5 financial companies capitalizing on the top content marketing trends of 2018

NewsCred recently published a list of the top five trends that will transform content marketing in 2018. The list is worth sharing, in my view, and it motivated me to search for examples of financial companies who are already embracing these trends. I uncovered lots of exemplary content that I’ll file away for future inspiration. Here’s what I found …

1. Big rock content

NewsCred describes this trend as “a piece of content so epic that your audience can’t help but pay attention to it.” Candidates include white papers, feature films, interactive content and thoughtfully designed print pieces, like books or magazines. The content must be meaty, so it generally requires significant effort to produce–but it often results in meaningful ROI. Noteworthy payoffs include increased brand awareness and coverage by media outlets. If it’s gated (requires info like a name and/or email address for access), big rock content can drive leads and sales. Plus, you can break down the big rock piece into smaller bites: A white paper can spawn an infographic, blog post and bylined article.

Financial company example: Callan ESG Survey

This clearly took a lot of effort to develop: the full PDF is 22 pages. Callan wisely leveraged the content to create a blog post. The company also issued a press release and garnered multiple media mentions, including coverage by key relevant publications such as Pensions & Investments. Callan clearly understands the value of big content–this was the 5th anniversary of the survey, and the firm is also known for its Periodic Tables of Investment Returns.

2. Video content

Everyone knows video content is important, and the trend will keep rolling in 2018. According to NewsCred, it’s a proven driver of brand awareness, brand sentiment, target audience engagement and lead generation.

Financial company example: Artisan Partners

Shoutout to my former employer, Artisan Partners, who has been investing in high-quality video content for several years. Multiple Artisan investment teams have a collection of videos┬ádepicting the unique elements of their philosophy and process. It’s no surprise Artisan focuses on these topics for their video efforts: The company’s business model has always been structured around its investment talent, and the autonomous investment teams are focused on active, high value-added strategies–so philosophy and process are especially critical.

3. Values-driven content

NewsCred writes, “We’re seeing a major shift where consumers want brands to take stands on social and political issues.” Financial companies are no exception–just look at the pressure on investment companies to divest from gun company stocks after the Florida shooting. Wading into these polarizing waters can be difficult, though BlackRock and other financial entities have taken the plunge. Financial companies can choose to play it more conservatively by sticking to feel-good content. When values-driven content is done right, NewsCred says it can improve brand sentiment, customer loyalty and sales.

Financial company example: Citigroup

With its Progress Makers campaign, Citi highlights projects it has financed which enable progress for communities around the world. The accompanying content, ranging from online videos to national TV commercials and elaborate brochures, personifies Citi’s corporate values and illustrates how its ethics intersect with public issues.

4. Personalization

Personalization is all about delivering highly relevant content to your customers. Companies can jump into the deep end with machine learning and AI, or dip a toe in with interactive quizzes. NewsCred highlights Fidelity’s interactive Financial Checkup, which ends with personalized content recommendations based on the user’s quiz answers.

Financial company example: NerdWallet

Several other companies have their own financial health quizzes, including NerdWallet. NerdWallet fully embraces personalized content and sprinkles quizzes and surveys throughout its content to help readers find products advice tailored to their needs.

5. Content transforming other business functions

Content is effective at marketing your primary products–and now it’s being used to bolster other business functions, like recruitment and HR. NewsCred points to Bloomberg’s Diversity & Inclusion blog as a prime example.

Financial company example: Goldman Sachs

Similarly, Goldman Sachs has an entire blog dedicated to careers. It serves as a hub for job seekers, with posts such as “Ask the Recruiters” and “An Introduction to Video Interviewing.” The blog also promotes the company’s culture with employee profiles and coverage of community initiatives, like the technology division’s participation in a local hackathon.