HOW TO CREATE GREAT FINTECH CONTENT, EARN AUDIENCE TRUST & ATTRACT BUYERS
INTRODUCTION: FINTECH CONTENT FRONTIERS
Well-funded fintech players are competing against each other to meet rising demand for fintech products and services.
So how can B2B fintech marketers help their companies stand out from the crowd?
The quick answer is through high-level thought leadership. Through great content.
However, not all fintech companies are capable of developing effective thought leadership during high-growth periods.
This guide is here to help you with this, by providing valuable tips to help B2B fintech marketing leaders like you create an edge for your company through better content.
WHY YOUR FINTECH NEEDS THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
How your B2B fintech thinks and how you communicate your thinking is now just as important as the products and services you develop.
The 2021 LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report is a good starting point for understanding why quality thought leadership is becoming more important. The report shows:
- 55 percent of buyers will move on if content bores them in the first minute.
- 80 percent of decision-makers want thought leadership that includes third-party data from trusted sources — not just insights from within your company.
- 77 percent are interested in hearing from experts on specialized topics instead of senior executives talking about high-level business issues.
Here’s the takeaway for fintechs.
Produce content like reporters and columnists. Not salespeople and business development executives.
The best thought leadership is forged through experience. A 2020 study, titled Profiting From Thought Leadership, found the longer a company has been writing and publishing thought leadership, the more likely it is to be better at it than other companies. The most effective thought leadership marketers have an average of 7.6 years of experience, which is around 70 percent longer on average than the least effective thought leadership marketers.
In 2020, the average budget of companies that excel at thought leadership content was 6.5 percent of annual revenue, covering research, marketing events, and editorial resources. And companies that excel at though leadership earn the following rewards:
- They get more requests for proposals (RFPs)
- They win more in business
- They have a greater ability to cross-sell.
The most effective marketers said thought leadership content gave them a price premium of almost 15 percent, according to Profiting From Thought Leadership.
STARTER KIT FOR FINTECH THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
So where do you begin with thought leadership? Let’s take a look.
Find Out What Your Audience Wants
Fintech is complex. Content geared towards chief financial officers, bank chief technology officers, and ecommerce leaders will obviously differ from content meant for the average fintech consumer. This is why it’s important you conduct research on your target audience.
You can look into several factors, such as the following:
- Their breadth of understanding about the topic
- Their short- and long-term business goals
- Their content preferences (do they value text, audio, or video content?)
- Their internal and external stakeholders
- Their preference for data
- Their go-to experts and research sources
Understanding how your audience thinks makes it easier to deliver a content strategy and ensure engagement is maximized.
Find Unique Angles for Topics
Create practical content buyers can use. Fintech, fortunately, has no shortage of talking points. For example, the rising usage of alternative payment methods is a phenomenon that is reshaping e-commerce and B2B purchasing.
When you decide to create content tackling industry issues and buyer interests, make sure to support your piece with rigorous research. Whenever possible, statements should be backed by statistics and quotations from reputable experts. This lets readers know your organization has a depth of knowledge and respect for the subject matter and audience.
Resist Blatant Selling
Thought leadership is a long game. In truth, releasing articles, reports, and whitepapers will not contribute to email sign-ups, website traffic, media mentions, backlinks, or customer relationships right away. But don’t get disheartened by that. Your goal with thought leadership is to earn attention, interest and influence — not chase instant conversion.
Tap Into Keywords Wisely
Try starting out with a few key seed topics then plugging them into Google to see the autocomplete suggestions and recommended searches. Do not be a slave to SEO. Some of the best thought leadership issues might have low search volumes. But content with the right keywords will be better picked up by Google’s algorithm, diverting a greater amount of traffic to your content and in turn, your company.
JUST DO IT: NIKE'S LESSON IN STORYTELLING
Stories tug at an audience’s feelings.
Take a look at Nike’s recent “Play New” campaign: the company covered stories that range from bedtime procrastination to athletes and menstruation. Nike did this not because it just likes telling stories, but because it knows stories will sell more trainers than telling customers how they make their shoes.
In B2B fintech, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that you are selling your products to other people, not just a large bank or another fintech. People buy from people.
This means stories with people like your existing customers and partners can be a rich seam to mine. Talk to your customers, trusted experts, and partners and you will inevitably find interesting stories. Interview them. Feature them in your stories. Make the whole story about people, not your product.
While chasing after keywords is important, building lasting emotional connections with your target audience is just as crucial. Here’s how to use emotion in your B2B fintech storytelling:
- Find community tales. Find stories within the community that benefits from your service. Help people to see themselves in the story you are telling. Hire a photographer, if possible, to take pictures of your interviewees and include them with the story. That’s far better than stock images.
- Plan your heroes’ journey. Think about drama, tension, and redemption, and consider how they can be used to show the challenges of your stories’ heroes.
- Think of the channels. Your brand’s story will likely be told again and again via different platforms. A story should still look good whether it is being shared via LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
As Nike celebrates the grit and determination of its athletes, leading brands would not be where they are today if they didn’t speak to people’s emotions through stories.
Why should ambitious B2B fintech companies be any different? Great storytelling can change a business from one that has to re-sell its products and services to every customer into a known brand that customers actively seek out.
IS YOUR FINTECH DATA RICH, BUT STORY POOR?
Think about it: internal fintech data is a low-hanging fruit. Your competitors do not have this data, so you have the luxury of spending time on it and presenting it in a compelling way.
When done well, data storytelling can shine a light on and simplify issues. Take accounting software firm Intuit QuickBooks and service delivery company Grab as examples.
The former used data to explain how the COVID-19 pandemic hit American small businesses—and the slow climb of revenues since.
Grab used more than six years of data to reveal how often Singaporeans book overseas travel and the popular destinations they visit. With an interactive site, Grab also lets the audience explore the data for itself.
So why aren’t more fintechs publishing data stories in this way? Usually it’s because of the company’s content culture, which tends to break down into three approaches:
- High-volume publishing. This involves producing lots of surface-level articles, videos, and lead magnets in the hope volume will win the day.
- Keyword-obsessed publishing. Put an overemphasis on rankings and keywords, in an endless race to outguess Google algorithms and outjump your competitors.
- Competitor-led publishing. Mimicking competitors, which creates a “sea of sameness” for audiences who browse content across companies in the same industry.
Yes, B2B fintech companies may still use some data to support their campaigns. But the data is often sourced from overexposed sources such eMarketer or Statista, instead of from in-depth original research.
Three other roadblocks that prevent B2B fintechs from great data-based storytelling:
- Not knowing where to look. This can often be the classic case of not seeing the wood for the trees. Fintechs do not have to engage an external market research company to source interesting data. They find data stories in customer surveys, internal analytics reports, and website and app data.
- Lacking journalistic skills. Fintechs have a lot of data, but overworked marketers do not know how it can be turned into a narrative that will interest wider audiences. This can often result in data lite stories that bore audiences.
- Quick win cultures. Detailed data stories take persistence and patience, and it can be difficult to win support for this in a fast-paced startup or scale-up environment. It is even more difficult if management wants immediate ROI from content marketing.
The effort of data-based story creation can yield a greater impact than other aspects of a content marketing program. Journalists love this kind of clear, quotable information.
Creating data-driven content should not be daunting. Take these tips to get your data storytelling journey started:
- Explore internal data. Look at how customers are using your products and see if usage volume has changed.
- Assess the internal data. Ask yourself if audiences will really care and if they’ve already seen the data that you have. Make sure you are legally and ethically able to publish the data as well.
- Look for angles. Look for patterns, demographic trends, or peaks and troughs in usage. See if the data disproves a commonly-held claim or challenges a widely accepted truth.
- Set story goals. These goals can include media coverage, high domain authority backlinks, subscribers, and lead generation.
- Prioritize. Struck gold? Resist the temptation to fit all data into one story. Set a clear message based on what the data shows.
- Show your methods. Not all data is equal. it is important how it was gathered, how much was gathered, and how it was interpreted. Research rigor and transparency matters.
- Connect the dots. Use striking charts, graphs, or visualizations to bring the most powerful data to life. Look at how you can further explain what data means.
- Think in pictures. Reams of text rarely bring data to life. Use graphs, charts, animations, and interactive features to make data easier for audiences to grasp.
- Make it human. Data is undeniably powerful, but do not forget that audiences ultimately relate to other people. Find the emotional core of the data and look for ways to bring impersonal statistics to life through supporting profiles, interviews, and photography.
Surface-level content won’t show a deep understanding of potential buyers. But data-based storytelling just might.
HOW TO CHOOSE FINTECH COPYWRITERS
Many fintech marketing managers are now leaning heavily on content. But they need reliable fintech copywriters to help them do this. But these writers aren’t always easy to find.
Here are five qualities fintech marketing managers should seek out, when looking for freelance fintech copywriters or in-house content writers.
1. Strong Fintech Copywriting Samples
Check if they have worked with other fintech brands.
- Ask them to send you a portfolio with samples of their copywriting and content marketing writing projects.
- Check if the portfolio shows an understanding of your fintech niche and your target audience.
- Review the portfolio for different content formats that line up with your production needs.
Some copywriters specialize only in case studies or ebooks, whitepapers, or blogs, so be sure you can find examples that match the formats you need.
If you’re looking for a copywriter to help you with thought leadership ghostwriting, then check for earned media articles or past bylines. Writing op-eds and guest posts is its own skill. And writers who have a background in this will be better placed to support you.
2. Knowledge of Your Fintech ‘Subgenre’
Look for a deeper understanding of fintech too. It’s an industry with many different sub-niches, from payments technology, through to spend management, and accounting technology. Do you work in open banking, embedded finance, banking-as-a-service, or payment orchestration? Then look for a writer that is savvy about your area. Generalist writers may be only able to produce introductory content, which can hold little value to potential customers.
3. Knowledge of Content Strategy and Buyers
But sharp writing and industry knowledge are often not enough. You need writers who have marketing skills too. These writers will stand out, because they will be able to guide you on strategies to get the most out of your content marketing program.
4. Professionalism and Problem-Solving
Above all, look for a good fit with you and your colleagues. Whether you’re seeking an in-house writer or a freelance content marketing writer, they need to be able to gel with you. That means:
- They’ll have good communication skills and respond to messages in a timely manner.
- They’ll raise copy and content concerns and make suggestions where needed.
- And they will work well with your peers and customers when doing case study interviews or liaising with your subject matter experts.
Importantly, they’ll know how and when to take initiative when problems arise. That could mean quickly coming up with alternative headlines, introductions, or entire new sections in content — or chasing down important sources for your product or legal team to review.
5. Empathy For Your Audience and Stakeholders
And then there is the copywriter’s fit with your audience.
Writers steeped in B2B fintech may not be as strong with conversational content for consumers. Similarly, a writer who can write casually for a teenage consumer may sound too casual for a straight-shooting senior executive. Empathetic writers will use your audience’s language, instead of talking ‘at’ them.
It also pays for writers to be empathetic towards your internal stakeholders too. They should be able to learn what your company executives, subject matter experts, and marketing colleagues are dealing with.
Finding a Fintech Copywriter You Can Rely On
An initial project will give you the ultimate indication of fit. Look out for these attributes while you’re working together:
- Experienced fintech copywriters will meet deadlines.
- They will manage their workloads and schedules.
- And they will deliver various projects on time and on budget.
- They’ll also know how to handle revisions promptly and professionally.
Yes, it may be costly to engage writers who can really connect with your audience while being easy to work with. But it pays to invest in experience in this wildly competitive industry.
WORKING WELL WITH FINTECH COPYWRITERS
Writing briefs, resolving revisions, and giving feedback can be frustrating parts of the content creation process for both writers and content marketers. But these steps matter a lot because they lead to higher quality of work.
Let’s talk about these processes in detail to help you properly brief your fintech copywriters, provide genuinely useful feedback, and accelerate the content creation process.
1. Give Copywriters a Written Brief
Writers resort to guesswork when they are left in the dark.
A clear brief is like a map that shows writers who they are speaking to, the things their target audience cares about, and how this audience likes to be spoken to. Briefs should contain:
- The topic. What is the content about and why does it matter? Explain what’s in it for the audience and what they will learn from the content.
- Your goal. Do you want your writer to create a B2B thought leadership article, write an educational piece about how customers can solve a common problem, or gather valuable insights from industry experts? Make this clear.
- A word count. This should be an approximate number or a range. Tailor this to the type of content you want your writer to produce.
- A lead reviewer. This is who the writer will send their drafts and revisions to. If you prefer the copy to be written in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, mention that here too.
- Any search keywords. Provide the primary keyword or phrase you want to rank for. Add secondary keywords too, if you have them. Refrain from providing a laundry list of terms because less is more.
- Any internal links: Provide links to your existing articles, product pages, or long-form guides. Two to three internal links are usually enough for a straightforward blog post. Tell your writer that they can also use one of the links as an in-line call-to-action.
- Your customer personas: Provide your potential and existing customers’ age, role, goals, and pain points. it is easier for a writer to get the tone of their content right if they understand your audience.
- Any competitor content: Give writers information about how your competitors have talked about similar topics. It can help writers spot gaps in your competitors’ content and fill these gaps with more interesting, educational, and entertaining content.
- Preferred sources: Give writers links or files of high-quality research sources or mention which sources they should use for their independent research (such as universities, government websites, or trade associations).
You are welcome to use or adapt Genuine’s briefing template, if you don’t have your own.
2. Set Realistic Draft Deadlines
A deadline does more than lend urgency. It sets out ample time for creating quality work and getting content out into the world.
Consider the type of work you want your writer to do. If you require a 1,500-word article, a week should be enough. But a detailed whitepaper that needs extensive research and citations may require two or more weeks.
Ask writers how long it will take for them to complete a type of content if you are unsure. It is worth bearing in mind that most experienced content marketers agree that the longer you give writers to develop content, the better it will be. Quality normally beats quantity.
3. Ask Copywriters for Outlines
At this stage, many marketers will get on with other key projects while they wait on a first draft. But sometimes it can be useful to add a step before this: an outline.
Asking writers to provide outlines before moving onto a first draft can be useful for long-form content. Think articles of 2,000 words or more, fintech whitepapers, or data-based research reports. Outlines can be useful when you need a logical sequence of ideas for an article. They can be especially useful for planning SEO-optimised pieces.
An outline does not necessarily need to be super detailed. Here’s an example:
You do not have to be rigid with outlines either. You can use them as a guide either to speed up the process of writing content in-house or as a way to help writers hit the brief better.
4. Take Charge of Internal Feedback
Once your writer submits their first draft, the next step is to guide them with feedback.
Assign one person to be the lead reviewer who will be in charge of collecting all feedback and relaying it clearly to the writer. This isn’t to say only one person should review the content, but that it is often simpler if writers liaise with a single reviewer. It is fine to have different lead reviewers across different projects.
Stop revisions from becoming a production bottleneck by refining and streamlining your internal process. The clearest way to do this is to document your content marketing processes. You should:
- Set ground rules for deciding who gives feedback and when
- Sort feedback into major themes to avoid nitpicking
- Get one person to source and provide feedback to writers
- Handle legal and compliance reviews internally, where possible.
Having one person communicating with the writer also sets clear expectations on both sides—it prevents writers from becoming confused by internal reviewers’ clashing suggestions and feedback within a copy document.
Once you have a content lead reviewer, make sure they internalize these questions before delivering feedback:
- Where does this draft meet the brief, and where does it not?
- Is the draft factually accurate?
- Is it well-researched?
- Does the tone suit our audience?
- Are sources properly attributed?
- Are names and titles properly attributed?
- Does it use keywords well?
Once you’ve gathered internal feedback, it is time to press on with the revisions.
5. Give Copywriters Clear Feedback
Give copywriters clear directions within the document instead of over email.
Be specific and give as much detail as possible:
- Summarize your feedback in a paragraph or two at the top of the document.
- Mention any big structural issues around the theme, messaging or audience.
- Once you have pointed out the major issues, slowly work down the document to identify smaller issues like misspellings, grammar issues, and punctuation.
Above all, play nice. Take a deep breath before you jump in — and treat writers and reviewers with empathy and respect.
6. Know When to Approve the Content
Everyone expects some back and forth about revisions. But you should still know when to call it a day. Striving for perfectionism can cause projects to be delayed.
Use the previously agreed deadline as your guide. And think of the bigger picture. If the piece captures the core goals of your brief, you can be lenient on minor issues. The point of a piece is to deliver a message your audience will understand, above all else.
7. Share Published Work With Copywriters
Seasoned writers value explanations of why a piece was changed after their final revisions were made. Be thorough in your explanation: let writers know what was removed, added, and/or modified in their piece and expound on why those actions were done. This process will help them understand what they can improve and help you work better together on future projects.
Keep Fintech Content Programs Moving
By following the steps cited in this chapter, you will help your fintech writers avoid the guesswork and head straight to producing high-quality work.
CONTENT AS A FLYWHEEL FOR FINTECH GROWTH
Developing and delivering fintech thought leadership strategy is never easy.
Even companies that have executed successful thought leadership marketing efforts would agree on this. But you will find that when you do it right, the rewards will come.
Leads will be better qualified.
Your brand will be better known.
You will have shown real efforts to earn your audience’s trust.
All of this has payoffs that ultimately help your fintech grow and thrive.
Use this guide to build a foundation for your own thought leadership strategy. And talk to Genuine if you would like support creating B2B fintech thought leadership content today.