By Joe Lazauskas, Contently
Original content is not the first thing most of us think of when it comes to financial services. But as content becomes an increasingly crucial component of online marketing campaigns, the financial services industry has emerged a major player.
A December 2012 survey by IMN found that 75 percent of financial services marketers had separate content strategies in place for each marketing channel, the highest percentage of all industries polled. Fifty percent of financial services marketers had an editorial calendar in place — again, tops across all industries.
In the right hands, financial topics have the power to entertain and spark great discussions — you need only look at the success of CNN Money or The Wall Street Journal to see that. Finance journalism has always been heavily dependent on industry experts, many of whom work inside financial institutions. So why shouldn't finance brands put those experts to work on their own content campaigns?
After all, in-depth storytelling is one of the most powerful ways that content marketers can cut through the news and noise to stand out. Businesses today need great journalists who can tell compelling stories about everything the brand does.
Over the past few years, we've seen some of the biggest brand publishing success stories come from the financial industry and across the full spectrum of financial services. Citi, American Express, Blackrock, iShares, Schwab, Mint and Barclay's are just a few of the financial services companies that are delivering great content to an engaged audience.
There are some obstacles that lie in the way of content creation; namely, the regulations put in place by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Industry Regulator Authority (FINRA). The most successful players in the industry have tackled the problem head on, bringing marketers and compliance teams together to brainstorm effective tactics that won't skirt regulations.
Clearly, the industry is taking a proactive approach to content marketing — yet it still lags behind in some respects. Eye-catching efforts, such as Red Bull's daredevil leap from space, Macy's captivating Styleblogger competition, or even OkCupid's revolutionary data-driven insights are still largely absent from financial services content.
It could be the industry's regulations, or the fact that financial services content just works better with a straightforward approach. However, those are self-imposed limitations — ones that leave opportunities for bold and innovative companies to take advantage.
Ahead, we’ll explore how the industry has embraced content, and discuss some of the specific strategies industry leaders are employing to grow their fan bases and build trust in their brands. Along the way, we’ll also look at the some of the unique regulatory obstacles the industry faces and the innovative tactics some brands are using to overcome those obstacles.