* 17 YEARS *

Not too long ago, I was on the phone with a prospect of mine who owns a financial advisory and wealth management firm in the southern part of the United States. He actually became a lead thanks to my own content marketing efforts – he read an article I wrote in a well-known online publication targeting financial advisors and, a short time later, he scheduled a strat call via a Calendly link in the upper-right hand corner of the homepage of our site.

Naturally, when we were discussing certain efforts that he could take to expand his own operations, a content marketing financial advisor push was right at the top of my list of suggestions. After all, it clearly worked for me, many of my other clients, and I knew it could work for him, too.

“But that’s not what I mean when I say I want you to help me with my marketing,” he said to me. “That’s writing, that’s different. Shouldn’t we be doing Google ads, Facebook ads, or videos on social media and all sorts of things like that?”

Sure – but none of that makes content marketing any less important.

What is Content Marketing, and How Does It Help Drive Traffic and Leads?

When people think of the term content marketing, they usually call to mind blog posts, white papers and similar long form, text-based pieces of that nature. In reality, content marketing can be practically anything – from that well-written blog on an important industry topic to Infographics, quizzes, how-to articles and even video.

But the key thing to understand is that for niche audiences like financial advisors and wealth management firms in particular, content marketing doesn’t just work – it works incredibly well. According to one recent study, year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is a massive 7.8 times higher for content marketing leaders compared to just followers. Not only that, but the same source also revealed that a full 61% of customers say that their buying decision is absolutely influenced by the custom content they consume prior to making a purchase.

The more content you post, the more likely you are to start finding yourself on page one of Google for a particular keyphrase. As that content is shared on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn, you’re also more likely to start exposing yourself to a wealth of new potential customers that you wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.

When you actually get started creating that content, the key targets you’re trying to hit involve being as educational and as authoritative as possible. Your customers have questions about important financial advisory and wealth management topics. You have the answers. By giving those answers to them in the form of content, you’re providing them with something that a simple banner ad never could:

Information.

Make no mistake about it – that’s a lot more valuable than people realize. The more content you create, the more likely you are to build trust in their eyes. A lead may not be ready to pick up the phone and call a wealth management firm today, but you can bet that when that day DOES arrive, yours is one of the first numbers they go to.

The Major Types of Content Marketing Financial Advisor and Wealth Management Firms Can Use

As stated, blog posts, white papers and other longer forms of written content are a great way to start wading into the proverbial content marketing pool. You’ll absolutely want to vary your content format selections up so that you prevent things from getting stale. Luckily, there are more than a few formats you can use to do precisely that.

Think about all of the financial advisory and wealth management data you wade through on a daily basis. Infographics are a perfect opportunity to not only share that data with your target audience, but to do so in a way that is A) easy to understand and B) inherently visual. People always have an easier time understanding complicated ideas when they’re presented visually – it’s just how the human brain works. Part of the reason why Infographics are so popular on social media in particular is that they take complicated ideas and present them in a way that is easy to digest for just about everyone. This is absolutely a fact that you can use to your advantage.

Along the same lines, you should absolutely experiment with  more interactive forms of content marketing, too. You could add a quiz to your website about retirement preparation, for example, helping people to see exactly what they need to do before that big day arrives AND that lets them know that if they need help, you’re there. Financial calculators would also be a perfect way to show people what they need to do to save for retirement, the purchase of a new home or any other major life events.

Video content marketing is also a viable way to get the right message in front of the right audience at exactly the right time. You could take five minutes to discuss current events related to wealth management, for example, or sit down with a thought expert and pick their brain about important topics that your audience members care about.

You can even take that video content and host it on a site like YouTube for free. The more content you create, the more opportunities you have to get into contact with new leads who care about what you have to say.

Additional Content Marketing Best Practices

Regardless of the specific type of content marketing format you’re trying to leverage, there are always a few key best practices that you’ll want to keep in mind.

For starters, resist the urge to write about anything and everything. As is true with the rest of your financial advisor marketing, you need to focus your efforts on those core topics that the members of your target audience actually care about.

This means that you need to research what people are already searching for so that you can provide your own unique take on those topics. Pay attention to keywords in your industry that generate a lot of traffic or important wealth management news pieces that people are already following. Look carefully at the conversations that your target audience members are having on social media. Do you see one particular problem come up time and again that you can address by way of a blog? Is there one common question that people seem to have that you can shed light on once and for all? These are the ways you need to be thinking to make sure you don’t just end up with high quality content, but content marketing collateral that is also as RELEVANT as possible.

This is why content formats like how-to articles work so well. Not only are you again positioning yourself as an authority that is to be trusted, but you’re helping to make someone’s life better by showing them exactly what they need to do to accomplish their goal. More than that, you’re also doing so for “free” – at least from the perspective of your lead. They didn’t need to buy anything to get access to your blog – it was right there on your website for all to see. This alone can often make the difference when people are searching for brands to do business with.

Likewise, you should always take great care to use plain, simple English whenever possible. Financial advice and wealth management topics are naturally complex – it’s your job to take these larger ideas and put them into terms that absolutely anyone can understand. Don’t talk down to your audience, but don’t assume they’re the expert that you are, either. Try to strike that line right in the middle of those two ideas, explaining topics with a high degree of clarity while still being authoritative and educational at the same time.

On the topic of being as authoritative as possible, you should ALWAYS run content past your legal team before it goes live. Yes, you’re an expert in your field – but experts can make mistakes, too. You want to make sure that you’re giving accurate, actionable advice that is easy for people to follow and that you’re NOT conveying any information that people can’t ultimately use, or worse that will harm their long-term financial goals. Running your content past your legal team is a great way to do exactly that.

Finally, make sure that you’re actually promoting all the content you’re creating on social networks and via channels like email. The most objectively powerful, well-researched and valuable piece of content marketing ultimately won’t mean much if people don’t actually know it exists.

When you write a new piece of content, promote it on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Send out an email letting your existing customers know that a new blog just went live and encourage them to share it if they like it. In terms of your content marketing financial advisor efforts, you’re still selling – only you’re not focused as much on selling your products and services as you are about selling yourself.

None of this is to say that other marketing opportunities like pay-per-click advertising and similar techniques aren’t worth your time. All of these things have a place as a part of your inbound and outbound marketing efforts. It’s just that in the modern era, people don’t like to be “sold to” any longer. Your leads have less patience for “commercials” than ever and traditional sales techniques are far too easy to ignore.

Content marketing is a perfect opportunity to get around that fact, making a positive impression on your leads and generating more of them than ever at the exact same time.

If you’d like to find out more information about content marketing for financial advisors and wealth management firms, or if you have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Christopher P. Wendt is president of Midstream Marketing, a digital agency that generates predictable leads for independent financial advisory firms. Over the last 10 years, he’s spent hundreds of hours applying the LeadGen FormulaTM, a proven method helping financial advisors generate more leads. You can reach him at cwendt@wendt.enterprises.

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