Content Marketing for Financial Services
Content Marketing for Financial Services
Updated Jul 26, 2022
The financial services industry is built on relationships, which means you’re always working to earn trust and prove your value to customers. Content marketing for financial services is a powerful way to build that trust and earn loyalty over time.
Events like the Great Recession and the pandemic have made trust more difficult to attain. A 2022 survey by Morning Consult found that consumers hold their financial service providers to higher standards regarding trust, honesty and data privacy. Of all industries, respondents were most likely to end a relationship with a financial institution over broken trust.
Respondents also ranked financial services second only to health care as the industry where trust, honesty and data privacy were most vital. These high standards are both a challenge and an opportunity for financial institutions to build relationships, position themselves as a trusted voice and grow their business.
Learn how to create quality content marketing for financial services that speaks to your buyers’ pain points. Find success by using original research to produce thought leadership content, creating a distinct brand voice and empowering employees to share your message on social media — all while staying on the right side of regulatory compliance.
Why Is Thought Leadership in Financial Services Important?
Financial services brands that provide high-quality, helpful information to prospects and customers can build their reputations at scale. Thought leadership is one of the most powerful ways to be a trusted resource on the complex and important decisions your buyer is facing.
The shift to digital information consumption creates even more opportunities to connect with customers and prospects personally and grow awareness of products and services. Your target audience wants on-demand access to expertise on everything from industry trends to why one financial route is better than another.
And even after they become customers, they’ll be receptive to even more tailored content that can lead them to additional products and services.
Developing a Financial Services Content Marketing Strategy
Define Your Unique Voice
The first step is to decide what your brand voice is — and what it isn’t. Your brand voice is a reflection of your brand’s personality. For financial services firms, that usually means erring on the side of caution with relatively formal brand voices. But you don’t have to be stuffy if that’s not your brand.
Your organization’s mission statement and values are a good starting point for teasing out your content’s voice. What is important to your brand? What does your brand stand for and value? How do you better connect with your ideal customers?
Financial services organizations generally do a great job – better than most industries – of codifying the visual elements of their brands. Make sure that the same care and attention to detail are applied to your content marketing.
Audit Your Existing Content
After you’ve put some thought into your voice and tone, you may find it helpful to audit your existing content.
Brace yourself to uncover a shocking level of inconsistency, particularly if you work in a larger organization. In brands without a centralized content marketing function, your subject matter experts are probably producing and distributing more content on their own than you realize. And while the visual branding is likely compliant, there’s a good chance the tone and voice aren’t consistent across every piece of content.
All of your content should reflect your brand voice. If it doesn’t, it’s time to review your brand voice guidelines with your team and conduct some training sessions with your SMEs.
Use Original Research to Create Content
Research is a tried-and-true sales tool for banks. Financial institutions frequently publish research on companies, industries, countries or assets for paying clients. The same information is often distributed in a simpler form to the media via press releases.
Original research showcases your financial institution’s expertise. A good content strategy can transform that type of content into assets for a public-facing campaign that builds brand awareness, nurtures leads and closes deals.
You might not share the entire proprietary research report, but you can create a range of content — blog posts, infographics, podcasts, pitches to financial journalists, etc. — based on the insights within. Search engines love this kind of authoritative content.
While financial institutions can also succeed by offering market commentary, backing up these critical arguments with industry research or surveys adds credibility— if the research is relevant, timely and issues-driven.
Share Your Ideas
Your employees can be a powerful amplifier for your thought leadership.
Consider creating an employee advocacy program to help employees share your company’s thought leadership, amplify messaging and tell their stories of what it’s like to work for your organization. Such programs can increase employee engagement and retention while amplifying your reach on social media.
Employees can’t be expected to do this all on their own, and some might be unsure what to say or what they’re allowed to say. That’s why you need an internal communications plan that keeps everyone informed about the content you’re publishing and shows them how they can contribute.
Your firm can give employees room to express themselves in their own voice while ensuring that everyone upholds the brand and reputation and stays in line with compliance.
Examples of Great Financial Services Thought Leadership
Aon’s Financial Wellness Information Center, in partnership with Voya, is designed for employees to learn more about the Aon PEP, or pooled employer plan, as well as various investment situations and overall financial wellness. Plan participants can access curated information from Aon and Voya Learn by watching featured videos, reading articles and signing up for on-demand webinars. This collaborative effort educates people about the Aon PEP and Voya’s offerings while sharing free financial guidance based on demographics and life stages.
Morgan Stanley’s Exceptional Leaders/Exceptional Ideas video series features the firm’s equity analysts discussing broad foundational issues with business leaders at global companies such as Microsoft, Moderna and Verizon. Each video interview runs for about 15 minutes and is connected with a short blog post.
Life and Money by Citi is a brand magazine that focuses on advising about money, culture, travel and well-being while also linking to Citi’s products and services. For example, “How Sustainability Is Changing Business” discusses the double bottom line’s impact on investors and consumers, tying the discussion to a double-bottom-line investment made by the Citi Impact Fund.
Deutsche Bank taps into the power of podcasting to connect with its customers. Podzept discusses current issues driving economics and finance, providing a platform for Deutsche analysts to share their findings with clients and the world. Behind the Headlines features in-depth conversations between Jim Reid, global head of fundamental credit strategy and thematic research, with decision-makers from various industries worldwide.
State Street Corp.
State Street’s thought leadership pieces aren’t limited to market watches and industry insights. For example, The Importance of Getting T+1 Right addresses the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent proposal to accelerate the settlement process. The article explains what’s at stake, the current movement on the issue and what happens next. It also links to related content, topics and a PDF copy of the article to accommodate different readers’ preferences for consuming and sharing content.
PIMCO’s Economic and Market Commentary is regularly updated with expert observations on asset allocation, investments, global markets and more. It’s easily searchable by topic area, expert and relevancy — which can be more helpful than websites organized only in reverse-chronological order.
Putnam Investments offers traditional perspectives such as blog posts and white papers, but it also makes conceptual topics personal for clients through interactive experiences. For example, its Time Not Timing infographic demonstrates how, historically, some of the market’s best days occur shortly after bad days while encouraging users to test their own investment numbers and then directing them to deeper educational resources.
SoFi’s thought leadership arm — called SoFi Learn — is organized by topic and life stage. This topical organization is handy if users seek information about debt consolidation or credit, for instance. The life-stage organization creates curated content for groups of users ranging from high school graduates to retirees. For example, the high school graduate section features information about student loans, while the young professional section highlights articles about compensation and career moves.
Betterment for Advisors
Betterment’s extensive resource library for advisers features Case Study Q&As with industry leaders about current announcements from their firms, influences from the market and advice for advisors. Each article ties into Betterment’s products and services while allowing advisers from all firms a window into the thought process of leaders from some of the best investment organizations worldwide.
Kabbage Customer Stories highlights real customers — their faces, businesses and experiences with Kabbage’s services — front and center as part of their content marketing strategy. Each article features a different customer story and how they benefit from using Kabbage’s services, emphasizing the difference the company is making in the lives of its customers.
The Future of Thought Leadership in Financial Services
The financial services industry is built on relationships and trust, and content marketing provides a path to strengthen those connections at scale.
In many ways, financial services were the earliest adopters of the principles of content marketing – investing in high-value content to help your customers make better decisions. What’s changed is the volume of content required to keep pace and the sheer variety of available digital channels for distribution and promotion.
As we move into a world driven by demand for robo-advisors and other digital decision-making support, it will only become more critical that financial services brands invest time and attention in developing their content strategy.
Thought Leaders Are Market Leaders.
Ready to see how content marketing can drive growth for your financial services or fintech firm? Schedule a brief consultation and learn how our framework can help you:
- Develop your reputation for thought leadership.
- Fuel your account-based marketing and demand gen with differentiated content.
- Strengthen your employer branding by telling the stories of the people who power your company.