Did you know that the estimated number of blogs published each day is over four million? That’s the population of Los Angeles worth of ideas, stories and sales pitches to sift through every single day – more than any single person could ever dream of reading. That’s why Google invented creepy things called “bots” and “spiders” to crawl around the internet and make sense of endless mountains of information.
Why do so many companies choose to add to the pile? You have content marketing to thank for that.
With so many blogs out there, it’s tough to get yours front and center.
That’s why content marketing isn’t just writing a blog and hitting “publish” – it’s an entire strategy you use to make sure people know you’re there.
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Content marketing is the bread and butter of Three Crowns. We create strategies, develop content and publish articles for our clients every single day to help them connect with their target audience.
Now, we’re sharing what we’ve learned in this 10-part series for financial advisors.
Why? Content marketing builds trust between your firm and clients, establishes your name as a thought-leader and drives organic traffic to your site (boosting name recognition and client acquisition in the process). That’s why we’re giving advisors the tools you need to jumpstart their content marketing campaign, from developing a plan to putting it in action.
The first step in the process – before you write a single word, record any videos or publish any articles – is to set solid goals that will guide your content marketing efforts. Think of it like finding your North star before you set sail – you need to know where you are and where you’re going before you lift the anchor.
We’re not talking tracking metrics (yet – we’ll circle back on this soon, though!).
Rather, today we’re taking a look at how content marketing ties in with your other marketing goals and your firm’s overall goals for the upcoming year and beyond.
So what does content marketing look like for financial advisors?
First thing’s first: It’s not just about writing a blog, or making a pamphlet or texting an article idea to your favorite Aunt Sally.
A blog here or there that isn’t connected to your overall marketing plan isn’t going to be helpful to you or your clients. Content marketers use written word as a part of their larger marketing strategy. Each piece should connect to one another, your brand goals and specific metrics.
And content isn’t limited to just blogs, either. It comes in countless forms, including:
Social media campaigns
If we had to boil down content marketing into a single line, it would look something like this:
It’s not an outright sales pitch, it’s an invitation to learn more about your advising services and products.
Think of the big umbrella as marketing. The smaller umbrella under that is inbound marketing. The even smaller umbrella is content marketing. It’s a way of drawing in your intended audience through education and/or entertainment.
You’ve probably heard it before, but let’s hit it one more time: SMART goals are the best kind of goals, and that goes for content marketing goals, too. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based.
If your goal is to drive up website traffic, SMART goals can help you flesh that out a bit more:
Why do you want to drive up website traffic?
Is it to gain more prospects or to create better name recognition?
What’s your current website traffic? Where would you like it to be and in what time frame?
Is that attainable for your team? What impact will meeting this goal have on your firm?
Whether you’re looking to increase backlinks or gain newsletter subscribers, it’s important to keep all your goals SMART.
Let’s talk about content and the marketing funnel. Your audience members aren’t all exactly alike – they’re individuals in different stages of the “buyer’s journey.”
Some people are just realizing they have a particular financial issue, and are searching for available solutions. Others know they’d like to work with a financial advisor, but aren’t sold on a big firm or small business quite yet. Some people think they’ve found exactly what they’re searching for with your firm, but need a little extra push to make the deal.
The content your firm publishes should serve individuals in one or more of these stages. You have to know which stage you want to target and then develop content based around those individuals’ needs.
To keep it simple, marketers divide content into a funnel with three parts:
Top of Funnel (TOFU)
This is the largest section of the funnel. Content in this section aims to build awareness of your firm and services. It is mainly lead generation content.
Types of content you would expect to see at this stage of the funnel include social media campaigns, SEO optimization, and paid advertisements.
Middle of Funnel (MOFU)
MOFU content provides a solution for your audience’s problem. Whether they need help tax planning or want to begin investing, content here aims to create prospects.
This is where the obvious content deliverables come into play: blogs, email campaigns, videos/podcasts and newsletters.
Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)
The smallest part of the funnel is for prospects that are ready to choose an advisor and are looking for reasons that they should pick you over someone else.
Lastly, BOFU content would include “What it’s like to work with us” blogs, trial or sample services, a form to schedule a consultation, zoom meetings or personal emails between you and the prospect.
Silly acronyms aside, this funnel can help you direct your content plan moving forward. We created a worksheet to help you walk through how to get started.
As you fill out the Goals worksheet below, think about which part of the funnel your target audience is in. If you can’t pinpoint where your content belongs in the funnel, it may not be focused enough.
To help you create smart, balanced goals, we’ve created a totally free downloadable template. These guided questions can help you decide which goals should take top priority and give your firm a jumping off point for designing and implementing a plan.
Simply click on the image below to open our three-question guide. Then, make a copy of the document and voila! You’re set to begin your content marketing journey.
You can also follow along this series, where we’ll be exploring everything from how to build personas and write compelling blogs to creating video content and increasing your lead gen.
There are three main ingredients that form the basis of a successful content marketing campaign. Before you dive into creating your goals, let’s take a look at the big picture of what you wish to accomplish.
Advisors who excel at strategy often fail to follow through with execution, and those with consistent execution tend to lack either strategy or the analytical follow-up needed to verify what’s working and what needs to be tweaked.
A balance of all three flavors here will help you avoid something called “content for content’s sake.” This occurs when advisors are writing and publishing content solely for the purpose of ticking off the “write and publish content” box on their marketing checklist. Their blog is chock-full, but they’re not seeing any movement toward their overall goals.
As you move forward creating your goals, keep in mind that someone (whether it’s you, a team member, or a combination of both) will have to put these goals in action and measure analytics along the way.
We work with financial advisors and fintech leaders to create stellar content and reach wider audiences. Click here to learn more about our process or to connect with a member of the Three Crowns team today.