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11.8.19

6 Myths About Content Marketing for Banks Debunked

Sam Thorson

The world of content has long been questioned as a reliable and effective form of marketing. The voices in favor of content marketing boast statistics showcasing the impact of content creation. However, the common perception of content marketing is shrouded is confusion, complexity and misconception. Many businesses, including banks, have struggled to understand how content marketing can make an impact on their bottom lines. This challenge, along with a fundamental misunderstanding of the online environment, has created myths about content marketing that are either no longer true or completely false.

Let's break down six of these myths and highlight how banks can engage with content marketing in an effective and positive way.

 Myth #1: “The More, The BETTER”

There was a time in the history of marketing when the answer to content creation was “MORE.” When search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo came onto the scene, businesses immediately began to realize that these platforms had potential to be communication channels between themselves and customers searching for answers.

This launched the battle still going on today—the fight for the top spot in a search engine results page (SERP). And thus, search engine optimization (SEO) was born. 

The early days of SEO were relatively simple:

  • Create lots of online content about your business or product
  • Fit as many “keywords” in the content as possible

Simplistic SEO strategies like this became the staple for many businesses. This “Keyword Stuffing” soon became so prevalent that search engines evolved to not only recognize when keyword stuffing is happening, but also penalize brands that attempt to artificially boost their rankings through these “Black-Hat Tactics.”

So what should you do?

If content volume is no longer a realistic practice, content quality should take its place. Rather than focusing on producing four or five blog posts a month, set out to create a high-quality article that answers your customers' most pressing questions. This practice not only reduces the stress of “mass-producing” content, but also positions your brand as the industry expert and a resource for your audience.

Myth #2: “Content Marketing = Blogging”

When people hear “Content Marketing” the first thought that comes to everyone’s minds is blogging. They think of a series of online articles published on a website for the purpose of having them show up in search engines. While blog posts are a form of content, the truth is that thinking content marketing only consists of writing blog posts is completely false. In reality, content can mean almost anything, and content creation should only be limited by how your audience wants to engage with it.

Here are just some of the different types of content.

Case Studies

Charts/Graphs

E-books

Newsletters

Product Reviews

FAQ Pages

Giveaways

Webinars

Whitepapers

Infographics

Vlogs

Podcasts

Photos

Social Posts

Memes

 

And the list goes on and on…

So how then can a bank broaden its content inventory? First, start by learning how your audience engages with content. If your potential customers consistently watch videos to learn about finances, consider making how-to videos or a vlog series about your bank’s products. Understanding your audience will inform your content-marketing strategy. The goal of which should be to communicate helpful information in the most easy-to-consume format for you audience.

Myth #3: “Content is KING!”

Anyone learning about content marketing has heard this phrase before. The “content is king” mantra was born around the same time as the keyword stuff we mentioned above. However, this is a mentality that is still widely believed in the marketing world today.  

Content marketer Ross Simmonds talks about his myth in his article “Content Marketing Mistakes That Will Stop Your Brand From Finding Success.” He explains that today’s online world has commoditized content.

“Every single day there are thousands of blog posts being published in thousands of different industries. From Healthy Living to Marketing Automation—the amount of content being created EVERY single day has become insane. Thus, it’s time for marketers to adjust their mindset.”

With this in mind, we must ask the question—who sits on the throne today?

The answer is DISTRIBUTION.

Distribution is the process by which a brand puts important information in front of its audiences. This can be done in a lot of different ways, such as through social media, emails, paid campaigns, influencers and many more. The point, however, is to think beyond clicking “publish.” Rather, spend time thinking about how your audience will find the content. Because, in today’s saturated online environment, even if you create high-quality content, there’s no guarantee that your audience will find it.

Simmonds sums up his thoughts on the importance of distribution by saying,

“At the end of the day, I recommend spending 2x the amount of time promoting your content as you did creating it. That’s how you can increase the chances of turning your content into a piece that reaches thousands of people.”

Myth #4: “You Can’t Track Content Marketing”

This is a fight that every person pitching content marketing has gone through. The question is always asked, “How well did it do?” or “What’s the ROI?”

In many situations, these questions often mark the end of a content-marketing strategy. When it comes time to report on the performance of content, marketers end up talking about vanity metrics like pageviews or social media likes. While these may seem like indicators of success, C-Level managers typically care about the bottom line and how marketing contributed to moving the needle.

While tracking content marketing may be difficult, it is far from impossible. The Content Marketing Institute has published multiple article that highlight different ways that marketers can track the performance of their content.

Tip: Know the KPIs

The first tip they recommend is that you begin tracking success by understanding the KPIs. The illustration below breaks down the goals that C-Level managers are typically concerned with and the possible metrics that can be associated with content marketing.

Tip: Focus on Engagement

The next tip revolves around an important aspect of content marketing that cannot be understated. The metric is engagement rate. This data not only shows how many people your content was exposed to, but also how many people engaged with the content by watching, clicking, reacting or sharing it.

A great example of this is on Facebook. Typically, social success has been measured by how many people saw a post—this was determined by the “reach” a post received. However, Facebook has drastically reduced the organic reach of businesses in recent years, leading many to believe that organic social media management is dead. This is not true. Rather than focus on a metric like “reach,” a content-marketing report should highlight the posts’ “engagement rate.”

This information will tell you how many followers vs. non-followers interacted with your social content. This is valuable information, because it shows the material or topics in which your followers are really interested.

Myth #5: “My Content = My Business”

Of the content-marketing myths out there, this is a difficult one from which to turn away. The hard reality that many businesses need to realize is that the world does not revolve around them. So many times, content strategies are created with the intention of putting the brand front and center. The truth is that there’s a lot of people consuming content that either don’t know about your brand, or don’t have a strong enough relationship with your brand to spend time reading about your product offerings.

This is a situation with which many business owners or managers have a difficult time coming to terms. Successful content is not directly promotional. The best pieces of content are the ones that take the time to answer questions. Your audience is searching for solutions to problems—the best place for content to make a connection is by presenting it as the guide to help a potential customer comes to a decision.

A great example of successful content is “Brandwagon” by Wisita. Brandwagon is an online video series in which the host of the show interviews different businesses to talk about their marketing strategies, brand strategies, storytelling and more. Why this is a great example is because Wisita is not a marketing agency. It doesn't offer marketing of video production services at all. Instead, this is a software company that sells a video-hosting platform for businesses to use to showcase their video content. This series is a large-scale example of content marketing that is entertaining, educational and engaging. 

Myth #6: “Finance isn’t SEXY”

Wrapping up this article is one myth that is often used as an excuse that businesses will use when they don’t want to be creative. The financial industry may not be the most entertaining industry out there, but it is an industry that has a lot of people asking questions. A great example of using video content to generate brand awareness is the Brown & Crouppen Law Firm in St. Louis, Mo.

Funny, happy, goofy… these are not words that are typically associated with lawyers, but the partners at Brown & Crouppen have taken social content to the hilarious with their series call “Ed Verses.” These videos show one of their partners giving tutorials on everyday activities like taking naps, riding an elevator and pouring a bowl of cereal.

While these videos may seem ridiculous, their online performance illustrates just how well being creative can extend the reach of a brand.  Here are some of the performance metrics from the episode “Ed V. Cereal.”

  • Has more than 10,000 reactions
  • Has been shared more than 12,000 times
  • Has more than 1 million views

While these metrics may seem like the vanity data points that I mentioned above, if we had access to the videos insights or if we looked at the analytics on the firm’s website, we would be able to see how well this video influenced website traffic. This example is meant to show you that no matter what industry you work in, content marketing can always be used to connect with an audience.

The Wrap-Up

In summary, content marketing should be a vital component to any business’s advertising strategy. A bank has a unique opportunity to produce not only highly valuable educational content, but also connect with a younger generation.

As Gen-Z and millennials begin to face major financial decisions in their lives, they will need guidance. Their research habits and spending behavior differ from the generations before them. As banks want to grow their customer bases, they will need to connect with these individuals in ways with which they are familiar. Content marketing is a perfect handshake that can mark the beginning of a long relationship.

9 Marketing Tactics Your Financial Instituion Needs to Try E-Book