We’ve spent some time exploring the challenges that financial brands face with content marketing and SEO. So, what does good financial content actually look like? From a money transfer app to loan and credit services to insurance, these financial organizations are creating content that is truly valuable for their audience.
These brands understand the importance of breaking down complex subjects to make finances feel less intimidating. Their content educates customers, all while building trust and earning more brand recognition.
[Related: The State of Content Marketing for Financial Services: 2018 Research Report]
OFX: Personalized content for all buyer personas
OFX provides online international money transfers and exchanges for consumers and businesses. While serving such wide audiences, it could be challenging to create content that attracts qualified marketing leads.
In addition, dealing with money on an international level can get very complicated. For travelers, it’s just another item they want to cross off their to-do list so they can enjoy their vacation. For businesses, learning how to handle international billing and payments could be a new area completely.
Addressing customer issues
OFX has identified key issues that their services may help solve, and their blogs address all of those problems with articles such as “How to Pay for International Contractors,” “How to Pay for an International Adoption” and “How to Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees.”
These posts provide helpful information with only subtle brand mentions. The links lead to more helpful pages on their website. For example, in this post, “What You Need to Know Before You Travel to Thailand,” OFX explains — in just two short paragraphs — what currency is used in Thailand and links to another OFX page that describes Thailand’s currency in detail, including conversions and charts. The rest of the post describes Thailand’s culture and spots to visit while on vacation — all of which is useful information for someone planning a trip there.
Guardian Life Insurance: Readable and interactive content/tools
Guardian Life Insurance helps protect families and improve well-being through insurance and wealth management offerings for individuals, employers and businesses.
The company positions themselves as a publisher and authority on the topic of whole life insurance through livingconfidently.com, a content platform separate from the main Guardian Life corporate page. “Our content approach is to help financial advisors tell compelling stories to drive conversations with their clients,” explains Erin Meijer and Leslie Kritemen of Guardian.
By separating the services page from the content, Guardian offers a less brand-centric experience. Consumers can take the time to learn about all types of financial concepts, including planning, retirement, budgeting and insurance, which are all clearly organized and easily accessible.
Information is easy to consume
In particular, the “WHOLE•ISTIC THINKING” page on Living Confidently is a great example of how to make information more interesting, readable and useful. Large statistics, moving graphics, a clean page layout and a consistent color theme make the concept of whole life insurance feel less intimidating. The copy is not jam-packed into a lengthy article or complicated brochure. Rather, it’s broken into parts and written in short sentences with bullet points and lists so as to not overwhelm readers with information.
[Related: 3 Ways Financial Marketers Create Value with Content]
Along with videos, charts, infographics, quizzes and calculators in the “tools & resources” section, livingconfidently.com offers many ways to consume information to accommodate multiple learning styles.
The data supports the page’s ability to interest readers. Since September, Meijer and Kritemen say traffic on the WHOLE•ISTIC THINKING page accounted for more than a third of overall site visits on livingconfidently.com, and time on that page is 17 percent longer than the whole livingconfidently.com site’s average time on page.
This content has helped facilitate more meaningful conversations and educate consumers on the benefits of whole life insurance, explains Meijer and Kriteman. “It has become the new standard on how we tell stories around our core offerings.”
LendEDU: Research-based studies and reports
LendEDU is a marketplace to compare private student loans, student-loan refinancing and consolidation, personal loans and other financial products.
According to LendEDU’s research analyst, Michael Brown, “A huge component of our content marketing strategy is data-driven studies. We run 2-3 polls a week on any personal finance topic and I handle this process from idea inception to media outreach.”
These studies help drive traffic to the LendEDU website, increase brand awareness and improve SEO rankings. Research also helps brands establish themselves as an authority on a subject, which helps them build more trust with their customers and prospects.
Examples of financial research studies and reports
Brown gave us three examples of reports using different methods. One research piece was a LendEDU-funded poll on investing in Bitcoin. In another instance, LendEDU used their own research and intuition to compare Walmart and Amazon to determine which company provides the best deals. Finally, Brown’s team looked at banks with CFPB complaints using a public resource and synthesized the data to provide digestible information to consumers.
The latter two were free to create — they just required time and person-power to analyze the data and put it into a presentable format. All of these pieces contain copy that explains the research, but there are also interactive graphs (with well-placed “share” buttons) and charts that users can organize by a category of their preference.
These pieces have generated thousands of unique views, hundreds of inbound links and social shares, as well as several big media mentions and high SERP placements for certain keywords. Research and studies are a viable tactic for a financial organization of any size — you just need to know what information is useful and interesting to your audience.
CareOne: Content optimized for search engines
CareOne at the top of the SERPs for keyword “debt consolidation loan for bad credit”
CareOne helps people get out of debt in a reasonable amount of time through their debt management programs.
The “tools and tips” section provides all kinds of resources to help their customers learn more about debt management, including quizzes, a “tip jar,” debt relief news, money management tools and more. One of their blog posts, Who Offers the Best Debt Consolidation Loans for People with Bad Credit? demonstrates the power of providing users with helpful, relevant information. The post is not about CareOne’s products — they don’t even offer debt consolidation loans — but their target audience will still be searching for this information.
Relevant content drives leads
Alex Swope, a digital strategist at WebMechanix, explains, “CareOne knows there’s no one-size-fits-all solution and consumers often don’t know what the best solution for their situation is. That’s why, after answering the question posed by the title, CareOne tells the user about the other options for getting out of debt, such as the debt management programs that CareOne does offer.”
This is the highest-trafficked page on the CareOne website and it ranks No. 1 in search engine results for a variety of high-competition “debt consolidation loan for bad credit” keywords with 14,000+ searches per month. Swope says the page also “drives a huge amount of leads for CareOne’s debt management programs.” For that same long-tail keyword, another post from CareOne credit appears in Google’s “People also ask” box.
“Be creative about how you can position your brand and expand the topics you write about,” Swope advises. “Anything that draws the right audience to your site increases your brand awareness and creates opportunities to steer their journey to a mutually beneficial solution.”
[Related: SEO Tips For Financial Service Marketers]
CareOne answers their target audiences’ key questions, but they also use strong storytelling to show they understand the problems their customers face. The CareOne founder has experienced debt and bankruptcy himself, and their homepage features a video of the founder telling his story. This video humanizes the CareOne brand and establishes that they care about their customers — and want to help them — right away. It’s a powerful and meaningful way to use content marketing and connect with an audience.