Why custom content is so important to your marketing

Content can be a powerful marketing tool. It can differentiate you, display your expertise, and make you easier to find.
By Guest |  31-01-19 | 
 
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Morningstar invites thought leaders from the investment community to share their insights. Views expressed are personal and should not be construed as investment advice.

The appeal is irresistible.

You want to reach more clients and distributing helpful information will give them reasons to engage with you. But you don’t write a lot (and you certainly don’t produce videos). A company comes along and offers you access to a pre-existing library you can publish to your website, through emails, or by newsletter. It’s easy. Just sign up and you will have as many articles as you will need. Just a few clicks and that part of your marketing plan is all taken care of. Check that off the list.

But there is a downside they can make all your marketing efforts and investments worthless. Manufactured, mass distributed content suffers from a host of inherent fatal flaws.

It’s general – and general is dull. Whoever comes in contact with your content want to know what’s in it for me, not what’s in it for everybody. The more you can speak to their unique needs, the more you can draw them in.

It’s often evergreen – if the point you want to make is always true, why should I take time out of my day today to consume it? A quick search for the term “right now” on the Money magazine website yielded got 14,500 results. Magazine editors understand that if they are going to get me to set aside a little time to absorb what they publish, there needs to be a little urgency. Not everything you produce needs to be time sensitive but regularly addressing timely topics helps keep your content relevant.

It’s distributed to lots of advisers - differentiation is key to adviser marketing. If a prospective client sees the same article or video on another advisers website or newsletter they will realize you were distributing and content. It’s no longer you saying something to them. And as Robert Sofia pointed out in this article, it can undermine your credibility.

Content can promote your expertise, differentiate you, and give prospective clients a reason to engage with you. Good content often exhibits these characteristics:

  • It is specific to the unique needs of target clients.
  • It highlights your unique skills or approach.
  • A portion of the messages are timely.

An adviser I know signed up for service that sells content for client communications. Their target market consists mostly of affluent pre-retirees and retirees. A sample email that went out during this campaign extolled the virtues of systematically saving for long-term goals. After a couple months of weekly emails, the adviser asked a group of clients what they thought of the communications. Although the email marketing system documented that many of the clients had opened many of the messages, none had any memory of receiving them. The communications were so generic and evergreen they never even entered the consciousness of the recipients. The return on the marketing investment was zero.

What you get out of your content marketing (log, articles, newsletters, email campaigns, even your website) will be a reflection of what you invest in it. Go cheap and convenient and you will see little return.

You don’t have to produce it all. You can hire production help and there are ways of simplifying the content you produce (having a standard format more writing a response to an article in a publication, for example).

Content can be a powerful marketing tool. It can differentiate you, display your expertise, and make you easier to find. Just resist the siren call of a cheap and easy way out.

This post by Stephen Wershing first appeared on The Client Driven Practice.

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