Damian Garthwaite, Head of Marketing, Prime Financial Group, and ICON member
In our professional services industry, effective content marketing provides useful information for prospective customers who are engaging with a brand. The content is important as it gives a more detailed insight into our abilities than above-the-line advertising can, aiding customers through their purchasing journey.
However, ‘content marketing’ has become something of a cliché. It joins other overused marketing terms such as ‘we need to take a holistic approach’, ‘utilising big data’ and ‘just Photoshop it’. So we need to make sure we’re doing it well to add value.
Audiences view the quality of our content in the same way they judge the quality of our website or professional performance. They are also becoming very savvy at picking out a sales pitch from what is useful and prepared with them in mind. So, it’s crucial to be sharing relevant and engaging content. Here is some introductory advice on writing, producing podcasts and videos.
Audiences view the quality of our content in the same way they judge the quality of our website or professional performance. They are also becoming very savvy at picking out a sales pitch from what is useful and prepared with them in mind.
Many of the articles I have worked on are informative, advisory-focused articles that are prepared by working closely with a specialist Partner or Director.
Informative articles tend to be articles that begin with “How can I…”, “What if I…” and “Points to note about…” and aim to show expertise in solving some of the problems audiences face with some simple pointers or focused advice. A general piece that reads like a promotional brochure won’t be valued by readers and you’ve wasted your time as well as that of someone with a high hourly rate.
These articles take time, more than any of the other content types to prepare. I usually need to set aside three to four hours in total with a senior technical or subject specialist to research and start writing an article. You want to make sure that you get a good ROI on that time, so the final content should represent the effort you have put into creating it. To do this you can use a professional editor and keep in mind the desired value and purpose of the article, so it doesn’t get derailed during the often-laborious editing and approval process.
Videos are usually not as detailed as informative articles. They can also be more engaging, but you must consider the visual and aural elements.
Preparation is important when creating a video; work closely with the subject specialist to create a script that is clear and simple. The most engaging video presentation is when complex concepts are presented in simple language with on-screen infographics explaining the complex details.
If you have the budget – seek out training from a professional if you are speaking or if someone is speaking for you. People sometimes get uncomfortable in front of a camera, so don’t record anything when there are more than three people in the room or watching the recording. You may not think that you need help but when the lights go on and the cameras starts recording, it will be worth the time and money spent, an anxious presenter is obvious to the viewer. That extra training will help you or your presenter be more confident and persuasive in fewer takes.
Podcasts are returning to favour, so it’s a great medium to engage audiences. However, if you want to your message to get through and to establish a following from your professionals, podcasts must be easy to listen to and feature great content in every episode. Like any other form of content marketing, remember not to turn it into an ad – you’re presenting information and an opinion, not a pitch. Also keep the production values high.
Quality content is exceptionally valuable, but as the delivery of content needs to continue to develop instep with the latest technologies such as Voice Search via Google Now on Android, Siri from Apple and Cortana from Microsoft so should yours.
Your content should also be incorporated into other business development efforts that your firm is undertaking. For example, your content could be offered to appear on client or industry association blogs. And always tailor your content to suit the information audiences need to help them make an informed decision about your brand.
Finally, try to make your content easily accessible and up to date. It’s important to have a universal signoff that anchors each piece to your brand and you. It could appear in the footer of an article or a voice over at the end of a video or podcast but make sure it is there in every piece of content you create.
Damian is the Head of Marketing at Prime Financial Group, which provides accounting & business advisory, wealth management and capital services across Australia. He has been an ICON member for more than two years.