According to The Financial Brand's Digital Marketing Survey, content marketing will continue to flourish this year, as businesses in the financial industry try to make their content stand out across multiple channels to attract and convert new consumers.
The report goes on to reveal that key areas of focus for financial firms doing content marketing today are creating "sticky" content that distinguishes their firm from the competition and scaling content efficiently across multiple channels to drive sales.
If content is so important, why is it hard to find decent financial content?
Let's take a look at five ways you can get access to good branded and curated content for your financial blog or website.
1. Do it yourself (or work with internal resources).
If you're a good writer with a unique point of view -- or have people at your firm who are -- this could be the most effective and cost-efficient option for your business. It can also work if you have talent available that performs well on video.
The pros: Having one -- or a few -- unique voices writing or speaking for your firm will benefit your business because it will give it a unique brand voice and content closely aligned with your goals. Over time, these "experts" could become recognized spokespeople for your company. This highly unique content will likely also attract traffic to your website from Google and other search engines. Plus, this could be your lowest-cost content development option.
The cons: It can be a challenge to have one -- or a small group -- of people trying to create all the content for your firm. It might be impossible to feed the pipeline no matter how prolific your talent is. In addition, most people who don't do content for a living might not know how to create good content. If you decide to work with internal resources, it might be worth hiring someone to review and edit their work.
Another limitation? Alternative forms of content, such as infographics, quizzes, slide shows and polls are becoming more popular and can generate great results online. Internal resources may not have the knowledge to be able to create these things.
One other thing to consider: You need to have a plan in place if someone highly identified with your content leaves your firm.
2. Hire freelance talent.
Another option for getting the content you need is to find freelance talent to create it.
The pros: By using freelance talent, you only hire and pay people when you need them, which helps control costs. This option also allows you to use the most qualified people for the specific project. If you're developing a video, you hire the best videographer for it. Or you hire an infographic expert when you need one created. This level of expertise can help you feel more confident that your content is high quality and will get you results.
The cons: In some cities or markets, it can be hard to find specialized creative talent. You might have to go online to find long-distance resources that you work with virtually. Also, ramp-up time for freelancers can be slow. It might take them a while to learn your brand and understand your business objectives. And in today's world of fast and responsive content marketing, freelance talent might not be available when you need content fast.
Many firms curate content from financial publications to help build brand awareness.
The pros: This can be an inexpensive way to associate your firm with high-quality content from prominent publications. For some small firms with little or no content marketing money, this could be the only option.
The cons: You'll want to ensure that you do this correctly. More than likely, you will have to use your social media channels and website to drive traffic to other websites and publications. Otherwise you could get a warning -- or be sued -- by a publication if you use their content on your site. You could also run into SEO issues if your site has duplicative content on it.
One other thing: You won't gain search engine benefits from curated content.
4. Outsource your content marketing
The pros: Depending on the content provider you work with, you could have access to a vast array of curated content sources and a broad range of writing, video and graphic talent. In addition, many of these firms provide systems that make it easy to order content; traffic, review and comment on it; publish and distribute it; and monitor results. You will also likely have access to expert editorial support that can advise you and help you optimize your content.
The cons: Working with a content provider can be expensive. There is often a system or licensing fee required before you can even order content. On top of that, you'll pay for each piece of content. Fees for content could be based on the length, the talent that develops it or the quality of the publication. Some contracts also come with minimum requirements or spend levels.
You'll also likely need a dedicated resource on your team to work on a day-to-day basis with your content firm. Depending on your firm, you could be required to spend a significant amount of time on-boarding a content provider and linking systems.
5. Work with an agency
Outsourcing your content needs to an agency is a cost-effective option for many companies.
The pros: An agency will give you access to both in-house agency talent and resources available through content development and curation firms. This can be a cost-effective way to get the talent and resources you need when you need them. Your firm won't have to absorb all the costs associated with contracting with a content firm because you'll only be paying a share of a license. In addition, you won't need to hire a dedicated person to interact with the content provider since the agency can handle this service.
One other plus: An agency can integrate your content marketing into your broader digital marketing plan. This can help you rest assured knowing your social, content and online strategies are optimized to get you results.
The cons: Similar to a content agency, your firm may require that you go through a procurement or other due-diligence process. The good news is that an agency can provide you with a broad array of services that could reduce the number of vendors you need to push through this process.
You need to do your due diligence and consider factors including content needs, talent availability, cost and more when finding the right resource for your content marketing needs.
If you choose to work with an agency, consider Carpenter Group, a firm that has been developing content for financial companies for 35 years. We have the experience you need to not just create and curate content, but to also work with you to develop comprehensive content, digital and social media strategies that can help you achieve your sales and marketing goals.