Regularly-produced content, whether investor-facing or otherwise, is a must-have for financial firms of any size, and for good reason: your public-facing content is a golden opportunity to demonstrate your authority on your area of expertise, and to communicate your company’s personality and brand to prospective clients. By giving readers something of quality to sink their teeth into, you’ll be delivering value and building trust, essential components for the beginning of a business relationship. As we’ll discuss in the following article, it’s important not to go into a content generation initiative blind: planning is of the essence. So what follows are five essential questions you and your team should ponder as you craft your content marketing plan.
Who are we writing for?
As we’ve written about in previous blogs, identifying your target audience is an absolutely critical, foundational step in the timeline of any content project, whether it’s a lengthy white paper or a simple tweet. Thinking seriously about who will be on the receiving end of your content allows you to delve deeper into their hopes and fears, their goals and outlook, all of which will enable you to tailor your piece more effectively.
What are we going to write about?
The broad answer to this question should be “something about which we are an authority, which demonstrates our expertise in our area of business.” The specifics of this question are necessarily going to depend upon the goals of your particular content initiative. For example, if your goal is to get more warm leads that you can reach out to, then perhaps your content strategy should be built around writing short “teaser” articles that provide a short preview of longer, downloadable white papers; website visitors provide their email addresses and receive the pdf.
When are we going to produce this content?
It’s best not to attack your content generation strategy ad-hoc on a week-by-week basis, because more pressing, urgent priorities will have a tendency to crowd it out. So, the first step when devising a content strategy is to create a content calendar, which will provide you with a bird’s eye view of what content you will produce and when. Laying out your content calendar will also give you the opportunity to further brainstorm on the different topics that you think may be relevant to your ideal customers, and in what order you’d like to address them. Another important aspect of your content calendar to consider is frequency—how often should you be posting your content? There’s no single correct answer to this, but you’ll want to be realistic about the bandwidth of your team, as well as the amount of time different team members will have to devote to your blogging initiative.
How complex and involved will our content be?
Another important question to ask is depth of the piece in question: will you be producing lengthy, meticulously-researched opuses on your area of expertise? Will these be lighter opinion pieces, featuring your takes on current events? Or are these lighter, teaser-type blogs whose goal is merely to entice a potential client to reach out for more information? All of these aspects are crucial to keep in mind as you craft your content calendar, as the complexity of writing pieces will dictate the time and resources necessary to produce it.
Who is going to produce our content?
The trouble with content generation strategies is that, while most marketing professionals agree that they are important, their value is difficult to measure and tends to accrete over time, as you establish authority and a readership. Because of this, when push comes to shove and your company is busy with other priorities, it can sometimes be tough to justify allocating valuable employee time and resources to writing blogs, for example. If you are having trouble maintaining consistency in your content initiatives, then you might want to consider hiring an outside firm, whose sole mandate is to help with content generation. This way, you can focus on your core business while continuing to reap the rewards of thought leadership.
By answering these five questions, your firm will be well on its way to implementing an effective, consistent content marketing plan, and reaping its rewards in the form of engaged, interested new customers.