How to Develop a Content Strategy for Your Financial Advisory Firm
“I don’t have time.” “My clients take first priority.” “I don’t even know how to get started.”
These are all valid reasons why you may be hesitant to create and execute a content strategy for your financial advisory firm. After all, writing — good writing — takes a significant amount of time and resources.
But time and again, we see that if there’s any type of marketing your advisory firm should be investing in, it’s content marketing. There’s a reason why the adage, “Content is king,” rings so true. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement — and the same percentage say that it has increased the number of leads coming into the funnel.
The issue is that many businesses simply do not know how to use content marketing to their benefit. In fact, according to Marketing Profs and the CMI, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content strategy.
You wouldn’t start a business without a solid business plan and strategy. So, why would you embark on developing a content marketing program without a solid content strategy?
Today, we’re going to help you get your financial advisory firm’s content strategy off the ground with a few basic steps.
The Content Strategy — What It Is and Is Not
In a nutshell, your content strategy is a documented process and overview that shows how your financial advisory firm manages the content you create, whether it’s written, visual, or social. Essentially, your strategy states your purpose for creating content (i.e., “Why are we doing this?”) and explains the unique expertise, knowledge, and education you plan to share with your target audience (i.e., “What are we talking about, and what makes us qualified to talk about it?”).
Your financial advisory firm’s content strategy should address six key areas:
1. Your Intended Audience
Who will be reading your content, and how do they best consume information? The answers to these questions will likely differ from client to client, and it’s okay for your content strategy to be applicable to more than one type of reader. By describing your audience in detail in your content strategy, you can better define what content types and channels you should utilize to get your message across.
2. The Problems Your Content Will Solve
As a financial advisor, you structure your services around the types of problems or challenges your clients face — whether that is saving enough for retirement or creating a “rainy day” fund for emergencies. Your content should accomplish the same goal; every message you distribute should educate your clients on a problem they face. It’s important to ensure your content is versatile enough for clients at various different stages of the problem-solving process (i.e., clients who know this is a challenge they face, and clients who may not realize it yet).
By documenting these challenges in your content strategy, you’ll have a constant reminder your content creators can reflect back on to ensure your messaging reinforces the problems you’re solving.
3. Your Unique Value Proposition
Developing a clear and compelling value proposition is one of the most important aspects of your content strategy. Your value proposition must tell your clients and prospects why your services are better than the competition’s services — and your content is the way in which you show them that you surpass the competition, and why your expertise and thought leadership are worth paying attention to.
4. Your Chosen Content Types
Perhaps you have determined that based on your audience, long-form blog posts are the best way to get your message across. Or maybe your clients are millennials who prefer multimedia content such as short videos or infographics.
Whatever content format you choose to pursue, make sure to document it in your content strategy so everyone in your advisory firm is on the same page — not just your content creators.
5. Your Preferred Channels
Will your blog site house all of your content? Will you share your content across various other channels, whether that be email marketing or social media? Document the channels of distribution so that everyone understands what is going where; this is also important to document from a compliance and recordkeeping perspective.
6. Your Content Creators’ and Distributors’ Roles and Responsibilities
It’s important to identify the roles that each stakeholder will play in creating and distributing content to your target audience. This will minimize duplication of effort and hold everyone accountable to their own responsibilities.
How to Put Your Content Strategy into Action
Now that we’ve covered the six areas your content strategy should address, let’s dive into some of the actions you should take to bring your strategy to fruition:
1. Research Your Intended Audience
Do ample research into your intended audience and develop fully fleshed-out personas that include everything from your audience’s age range to their job titles and industry. You should run through this exercise on a yearly basis to ensure you’re accounting for any details that may have changed about your audience.
Include these persona descriptions in your documented content strategy and organize your content calendar (more tips on developing a content calendar here) by each persona. This will ensure your audience is top-of-mind as you start brainstorming topics to write about.
2. Audit Your Existing Content
Gather every piece of content that your firm has created in the past, including blog posts, white papers, brochures, product descriptions, sales sheets, presentations, or publications. Once you have developed a list of all your existing content, categorize it by the following:
– Amazing content that works;
– Old content that can be rewritten or updated;
– Content that isn’t pulling its weight;
– Gaps in your content.
Next, further categorize each piece of content by the following: rewrite, restructure, update, or delete. Take a look at the pieces you’ve decided to repurpose and find ways to incorporate them into your content calendar and strategy. This will ensure that your content creators don’t have to recreate the wheel every time a new piece of content needs to be written.
3. Brainstorm Additional Content Ideas
Request feedback from your advisory team about the key questions, topics, and challenges their clients ask them about during meetings. What keeps them up at night? What do they see as their biggest challenges and opportunities over the next 12 months? Document these topic areas and themes in your content strategy so that all of your key stakeholders understand what to expect.
4. Plan, Publish, and Promote
By creating an organized, defined content calendar, you will be able to maintain a consistent posting schedule and ultimately develop a robust library of content you can continually pull from for years to come.
Once you have planned out your content, it’s time to determine which content management system (CMS) you will use to publish it to your website. Many firms choose to use their existing website provider to facilitate the publication of blog posts, though platforms like WordPress have proven to be extremely useful in terms of not only publishing content but tracking and analyzing it from an SEO perspective.
After you’ve published your content, the final step is certainly the most exciting: promoting it to the world! A multipronged promotion approach that leverages social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Instagram) and email marketing can ensure that your content is reaching every possible touchpoint.
A content strategy is the solid foundation you need to position your advisory firm as an industry thought leader and as a trusted resource your clients can go to for expertise. Now go ahead and put pen to paper (or fingers to keypad) and let your creative juices flow.