Content marketing has two aspects:
And if not executed properly, it can be a waste of two things:
Think of content as the bait and marketing as the hook. You can’t fish successfully without both pieces of the puzzle. You’ll either be left aimlessly throwing worms in the water or waiting for a bite on your empty hook. It’s common to see advisors put so much effort into content, but forget about the marketing part. They’re feeding the fish, but not catching anything. To complete the content marketing strategy circle of life, you have to capture the attention of leads and then reel them in. A lead magnet – such as an ebook or fact sheet – comes into play here. If you offer your readers something enticing enough that they willingly give you their email address, you’re on the right track. To go deeper, content and marketing can both be optimized to ensure you’re not wasting your resources, your time, or the time of those hungry prospects looking for the right information.
Content is the first piece of the equation, not just because it comes first in the phrase “content marketing,” but also because you need good content for your marketing to work. Content fits into two obvious and distinguishable groups:
- Good content
- Bad content
That might seem oversimplified, but those two categories represent an increasingly important dichotomy as we now live in the age of content – everyone has a blog, so yours better be one of the good ones.
What is Good Content?
Why, what an excellent question! Good content falls into three categories:
This one pretty much describes itself, but we see a lot of advisors who don’t add educational pieces to their content. They assume their readers know every nook and cranny about the financial world as they do. Or we see advisors who are worried about over-educating or accidentally revealing their company secrets to their competitors. However, this is not something to be apprehensive about. If another company adopts your process or philosophy for their own, that’s okay because you can still do it better than them. If a prospect thinks they’ve found everything they need to know about finances from an article, that’s okay – that prospect was probably never going to hire a financial advisor in the first place. With educational content, you can position it as though it were an employee handbook for your business. Tell your readers how to do your job.
Engaging content can be hard to come by in the financial world, largely due to the nature of the business. For example, testimonials are usually great sources of engaging content because people love to read other people’s thoughts and reviews. Of course, those aren’t an option if you want to stay in the good graces of the SEC. But content can still be fun for advisors. Think illustrations – either written or visual. Make use of metaphors, comparisons and even drawings.
The forgotten of the three E’s, many advisors forget to incorporate the enlightening aspect into their content pieces. Your enlightening element is the reason consumers should read your article on succession planning, not someone else’s. This element might be a helpful way you explain a difficult term or maybe the way you come up with a solution to a recurring problem. Either way, this factor is a must-have for putting out good content.
What is Bad Content?
Bad content can be summed up in one word: vague. That’s the number one culprit behind bad content in the financial industry. The difference between an article on advertising that answers your questions and one that leaves you with more questions is that it doesn’t give you any practical tips. Advisors often write vague content in hopes that prospects will contact them to have their questions answered. In short, this strategy does not work. In reality, consumers see right through this and are usually turned off after they waste their time reading a blog or downloading a guide that ultimately says nothing. Pro tip: Bad content can also mean sloppy writing and bad editing. Always have someone review your content before sending it out into the world. At Carson Group, our content team is available to edit any and all blogs written by our Partner firms. Most offices have someone who fulfills the role of “grammar police” – have that person look over your articles before hitting “Publish.” They’ll love it! And you should have Grammarly on your computer. It just makes everything easier. If you’re struggling with what good content looks like, one of my favorite sources of inspiration is the Content Marketing Institute. Their blog is full of helpful ideas and examples to help get you moving.
Finally, we come to marketing. We saved marketing for the end because ultimately it is about turning strangers into leads. It’s always nice to give readers free information, but that doesn’t pay the bills. You need their information, too, to help build your list of leads. And you will need more than just blogs to accomplish this. Lead magnets are the bait you need to get prospects’ information and build your list. Lead magnets can be:
- Fact sheet
Related Content: The 10 Best Lead Magnets for Advisors, Ranked Lead magnets can take dozens of forms, and it’s up to you to choose what works best for each blog, but you will need one to accompany your content if you hope to turn readers into prospects. So polish your content, then re-examine your marketing and ensure it’s up to your high standards and the best of your abilities. Because if they’re not, they are certainly wasting your:
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