that through the information and content you provide?
Does it really apply to financial professionals?
Of course! This is one of the best ways to prove your expertise and enthusiasm for the business and products you are selling. Subjects like annuities, life insurance or general financial planning can be vast and incredibly confusing to those who do not know much about it in the first place. That’s where your relevant, updated content comes into place. When your potential clients search in Google, “what are annuities,” your website could rank for the key phrase, if you have explained it thoroughly. Of course, it isn’t quite that simple in the algorithm, but you get the idea.
There isn’t a silver-bullet solution that works for all companies. It will take consistency and trial-and-error to perfect what your ideal prospects want and the ways to provide that to them. If you have any questions, talk to your sales representative about your current strategy and how you can optimize it.
FOR PRODUCER USE ONLY. NOT FOR USE WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC. 13518 – 2017/09/26