Content, content, content. Are we tired of it now?
Well, no. Your prospects are not tired of content. In fact, most need it to make informed investment decisions.
“The stark reality is that as leading marketers have traversed the path from random acts of marketing, said the CMO Council, “To a more holistic and intentional customer experience and journey. Content has been one of the last pieces to be fully enveloped into a concrete development and distribution strategy.”
What is content marketing?
Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, offers this definition: “Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
What kind of content should investment advisors and asset managers invest in producing lively, fresh, targeted content?
Here are seven types of content that the CMO Council “Lead Flow That Helps You Grow” report, says deliver traffic, leads, and results for business-to-business firms:
1. White Papers (24%)
More content consumers said that they preferred to get educated and informed with a white paper than from any other form of stuff. According the CMO Council, 24% said that white papers were the best format.
A white paper is a formal and often detailed research report on a specific topic, such as, for RIAs, a paper on the reasons to plan early for business succession planning; or for investment managers, on a topic such as the history of Forex or alternative investments. As for design, white papers are often simply just that – white – with minimal and formal design production.
2. Analyst Reports (22%)
No, an analyst report mentioned in the CMO Council survey is not the kind of report written by a Wall Street analyst on the pros and cons of a stock, bond, mutual fund, sector, or industry. But it is a type of self-published report, often co-branded with a research firm, on a specific issue relevant to investment advisors or managers.
“When marketing to highly skilled, motivated and intelligent professionals, B2B marketers need to first gain trust and credibility, “ said the CMO Council report. “They need to be knowledgeable and credible in the minds of their customers. And publishing high quality, rigorous content like analyst reports is how B2B marketers can achieve this.”
3. Webinars (22%)
22% of those surveyed by the CMO Council ranked learning via webinar as the most effective tool. Unlike downloaded content, prospects that seek you out via the webinar route can see you, visually get the cut of your jib, and potentially engage in a question and answer back and forth.
For practical advice on how to plan, host, and benefit from webinars, see this primer from HubSpot: 17 Ways to Guarantee Nobody Misses Your Next Webinar or Webcast.
4. Videos (22%)
Video content can also impact lead generation and online engagement. 22% of those surveyed in the report said so. Video helps build a personal relationship with prospects,
A video can be structured as a portfolio manger interview, client story, conference keynote, or presentation. Short is best – two to three minutes seems to be the sweet spot for length.
Just how do you create a video, or a series of videos for your website? Of course, many professional production firms stand ready to help. For do it yourselfers, online resources for video production and distribution include Animoto and Wistia.
5. Slide Presentations (15%)
15% of B2B marketers, according the CMO Council report, considered slide presentations as a great lead-generating tool. Well-targeted and produced slide presentations and pitch books help deliver leads as well. A slide presentation can of course be delivered in person, can be placed on your website as a PDF, and can be linked to on social media.
Another distribution method for presentation material is via Slideshare, a free service owned by LinkedIn. Slideshare has more than 60 million unique visitors per month, and may help convert viewers into leads. SlideShare content is generally ranked on or near the first page, of your prospect’s Google search.
6. EBooks (13%)
13% of B2B marketers ranked eBooks as the best lead generation tool, according to the CMO Counsel report. eBooks and whitepapers are close but not identical cousins, often in fancier clothing.
The length of both and EBook and a white paper may be the same, say 12 to 40 pages, but eBooks typically include more visual elements, and well, color, than white papers. EBooks are the logical free offer to provide prospects as part of a call to action (CTA) at the close of a blog post.
7. Infographics (12%)
Infographics bring stats to life. Tell stories in numbers. And can bring emotion to data. When done well, that is. What’s more, the info in infographics is easier to recall: according to a study from the Wharton School of Business, people typically remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see and do.
Infographics may be designed as and with flow charts, timelines, lists, comparison charts, maps, illustrations, and photos. You can hire a professional to create an infographic or three, of course, but if you’d like to try on your own, free and paid tools from Canva, Pictochart, and Visual.ly can get you started.
How to Stand Out
How your firm can stand out in the content war: be better than your competition, and focus on the the content that best adds value to your prospects. See below for the the content types currently preferred by content providers – the gap between what’s currently created and what your clients want is broad.
Source: CMO Council
A Final Note
All of the above content categories – white papers, analyst reports, videos, webinars, eBooks, and infographics – are not stand-alone work. Each can be repurposed, edited, and refashioned for another.
For example, a blog post may be reconfigured as an infographic, which can then be remade as an eBook, which may then be reshaped as the basis of a webinar.
The type of content you create depends on what works for your target audience or markets, and may also include fact sheets, quizzes, pitch books, podcasts, and other potentially persuasive content.
Check out these 10 tips for how to grow your investment business with content-driven inbound marketing: