One of the most frequent questions I hear from financial professionals and marketing leaders in the industry is "What type of content should we publish?"
It's interesting, this "What should I say?" question is a challenge many people face throughout their lives. I thought about how common it is this weekend when I was giving my 13-year-old son some guidance about starting his blog. He has a passion for Disney and I suggested he start a blog to begin to share his thoughts and build an audience.
Every day my son will share some "little-known fact" or something he read about Disney or Disney World with us and yet when it came time to start his blog he had writer's block. How is it possible that someone who is so passionate and talkative about a topic can freeze up when it comes time to share his thoughts with the world?
It's simple. He's thinking that he has to create a masterpiece that will shake the world. He, like many of the financial professionals I have guided over the years, is also afraid of his content being criticized.
It is interesting however that this expectation of greatness or fear of criticism rarely seems to arise when one is having an in-person conversation. Why? Because conversations are a regular part of life. You simply move from one conversation to another with ease. Some are really good and meaningful, some are bad, but most simply fade away after they have run their course.
Think of Content Creation as a Conversation
Approaching content creation as a conversation takes the pressure off and it makes it easier to connect with your audience. Speaking of your audience....
Who Are You Having a Conversation With?
There is a reason why every engagement we have at finservMarketing starts with an exploration of the client's target market. We need to know who it is we are talking to. This helps us frame our approach to the conversations we will have with them. Think about it, if you target high-tech professionals you are going to have a different set of conversations than you would if your target market is auto repair shop owners.
What do people in your target market like to talk about?
This sounds like a basic question but it really helps to keep it in mind. People in the tech space love to talk about startups, new innovations, the futures, stock options, venture capital, and so one. While people in the auto repair business have a whole host of other topics or interest or concern to them. Invest some time listening to your target market and approach your content strategy with their interests in mind.
How Do You Want To Influence Their Thinking And Behavior?
There are three primary goals for content marketing:
- Win New Clients
- Expand Client Relationships
- Keep Clients Longers
Each conversation you have with your clients, prospects, and referral partners offline serves to influence one of these behaviors whether you are actively thinking about it or not. Whenever you are talking to someone you should be thinking about bringing on new business, increasing the share of wallet you have with existing clients, or retaining clients longer. Keep this in mind when you are creating content online and it will give you great clarity.
There Are Only Three Things You Can Do In a Conversation
"What?! Only three?! Are you sure?" Okay...technically you can leave a conversation but that would be the opposite of content creation so it really doesn't count in this context. As far as content creation is concerned there are only three things you can do. All you have to do is choose one and proceed.
1) Start a Conversation
You do this all the time. You decide that you have a question to ask or a topic you would like to cover and you start talking. You can do the same with your online content. Think about the blog post you are reading right now. This is an example of a conversation starter. I wanted to talk about something that I think is important to you and other members of my audience. So, I sat down and started typing. I hope you find it interesting and it will cause you to...
2) Join the Conversation
If you are like the majority of people living in the digital world you are likely spending a lot of time consuming content online. Whether it is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, podcasts, or elsewhere. Here's a trick, when you see something interesting join the conversation by writing about it, recording a video or podcast, or simply share it with your audience with a quick comment to introduce the conversation to them.
There is a never-ending stream of content being produced and distributed online. You don't have to be the one who starts every conversation. Sometimes you can add more value by curating the good stuff and adding your two cents.
3) Change the Conversation
Sometimes...okay often times... people are focusing on the wrong thing. Maybe it's taxes or Bitcoin or what the Fed is doing with rates. Whatever it is, you can do your audience a great service by steering the conversation back to what's really important to them. As a trusted advisor to your clients, you have the ability to influence their thinking and behavior in ways that help them achieve their goals. When you see the conversation going in the wrong direction you can help keep them on track.
Think about your time online as being similar to attending a networking mixer. You are going to be in an around a lot of conversations. The goal isn't to be a genius. It's to be relevant. You want people to see you, recognize that you had something interesting to say, and remember you when the time is right.
Was this helpful? Did I miss something? What are you thoughts? Let me know in the comment section below.