When you were growing up, you probably watched television, listened to the radio, and read the newspaper. You received all of your news and entertainment through channels that were heavily saturated in advertising. And if you’re like many Americans, you grew tired of the ads, and often wished there was a way to skip them.
Today, we do exactly that. More of us are recording our favorite television shows with a DVR, so that we can skip the commercials. We’re reading our news online, and we’re chatting with friends on social media. In fact, the average American now spends more time looking at a smart phone screen than they do looking at a television screen!*
Technology has allowed us to take control of our media experiences, and most of us are finding creative ways to reduce the amount of advertising we see – or even block it altogether.
Advertisements are annoying, because they’re blatant and transparent attempts to sell us a product, service, or idea. Considering most people don’t like to be pressured into doing anything, it’s easy to see why most Americans are disconnecting from advertisements.
On the other hand, this common disdain for advertising opens up huge opportunities for content marketing. In a way, content marketing is the opposite of advertising: Rather than push yourself or your services on someone, you make them want you! You do this by regularly distributing content that your audience actually wants to read or watch. Rather than ignoring you, as they do advertisers, they welcome your messages and are willing to form a relationship with you.
This is all bad news for the financial advisor who wants to relentlessly advertise himself. But for the advisor who is willing to harness the power of content marketing, the world is his oyster!
But before you can build those important relationships, you must ensure that your audience can see a clear difference between your content and obnoxious advertising.
Remember these five components to a successful content marketing campaign.
Content is key. First ask yourself, what are the wants, needs, and concerns of my target audience? Then create content that is aimed at answering those questions or soothing those fears. The point is to create and distribute content that your audience wants to read or watch. If they find your content interesting, entertaining, or helpful in some way, then they will welcome more interaction with you. Remember, the content isn’t about you; it’s about them.
Get to the point. The average attention span of a social media user is about 8 seconds. So when members of your audience encounter your blogs or videos in their news feed, you have about 8 seconds to grab their attention. That’s why the first 7 or 8 seconds of a video are the most important. With blogs, make sure to include a picture, keep the headline short and simple, and make sure the first few sentences will spark interest.
Be flexible. Some of your content will make more of an impact with your audience. No matter how great you think a blog or video may be, all that really matters is whether your audience likes it. Use your analytics program to discover which topics are more popular or receive more feedback. Be flexible, and be ready to create more of the content that generates the most response. After all, the point is to give your audience exactly what they want.
Make it personal. If you use email to distribute your content, remember to address your audience members by name. This will increase your open rates, because everyone likes to receive email that feels personal.
Don’t be too obvious with targeted posts. Targeted Facebook posts are a great way to get more views for your content. But Facebook users are aware that the social media network stores their information and sells it to advertisers. If you’re too obvious with your targeting, your content may start to feel like advertising. And that’s exactly what you want to avoid! So if you do target a particular demographic, don’t be too obvious about it or they may feel insulted.
If you’re like most financial advisors, your primary target audience is composed of people over the age of 40. This generation wasn’t born yesterday, and they’ve learned to be wary of advertising. They’re likely to be extra suspicious of anyone who seems too pushy about wanting to manage their life savings! That’s why it’s crucial that you avoid advertising, and focus on content marketing instead. Build a relationship with your audience, give them content that they value, and they will learn to trust you as a knowledgeable expert. Then, who do you think they will call when they have questions about investing? Nurture these relationships, and watch your practice grow.