Original content isn't the first thing most of us think of when it comes to banks. But in the age of social media, content is an increasingly crucial component of online marketing campaigns, and the financial services industry has emerged as a major player. A 2012 survey by IMN found that 75 percent of financial services marketers had separate content strategies in place for each marketing channel, the highest percentage of all industries polled.
It makes sense that brands such as Citi, American Express and Mint would be drawn to content campaigns. Money and what we do with it is a powerful topic capable of sparking great discussions—you need only look at the success of CNN Money or the Wall Street Journal to see that. Finance journalism has always been heavily dependent on industry experts, many of whom work inside financial institutions. So why shouldn't those brands put their own experts to work on their own content campaigns? Increasingly they are doing just that.
Brands also see content as an opportunity to target specific customers. A LinkedIn study earlier this year found that 87 percent of the Mass Affluent—the 40 million people in the U.S. with between $100,000 and $1 million in assets, excluding the value of their homes—are active on social media. These are the people financial services companies want to reach, and a significant percentage of them are happy to reach back.
Perhaps the best testament to the power of content marketing for financial services companies is that they're embracing it despite considerable obstacles. The industry has to contend with two major agencies that regulate their media use: the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Industry Regulator Authority (FINRA).
In such an environment, it can be tempting to stick to safe, traditional tactics. So how do marketers find success with content in the face of these regulations? Citi, American Express, Blackrock, iShares, Schwab, Mint and Barclay's are just a few of the companies cutting through red tape to deliver value to an engaged audience.
To read about specific content strategies used by leading financial services brands, download the full text of "Banking on Content: How the Financial Industry is Pioneering the New Marketing":
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