You’re often asking your finance consumers to make major decisions – getting a mortgage, opening a child’s college fund, investing in their future… the list goes on. While the majority of financial consumer touchpoints have moved to digital formats to create convenience, it can also create more confusion. Less human interaction with financial advisors and customer representatives means the online content has to work even harder to gain finance consumer trust and influence decision making.
That’s where thought leadership comes in.
Thought leadership is any form of content shared by a subject expert with their audience to build credibility, trust, and loyalty. Some of the core benefits of thought leadership for finance brands are:
- Greater online visibility – For example, SEO ranking for long form content addressing top consumer banking questions and concerns
- Competitive differentiation – Providing new insights, opinions, or research to stand out from other finance brands
- Increased customer lifetime value – High value content establishes relationship building that keeps your brand top of mind
Build a reputation
Having a well-crafted and regularly updated blog on your website is a fantastic place to start building an organic reputation. To further increase your thought leadership efforts, establish publisher content partnerships to create a name for yourself in the industry. Look at high value placements your audience over indexes for, such as Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, etc.
Then, use these three factors to evaluate publishers:
- Audience: Does the demographic match your core audience? Will your content be relevant to these readers?
- Content Quality: Is this a highly reputable and trusted source?
- Distribution: Does the readership number align with your target reach as well as budget?
Find a sweet spot of high reach and high composition to drive the best results.
Think outside the box
Premium placements do come with price tags for the brand value and readership volume. However, there are other lesser utilized channels brands can find success in. Some great examples are Reddit and Quora. Both of these channels are informal, but trusted resources for people searching for answers to specific questions. You can show up in a more casual way on these channels, but still provide high quality information and build rapport with niche finance audiences.
To really hone in on thought leadership at your financial organization, consider video and audio. Visual and audio content formats are supreme when it comes to engagement, recall, and retention. Consider alternative forms of content such as:
- Podcasts – starting your own, or appearing on others
- Informational videos on YouTube
- Live-streamed videos on LinkedIn
Humanize your finance brand
Thought leadership content humanizes brands in an industry that can seem cold and impersonal. Through content, you can guide your customers through their finance journey.
That said, you must not lose focus of what’s most important: the customer, not highlighting your brand. Relay empathy – show an authentic understanding of your customer. Let them know you understand the topics they need more information on and the hurdles they are facing when it comes to financial decision making and planning.
Walk in your customer’s shoes
Before you start touting what you think are the most important benefits your brand offers, stop to listen and learn about what your customer really desires. Is it financial freedom? Business success? Peace of mind? Security in their child’s future?
Think about where your customer is now and where they want to be. Then, use your thought leadership and creative messaging to facilitate that transformation.
Support your customers’ needs and concerns
As a financial brand, you undoubtedly have a large range of consumers with an even larger range of needs. From commercial and retail banking to financial services and advising to retirement planning and investing – there are ample opportunities to share information and gain finance consumer trust, ultimately growing your business.
To understand these needs, make sure you stay on top of trends. Understand what is likely top of mind for your core consumers:
- Is there an impending recession making older adults rethink retirement?
- Is there a housing market boom driving a demand for mortgages?
- Are there global crises affecting the stock market and investment decisions?
Whatever is going on externally, use challenges as a way to serve as a trusted resource and help them navigate what can be overwhelming financial decisions.
This is not a sales pitch
Wherever you are posting thought leadership, share your knowledge and expertise, not your sales sheet. The content you create should be relevant to a specific consumer issue that is tangential to the solutions or services you provide. Once you’ve established credibility and authority, you no longer have to sell yourself. The consumer will be convinced already – and if not, they were unlikely to ever convert.
So whether your goal is to improve industry recognition, differentiate from competitors, or enhance customer lifetime value, give thought leadership a try. And remember these keys to gain finance consumer trust through your content:
- Use publishers with the right reach and audience composition
- Be creative with your content formats
- Keep your content authentic and readable
- Understand customer needs and concerns
- Avoid giving a sales pitch
For more strategic insights to improve your financial marketing strategy, view our Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing.