How to be the king (or queen) of your content strategy
Content is still king. Why? Because nearly every person every day is on the internet searching for answers. Your content is king if it provides those answers to the right people where and when they need them.
So how can your firm show up when current and future clients look online for financial expertise? A content strategy allows you to target specific audiences with information and insights that help establish relationships. It's a way to organize your marketing efforts around what prospects and clients need most and will deliver the most value to your firm.
Practice management comes first
To build a focused content strategy, you first need to know who your ideal client is, the unique value your firm can offer, and how you want to grow. If your firm hasn’t engaged in a strategic planning process or your strategic plan needs a refresh, Schwab’s Virtual Practice Management programs can help you focus on your potential and develop a roadmap for how to get there.
What do you want to create?
You'll also need to decide what types of content make most sense for you and your audience. Do you want to send regular messages to clients and prospects? What about a video series on investment trends? Or a series of blog posts on building intergenerational wealth? Here are some of the advantages of each type of content:
Articles/blog posts: Bite-sized insights that offer a fresh perspective or helpful tips. These are for people who want something valuable, but are only willing to invest 10 minutes or less.
Videos: These offer an opportunity to connect with your audience one-on-one. Videos are especially helpful for explaining a concept or showing how something works.
Emails: This channel can be an easy way to share timely information and stay in touch with clients and prospects. Email is incredibly versatile because it can help you share your other content and communicate different messages to different audiences.
White papers: Want to offer a deeper dive into a complex or important topic? These longer-form publications can help you showcase your expertise, thought leadership, and commitment to your clients.
Guides: With detailed information that helps your audience accomplish a particular goal, a guide shows you're committed to partnering with readers on their journey.
Social media images/graphics: Post short, eye-catching information that grabs people's attention. Sharing these types of images can show that you're fun or engaged in what's happening right now.
Webinars/events: These provide a chance to dive deep into a topic and engage in a conversation to establish yourself as both a thought leader and someone who takes time for their clients.
Web-based tools: What if you created an online calculator or an interactive questionnaire that helps a client make a hard choice? Technical expertise can open up a lot of possibilities.
No matter what you create, your uniqueness needs to come through. If your firm creates content that's just like what other firms put out, you'll get lost in the crowd.
Where can your content appear?
There are many popular social media channels and video platforms—not to mention thousands of websites where your ads could appear. It can be tempting to try to put your content everywhere, but that approach can significantly reduce the ROI of your marketing efforts.
What matters is:
You go where your current and prospective clients are. This might take some research, but if you know who your ideal client is, you can probably guess where they hang out online. For example, ambitious professionals are likely to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. ESG investors probably read environmental blogs and magazines.
Your content matches why people come there. Instagram is a fun, visual space. Your whitepaper probably won't play well there. But a short video or a splashy graphic? Definitely.
You invest only in channels that you can keep active. Imagine a prospective client finding your firm's Twitter profile and seeing that the last post was from 2016. They might assume you're out of business or that your website is a scam. Up-to-date, engaging online spaces show prospective clients that your business is active and ready to serve them.
Your website is more important than you think
Every business knows it needs a website, but many RIA firms do the minimum—a few statements, a basic rundown of services, bios, and contact information. That's a good start, but for many content marketers, a firm's website is the central hub of their content strategy.
Your website offers:
- A central place where all information and content can be stored. Anyone looking for a video they saw on LinkedIn or more information about your investment strategy can find it on your website.
- Links that can be shared anywhere. Social media, emails, even print material can contain links that help current and future clients learn more or take action.
- Opportunities to be found by prospective clients. Every page on your website contains keywords that could help your firm show up in a Google search. The more valuable content on your website related to your firm and the services it offers, the more likely someone will find your website when searching for an advisor.
- Lead generation possibilities. Pop-ups can gather email addresses, forms can collect prospect information before providing access to white papers or webinars, tools and calculators can inspire prospective clients to ask additional questions. A website that efficiently and accurately feeds information to your customer relationship management (CRM) system can accelerate your business development efforts.
- Control over your content. While social media limits the kind of content you can post and how you can post it, your website is versatile and can be modified to meet your specific needs.
- Useful data. With Google Analytics, a free tool offered by Google, your firm can learn a lot about who's coming to your website, how they're finding you, and what they like. Read "Are Prospective Clients Visiting Your Website?" to learn more about what Google Analytics can do.
For more on websites read "How to build a better RIA website."
How will you stay organized?
Creative content succeeds with organization and execution. To make sure you maximize the value of your content and keep your online channels active, consider:
- Creating a calendar. Make sure your calendar shows both what's active right now and a campaign arc of weeks or months. Color coding can help, especially if you're running multiple campaigns on multiple channels. Not only will your calendar help you make sure your content gets created and published on time, it can also show you when there are gaps to be filled or mark important dates in your community.
- Establishing cadences. How often will you send emails? Or post to social media? How often will you create a new video or publish articles? Establishing cadences based on how frequently your audience wants to hear from you can help you make sure that you aren't bombarding your audience with content or going quiet for long periods of time. Experimenting and checking engagement data can help you determine the right cadence for each channel.
- Looking for crossover potential. You made a video, now how will you get it out to your audience? You can embed it on your website or link to it in an email, but is there more? What if you took stills from your video and turned them into social graphics? Or wrote an article for your blog based on the video. Often, there are many ways you can repurpose your content.
- Determining roles. Is one person responsible for all content creation or are some advisors also contributing blog posts or social media content? Deciding who does what and when can prevent confusion. And if multiple people are responsible for creating or publishing content, make sure one person is a project manager who can keep track of the calendar and make sure content is ready when it's time to go live.
- Feeding leads into a CRM. Your marketing is only as successful as its ability to attract and retain clients. If folks love your content but your business development people don't have a way to follow up, you're missing opportunities to win new clients. A CRM can help your business development people understand more about prospective clients and reach out to them in ways that are more likely to win them over.
Content strategies can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be. What's important is to understand your goals, who you’re trying to reach, and the time and resources available to you.
You already have a compelling story. People want to work with an advisor who's independent and committed to doing what's best for them. Now it's time to develop a strategy that helps you tell that story more strategically.
What you can do next
- Enroll in our Virtual Practice Management series, Forming Your Foundation. These programs will help you identify and reach your ideal clients by developing a strong ideal client persona and client value proposition.
- Consider a custodian that invests in your success. If you're thinking about becoming an independent advisor, contact us to learn more about the benefits of a Schwab custodial relationship.