By Cory Schmidt, Head of Marketing, Canto.
Strong marketing has been vital to the rise of new financial services and banking providers over the last few years. And regardless of whether you’re an incumbent or a challenger, one thing businesses can’t ignore is the continuing rise of content marketing.
One of the key trends is growing preference for social images and video, according to the 2019 Hubspot Content Trends Survey. Half (51%) of B2B marketers prioritise creating visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy and video advertising is predicted to grow to a $22 billion industry by 2021.
Almost three quarters (72%) of marketers said that having a good content strategy was a major key to their success in 2018, according to the report.
In response, content creation is set to grow in significance throughout 2020 as companies commit more of their annual marketing spend to it. According to a survey of over 200 marketing decision-makers commissioned by digital asset management company Canto, spend for content creation will increase on average 9% in 2020, accounting for 35% of the total marketing pot. In companies with more than 100 employees, this proportion rises to 42% – representing an increase of more than 10% on the previous year.
Content creation is becoming such a key part of the marketing mix, that many companies are investing more on bringing the skills in-house. The same survey found around a third (32%) of companies are currently creating more content in-house than they did a year ago.
Visual content gives companies more creativity and freedom to forge bonds with consumers; it gives them a way to easily and quickly express their identity and values, as well as deliver company announcements and dedicated campaigns. This is very effective in distinguishing you from your competitors. Visuals are effective in creating a sense of connection that text alone cannot, which is a great selling tool.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder ‘content is king’, but what are the best ways to stay ahead in 2020? While content marketing is far from new, there are definitely some tricks of the trade to do it more successfully in 2020.
Video has fast become a powerful medium for extending your reach on social media. An overwhelming 93% of marketers say they’ve converted a lead into a paying customer due to video on social media.
Whether you create your videos in-house or via an agency, make them effective by following these simple best practices: Make it short (30 seconds or less) and give it text or subtitles for users scrolling on mobile without sound on.
Let your brand persona shine
Consumers are more likely to engage with, and buy from, a brand they can identify with. Especially if they feel a brand is ‘just like me’. Brands that are successful in creating this feeling do so with a brand persona – essentially conveying characteristics and values that will appeal and resonate with customers and prospective customers. A brand’s persona is essentially its human face.
Once you have your brand persona, keep it consistent and repeat it over and over so it is integral to all your brand’s communications.
Not all financial and professional services businesses will have the same freedoms when it comes to tone of voice, but adding a touch of humanity and personality really can make a difference.
Make it personal
If you’re using your social media channels as just another outlet to share your adverts then consumers will soon switch off. If you’re giving them the hard sell, it simply won’t work. Your customers (or prospective customers) look to social media for an authentic connection to a brand in a more engaging and entertaining way.
Social media allows businesses a unique opportunity to show a more friendly and engaging tone of voice – or even a more personal side to their brand, such as ‘behind-the-scenes’ content, teasers and sneak peeks.
Make the most of these company-owned platforms by sharing and prioritising original and authentic imagery as well as video. Leave the overly polished imagery or stock photos for the brochures and billboards.
Share user-generated content
Through your social media channels you have access to a wealth of content at your fingertips, so why not share user-generated content (with consent of course!) to connect with your customers and cultivate a community? Not only will it help build affinity with your brand, but user-generated content also gets more engagement, and consumers tend to trust what other consumers say.
To build a bank of user-generated content, try encouraging more customers to create and share content via giveaways and challenges, or working with influencers to broaden your reach. It can be easier said than done, especially for B2B companies but with a little creativity it’s possible. And don’t forget your employees, who will often be your biggest fans, love to post photos and videos from your events.
Remember, whatever your content marketing approach, the job is always far from done – it’s important to periodically evaluate its strength, value and impact to ensure it is getting the desired reactions from the right markets. If it’s not working, be prepared to adapt until it is. Just because your brand persona resonated with your target audience five years ago doesn’t mean it will work today.