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Trends + Trendsetters THE BEST IN FINANCIAL SERVICES CONTENT MARKETING
NewsCred Trends + Trendsetters NewsCred’s Strategy Team helps brands build and hone their content strategies, taking into consideration marketing goals, brand positioning and the competitive landscape. Our “Trends + Trendsetters” guides aim to educate marketers on trends, opportunities and content strategies that best-in-class brands are utilizing to engage their audiences. In this guide, we’ll take a look at content marketing in the ﬁnancial services industry. Interested in learning more? We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. - Caitlin Domke, Director of Brand Strategy, NewsCred
Issues with trust and loyalty are pervasive across the ﬁnancial services industry.
Levels of Consumer Trust in US Financial Institutions Consumers Trust in Financial Institutions Great deal of trust Some trust Very little trust No trust at all Credit Union 37% 40% 7% 5% Community Bank 29% 47% 11% 4% Regional Bank 19% 51% 14% 7% National Bank 13% 48% 20% 10% Online Bank 7% 32% 27% 20% Source: Harris Poll, 2014
NewsCred set out to ﬁnd if content can help ﬁnancial services companies gain the trust of consumers.
NewsCred conducted a survey among 1,001 adults with Redshift Research in August 2014. The sample was selected from Redshift’s Crowdology and Crowdology partner panels, which are balanced across regional, age, and gender demographic factors. Each respondent completed 120 proﬁling questions before being accepted to join the panel. Panel quality management is carried out frequently to ensure reliable surveys.
55% of respondents said that they trust a bank more when it oﬀers them helpful, useful content. Source: NewsCred/Redshift Research study, 2014
50% would likely stay loyal to a bank that provided high quality content. Source: NewsCred/Redshift Research study, 2014
31% of respondents said they have signed up for new products and services based on useful content from their bank. Source: NewsCred/Redshift Research study, 2014
What does high-quality content look like for ﬁnancial services brands?
Content should be interesting and helpful
More than a 1/3 of respondents said they would spend longer on their bank’s website if they provided interesting articles. Source: NewsCred/Redshift Research study, 2014
57% of respondents said communication from a bank can help them understand which products are most beneﬁcial. Source: NewsCred/Redshift Research study, 2014
Content should be produced by an un-biased expert
20% 53% Of respondents would trust content written by representatives of their bank Of respondents trust articles on ﬁnance written by journalists who are experts in ﬁnance Source: NewsCred/Redshift Research study, 2014
Content shouldn’t be too sales-oriented
Where and when do people turn for ﬁnancial content from brands?
What current channels do people ﬁnd useful when receiving communications from their bank? 42% 32% 28% think emails sent by their bank are useful of people ﬁnd apps useful of people ﬁnd texts from their bank useful Source: NewsCred/Redshift Research study, 2014
How often are people looking for personal ﬁnance content? AT LEAST ONCE A DAY 7% A COUPLE OF TIMES A WEEK 28% MONTHLY 20% ONLY A FEW TIMES A YEAR 19% ONCE A YEAR OR LESS 8% NEVER 18% Source: NewsCred/Redshift Research study, 2014
Brands Doing It Right
Now let’s look at examples of top content marketers in the ﬁnancial services industry.
American Express Driving Leads through Thought Leadership First Round Capital Bringing together a community of entrepreneurs Prudential Building brand love through intelligent and educational content
OPEN Forum American Express
American Express OPEN Forum Insights and resources dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners “ WE ALREADY HAVE A LARGE PART OF THE PIE, SO OUR BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY IS WITH SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH – IF THEY GROW, WE GROW. ” Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly SVP of Partnership & Business Development
OPENForum.com • • • • • Launched in 2007 Helping small business owners with high-quality content on business advice, trends, and proﬁles Hard pressed to ﬁnd a sales pitch within content Membership fosters a sense of community and personalization of content (+ leads for AMEX!) Facilitates networking events to allow users to connect both online and oﬄine
American Express’s Goals + KPIs: Primary: Lead generation Secondary: Engagement, Time on Site, Return Visits, Social Shares
American Express’s Goals + KPIs: Primary: Lead generation Secondary: Engagement, Time on Site, Return Visits, Social Shares OPEN Forum is the #1 source for new OPEN cardholders
Clear mission statement as soon as you arrive at the site
Content Pillars are clear, direct, and compelling “Getting Customers” (speciﬁc) vs. “Business Tips” (generic)
Sub-topics: Planning for Growth
Sub-topics: Managing Money
Sub-topics: Getting Customers
Sub-topics: Building Your Team
OPEN Voice = AMEX speciﬁc content SPARINGLY SCATTERED THROUGHOUT SUB-SECTIONS OF SITE
Some content is for members only, encouraging readers to sign up
Signing Up Reasons to join (concise) Quick LinkedIn sign up option (also gathering data) Minimal links driving AWAY from this page
Pre-populated Social Share Option
Gated Content (members only)
Community 200K MEMBERS
Distribution Strategy • • • • • • Newsletter distribution Very little paid distribution (some paid social) Work with inﬂuencers to garner earned media Mostly social Twitter: @OpenForum (201K followers) Facebook: American Express OPEN (365K likes)
Weekly email updates to members
Emails with information on the OPEN card • • Product messaging is used sparingly and intentionally to align with product developments, announcements and enhancements Sent to members no more than once a month
Social Strategy + Tips for Highly-Regulated Industry • • • • Real time tweets are nearly impossible All tweets go through legal team, PR team and compliance team Predict what conversations are going to happen and pre-populate tweets so they can be approved Have a system in place where OPEN Forum has to quickly respond (has an “emergency team” in place”)
Advice from OPEN team • Re-engagement is key. Figuring out how to get people to come back is most important. OPEN Forum gets a lot of ﬁrst time visitors but works to drive up return visits. • Show the value of what you are producing. Tie it back to business goals and give them a reason to think this is essential. • Nail down who your target is. You can't be everything to everyone, so try to be as speciﬁc as possible.
Takeaways • Clear, actionable content pillars that are at once clear for the reader and aligned with American Express business goals • Products/services integrated in a thoughtful way • Clear distribution + social plan • Focus on its speciﬁc audience
The Review FIRST ROUND CAPITAL
“ First Round has an opportunity: to create an entirely new kind of online publication, built for technology entrepreneurs, where they can learn how to build better companies. And they can learn directly from the people actually doing it. Much of this knowledge is still stuck inside the heads of the Valley’s best operators, product managers, engineers, and marketers. Our goal with First Round Review is to curate this knowledge to make great things happen. ” JOSH KOPELMAN Partner, First Round Capital
First Round Review High-quality, actionable content that helps entrepreneurs with challenges that arise while building a startup.
FIRST ROUND CAPITAL BRAND PURPOSE Building the strongest generation of entrepreneurs BRAND PURPOSE Content Marketing WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT
FIRST ROUND CAPITAL BRAND PURPOSE TARGET AUDIENCE: ENTREPRENEURS Building the strongest generation of entrepreneurs Audience Analysis: Seeking help and inside advice on building their business – from everything from hiring to company culture BRAND PURPOSE Content Marketing WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT
FIRST ROUND CAPITAL BRAND PURPOSE TARGET AUDIENCE: ENTREPRENEURS Building the strongest generation of entrepreneurs Audience Analysis: Seeking help and inside advice on building their business – from everything from hiring to company culture BRAND PURPOSE Content Marketing WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT The Review: High-quality, actionable content that helps entrepreneurs with challenges that arise while building a startup.
The Review: Goals + KPIs • Primary: Time on Site + Repeat Visitors • Secondary: Page Views, Social Shares, and the # of Subscribers
The Review: Content Pillars (“Magazines”) Developed with consideration of two items: • Paid attention to consumer behavior • Took a survey of existing site content and mapped to categories
Tags indicate content pillars
Featured prominently on homepage of First Round Capital
Content Cadence & Format 1 Publish twice a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays • Selected these days after testing/paying attention to when their readers were most engaged with the content 2 Mostly long-form articles • On average stories are 3,000 words each • They found that when they started producing longer-form articles they saw an uptick in engagement 3 Concentrate on actionable insights • Makes sure each piece includes actionable insights for their audience • Stresses quality over quantity
First Round Capital’s inﬂuencer strategy 1 Feature inﬂuencers within their content, encouraging them to share the content 2 Pay attention to inﬂuencers who are engaging with their content, and then show them some love back
Compelling Imagery • Images are fresh and authentic. No bad stock photos here. • They add context to the content. Photos aren’t just there for the sake of being there. • Beautiful portraits bring to life the interview subjects.
Optimizing for Conversions • They experiment with different tactics to see what’s working • They think about the customer journey – FRC places the subscribe “ask” at diﬀerent parts of the page to reach readers when they’re ready (i.e. halfway through an article, also at end) • Experimenting with pop-ups. Trying to ﬁnd a balance between bothering readers with interruption and engaging them.
Clear CTA at the top of every page
As well as half-way through the article
…And at the end of the article/ bottom of the page
Distribution Strategy • No paid distribution or social – all organic • Newsletter is key pillar to distribution strategy • Utilize the company Twitter and Facebook -- not a speciﬁc “Review” handle
Social Media Tips from First Round Capital • “I cannot overemphasize how important it is to remarket your content” – Camille Ricketts, Head of Content & Marketing, First Round Capital • One “hack:” Take diﬀerent quotes from within one piece of content and share that as the Tweet/Facebook post. • Utilize the “curiosity gap” in both Tweets and headline writing • Give your audience enough information to understand the topic, but leave them wanting more. (“This is the way to be successful at X” This is how to do Y”) • Utilize good social media etiquette/practice. • Tag people/brands • Use images as much as possible • Engage with followers
Learnings from the Review team Three sample content wins – and the recipe for success for each: 1 Interview with Stewart Butterﬁeld, entrepreneur – shared over 15,000 times • Recipe for success: Take a person who is extremely magnetic; pay attention to what the industry is talking about; deliver a story that gives readers a “behind-the-scenes” look 2 Interview with Caryn Marooney, head of technology communications at Facebook – shared over 5,000 times • Recipe for success: Think about a common pain point your audience has. Find someone to answer that question. 3 A piece on productivity – shared over 10,000 times • Recipe for success: Take a popular topic and aggregate advice from many diﬀerent people
Takeaways • FRC puts the customer at the center of their strategy • Content pillars are clear and related to their customer • Imagery is compelling, puts the content in context, and is authentic • Social media is utilized in smart ways to increase engagement • Understand the value of testing every aspect of its content marketing – cadence, CTAs, website design, and more
Bring Your Challenges Prudential
“ For Prudential retirement, content is critical to our mission. For us, it’s about taking a very complicated product and service suite and being able to distill it with content that relates and connects to audiences so they build an engagement with us. We’re creating content that is simple, accessible, and relatable for the individuals we’re trying to help save for retirement. ” KARA SEGRETO CMO, Prudential Retirement
Bring Your Challenges Fun, informative, approachable advice for consumers on how to approach retirement “ LEADING EXPERTS BREAK DOWN THE ISSUES AND CHALLENGE US TO THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT THE FUTURE. ”
Goals for Prudential’s Content Marketing • • • Reach and engage a wider audience to beneﬁt brand awareness Help establish thought leadership Create new business relationships MEASURING: • Traﬃc: page views, unique visitors, bounce rate, time spent • Source: referring sites, visitor demographics, inbound search keywords Source: Prudential Content and Social Marketing Strategy slideshare, Phantom Power Marketing
Content pillars are from the 1st person perspective of the consumer.
Bring Your Challenges utilizes a mix of content formats to keep the experience fresh and engaging.
Licensed content from top ﬁnancial publications populates the “News” section, allowing readers to gain insight from trusted sources without leaving the Prudential microsite
Editorial bios demonstrate authority on subject matter
Takeaways • Prudential understands that content marketing is all about showcasing your brand purpose – not your products • Thinks outside the box when it comes to content formats • Turns dry topic into compelling content through multi-media • Utilizes licensed content from top publishers to demonstrate unbiased expertise • Includes editorial bios to showcase authority of subject experts and gain trust of reader
Want to learn more? Our team of strategists can help your brand build a marketing growth engine. From ongoing support and program management, to customized strategy sessions and workshops, we’ll set your brand up for success.
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