Content marketing is a relatively new-fangled way of saying you gotta produce informative, educational stuff for people to read, watch, and absorb.

The ‘they” are your prospective investors and clients. The place they see your content is on your website, and on your blog, LinkedIn profile, Facebook business page, and in face-to-face presentations.

The first time I heard the term “content marketing” a few years ago I thought someone was pulling my leg.

Did it mean that all of the brochures, investors guides, newsletters, magazines, fact sheets, flyers, mailers, email marketing, one-pagers, performance reviews, presentations, press releases, print ads, television spots, and radio and TV spots I’d created or produced for financial services companies before 2010 or so was somehow “content-free?”

I didn’t think so.

The term “content marketing” is an effective rebranding of what marketers have been doing since the dawn of marketing. A major difference is the abundance of ways we now have of getting a firm’s message to prospects.

What Is Content Marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior.

Does Content Marketing Work?

Says the Custom Content Council: 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe the organizations behind the content are interested in building good relationships.

In a separate study by the CMI, “70% of consumers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company.” In addition, Roper Public Affairs reported that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. while 60% said that company content helps them make better product decisions.

So content is good.

How To Create Lots of Content

Planning, developing, and promoting your Fund’s content can be difficult and time consuming, especially for smaller companies that may not have the resources to hire a content team.

So, brainstorm. Have professionals think it, write it, and design it. Base your stories on your buyer personas…who your ideal customers are in terms of demographics, buying habits, and personalities.

Who Creates The Content?

For smaller firms with limited budgets, the answer to who creates the content is either it gets done in-house by the firm’s principals, or is outsourced to an agency that specializes in investment marketing. Another option, of course, is that nobody does any marketing.

How Do You Distribute The Content?

Blog it, link it, webcast it, SlideShare it…so many media distribution channels that did not exist even twenty years ago: blogs, eBooks, infographics, motion graphics, and websites, of course.

For some start-up and mid-sized investment managers, social media is a must-do distribution tool: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram. For other managers, whose prospective clients may not use social media now, these distribution channels may not make strategic sense.

Modern marketers should be effective content marketers, too. What do our potential investors want to get from investment managers (and marketers in general)?

Content marketing for alternative investment firms (and Registered Investment Advisors) may offer an effective solution that can bolster your credibility, and establish trust and inform and educate potential investors.

This is so whether you find them via the retail RIA, independent, or wirehouse sales channels, or via institutional investors and pension plans, or simply with friends and family.