When you think about the finance industry, you might start to have visions of interest rates and structured settlements dance through your head. Up until recently, content marketers have left the banks and the other financial institutions alone, claiming that there are too many disclosure regulations to really delve into the subject. There are some banks out there that are changing their view when it comes to what they deliver to their website visitors.
Clever content inspires the imagination and goes beyond the APRs and disclaimers. It’s not about having a few extra dollars in your pocket from using one bank or another, the truly inspiring part comes from what you can do with those few extra dollars. As such, the content marketing pieces that some banks and financial institutions are bringing to their visitors is exceptional. Suntrust, for example, shifted a lot of their language to how the ‘rainy day’ fund would be spent, rather than simply harping on the need to have one.
Let’s take one bank that’s doing it right: Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has a special segment on its website called The Student Loandown. It’s a blog that discusses debt and finance questions for young adults going to college, among other topics related to college students. The content is short blog posts. By focusing beyond the traditional financial questions, Wells Fargo is showing how finances can connect into the wider scheme of a person’s life.
Another financial brand that’s using content marketing effective is LendingTree. LendingTree’s approach is to give people interested in loans all of the information they need. Loan calculators and real-world examples are used to give the reader a deep knowledge of what they need to know before they even talk to a loan officer.
Many banks are hesitant to dip their toe into the content marketing pool, though. Real content marketing makes sense for financial institutions for a number of reasons. There are some banks which are hesitant to jump into the pool because they think that it’s off-message. There are some who don’t want to run afoul of the regulatory concerns and disclaimers that have to be issued with each statement. There are still others who have decided that they simply don’t want to pursue a content marketing strategy. How can the financial industry navigate all of that and have an attractive brand?
But it can be done and it is being done by banks that are willing to stretch themselves to deliver what customers want. In fact, letting your brand’s hair down a bit might even be a good differentiator, especially for Millennials. If you’ve been anywhere near social media in the last ten years you know how much humor is valued.
The fear that comes with showing a humorous side in finance, insurance, and other industries is related to fears of a lack of trust. When people use a bank, they want to know that their needs will be taken seriously, that their money will be taken care of seriously, and that they’ll treat their bank like a serious business. To break that veil of seriousness could make people think that the bank isn’t trustworthy.
But consider this. If your bank wasn’t seen as trustworthy then you wouldn’t be in business long, and a show of seriousness can cover up a wealth of financial sins. We all remember what happened in 2008. Conservatism doesn’t equate with trustworthiness, and even with regulation, you can explain the gist of the rules without devolving into boring prose.
Content at its heart is providing information that your customers want to hear or can relate to. Try finding one of your successful business customers and ask to share their story. Find out that question the bank teller is tired of answering all the time and spin up a blog post to explain it. See how your competition is leveraging content marketing and figure out how you can extend in a different direction. In other words, have fun and be creative!
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