- Being timely and relevant matters. Brands that made COVID-focused content at the start of the pandemic earned better engagement.
- Articles aren’t enough. Using other formats and podcasts can allow your brand to be creative in other ways and boost engagement.
- Mind the tone. Conversational content is less suited to financial services audiences. They want in-depth advice.
Financial services marketing managers are achieving better conversion rates with journalistic content creation and expert-led thought leadership, according to a report by Contently.
For the State of Finance Content 2021, the content marketing services company analyzed content performance at 26 of the largest financial services companies in the world. Here are three of the most interesting findings from the report.
1. Financial Services Businesses Need to Embed Newsy Capabilities in Content Marketing Programs
Last year, Contently client MD Financial Management was putting the finishing touches on its Q2 2020 marketing plan. Then the pandemic hit.
The company responded with a content hub that had 49 new pieces of content and a podcast about how their clients could deal with the financial effects of the pandemic. MD Financial Management’s audience doubled. Content created by financial services copywriters for the hub helped the brand boost conversions to product pages by 300 percent.
Newsy content was also a winner for other brands, such as this 2021 outlook on global GDP and economic recovery from Morgan Stanley. Almost all of Morgan Stanley’s recent content contained a news hook and averaged about 1,330 social shares each, according to Contently.
Yet many finserv companies are ignoring news. Only 22 out of the 780 stories Contently analyzed were classified as news content. Many companies produce content that focuses instead on general financial advice. Newsy content just might be low-hanging fruit, if you’re looking for financial services and fintech content ideas.
Content about emerging financial issues is also paying off for fintech marketing managers, according to the report. Educational posts from cryptocurrency brands like Binance averaged about 10,073 social shares. Competition has so far been low for cryptocurrency. Because many financial service brands are churning out personal finance content, according to the report.
The results suggest financial services brands shouldn’t overlook newsy content for evergreen content. Do both.
2. Finserv Marketing Managers Should Add Podcasts and Video to the Thought Leadership Content Mix
Formats matter too. Podcasts and video content have emerged as some of the best vehicles for thought leadership in finance. The Contently report notes multimedia content can deliver a more personal experience than text-based thought leadership because audiences can hear your expert’s voice or see the face of your guests on the episode.
Morgan Stanley’s Thoughts on the Market was the top-performing financial services podcast, with 25,473 social shares. That’s 100 times the average in Contently’s study. The podcast has a three-to-four minute runtime, with a rotating cast of hosts composed of experts with varying specialties. This lets Morgan Stanley explain financial topics with authority.
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3. Avoid The Conversational Tone When Publishing Educational Content Based on Financial Expertise
Here’s another interesting finding from the report. Finance content should have a tone that is clear and assertive like a trusted authority figure.
Contently gave a score to financial services content for voice and tone. The top-performing pieces were less likely to have an agreeable tone. They were assertive and direct about what audiences should do.
For example, Binance’s A Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency is easy to read for newcomers. But it doesn’t sugarcoat details and clearly recommends follow-up resources for readers to look into before jumping into crypto trading.
Many content creators shy away from an authoritative voice in a conversational tone, according to Contently. Yes, conversational content can be effective in other industries and parts of B2C finance marketing. But the report suggests it can also lead to bland stories lacking in-depth advice. Marketing managers who want to engage freelance financial services copywriters and fintech content writers should be sure their portfolio has samples with an authoritative tone.
Don’t Forget to Make Your Financial Services Content Easy to Find Across Your Site and Social Media Page
User experience (UX) is important too. This is why the Contently report suggests marketers and designers should distribute content front and center on your website homepage and social media channels to better reach your audience.
Look at Chase’s homepage above, for instance. It dedicates a big part of its homepage to 12 pieces of educational banking content, tips, and personal finance thought leadership. Follow Chase’s approach and use your business’s main site to surface your best content, rather than solely prioritizing product and service descriptions. Yes, product marketing is clearly important — but brands that make it hard to find content miss a key opportunity to educate audiences.
What It All Means for Finserv Content Strategists
Contently’s report is timely. A majority of millennials report feeling anxious about their finances, with people from other generations turning to risky investments they barely understand. This is why fintech and financial services content marketing leaders need to redouble efforts to produce content that helps people become savvier with their money. Yes, it’s an opportunity — but it’s a responsibility too.