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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

A sound content strategy = a sound profit strategy

August 2, 2016 | By Isabella Barbato, Marketing Manager, Asia Pacific—Outbrain

The financial service industry is rapidly evolving to meet the needs of the 21st century consumer, and financial marketers are starting to learn the lingo of content marketing to better target their customers. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 78% of financial marketers use content marketing, but of this, only a dismal 25% consider their organizations to be effective at it.

A closer look at the challenges faced by the financial industry might reveal why this so. The industry is highly regulated and bound by compliance, budgets are dropping against an increasingly volatile economy, and organizations struggle with getting buy-in from senior management, which restricts the kind of marketing brands can do.

On the bright side, the financial services sector has one big thing going for it: They talk about money. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t care about growing their wealth? Financial brands know this, and many are blasting through their challenges to create innovative, high-quality content to reach new audiences and establish a baseline of authority.

Here are three key insights that will help any financial services company transform its content strategy:

1. Tell stories with a human voice
In an industry where customer loyalty is a major priority, putting a face to your organization is incredibly important. Be approachable, and develop a lively brand personality so that customers will feel more connected to your brand.

Do your target audience members have to be financial services experts to understand the content you’re publishing? If so, then it’s time to rethink your strategy.

Content marketing is like having a conversation with your customers, and no one likes hearing things they don’t understand. So strip away the jargon, present complex information in digestible forms, and walk your consumers through your messages in an engaging and interactive way.

Source: UTI Mutual Fund, Be Swatantra

2. Get creative with video
 Video is becoming increasingly indispensable to grab the attention of customers, especially among Millennials. It’s entertaining, it’s fun, and it’s easy to consume. And it’s not just in the U.S. Brands leading in finance marketing from around the world, such as Visa and UTI Mutual Fund are leveraging the huge potential video has to engage their customers and forge relationships with new audiences.

In India, UTI Mutual Fund didn’t just adopt the usual routes of using social media, display networks and traditional publishing houses to attract millennial investors and drive sign-ups for its Systematic Investment Plan (SIP). In fact, it incorporated video content marketing into its outreach strategy by launching BeSwatantra.com, a content hub that features videos, podcasts, infographics and articles on investor education, which appeals to the brand’s young target audience.

Source: Visa Asia Pacific, The News Room
Source: Visa Asia Pacific, The News Room

Similarly, Visa in Asia Pacific launched VisaAPnews.asia, a Tumblr newsroom of videos on economics, business growth, innovation and viewpoints, and successfully reached and influenced decision makers in banks, merchants and governments across the region.

3. Go to where your audience is
Successful marketers know that crafting high-quality content isn’t enough. What’s equally important is finding where your audience hangs out and targeting them there. There’s a much higher chance for your content to be seen and shared once you know where your audience is.

outbrain3We’ve found that a great way to amplify audiences for financial brands is through driving traffic from finance publishers, such as the ones we work with — CNN Money, Fortune, Market Watch and Financial Express (IN).  For instance, UTI Mutual Fund and Visa reached audiences who were browsing content on premium publisher sites through Outbrain Amplify.

The result? UTI Mutual Fund drove over 3,500 leads and nearly 78,000 visits to its video content, and Visa saw a 270% increase in click-through rates and engaged with over 75,000 users daily.

In a field that revolves around digits and data, numbers aren’t always everything, and financial marketers shouldn’t underestimate the power of words. As the needs of customers rapidly evolve, the finance industry has come to realize that well-crafted and well-placed content can go a long way in helping brands retain a loyal consumer base and roll in the revenue.

profile-picIsabella Barbato heads Outbrain’s marketing in Asia Pacific, based out of their Singapore office. Originally from Italy, she has spent the last 6 years in Asia, and has joined Outbrain in May 2014. Isabella is passionate about technology and the digital space. In her free time, she enjoys music, traveling and yoga.

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