Advisors must connect with their audience, rather than waiting for their audience to connect with them -- and content marketing can be the catalyst for those connections.
With hundreds of online sources for quality content, the trick is sharing content that will produce content-driven interactions that are both useful to the client as well as within the bounds of regulatory restrictions and good taste.
WHAT TO SHARE
Relevant content serves not only as a standalone resource for clients, but as a connector or conversation-starter. Since these interactions are the building blocks of genuine, helpful relationships, it's important to be strategic, unique and engaging as you cut through all the noise on marketing channels like email and social media.
Here are some specific questions to ask yourself when evaluating what you share:
- Is there evidence to support the assumption that this topic interests the prospect personally or professionally?
- Does it relate to a recent personal conversation?
- Are you being strategic about the contacts you're sending it to, versus employing a 'spray and pray' method? Are you sending it at a time of day when the client has an opportunity to stop, read, think, share and engage?
HOW TO FIND IT
Technology is making it easier for advisors to find and share relevant content without it being a time-intensive, tedious task. Here are some time-saving tools and tips for advisors:
Pre-approved libraries. Many firms maintain (or license) vast libraries of pre-approved content for advisors to pull from. This a great start, especially since the content is already compliant with industry regulations, but its still up to the advisor to decide what pieces to use, whom to share them with, why they should (or shouldnt) pass the content along and when to do so.
Newsfeeds. There are a number of content feeds like Broadridge, Forefield and Bloomberg, all paid services, that suggest polished, professional material for advisors to pick and choose from. Note that this material likely isnt vetted for compliance, so theres always a chance a compliance officer will take issue with it.
Newsletters. Advisors can also subscribe to a host of daily newsletters rich in content, both must-know news and expert commentary, that are curated by industry organizations or media outlets. Again, advisors must still determine what they can share, making sure it's not licensed, but is compliant and pre-reviewed by their compliance team.
Content recommendation engines. This refers to automation software that evaluates thousands of online sources and matches compliant content to the likes and interests listed in a contacts social media profile. This makes it easy for advisors to share content that will be relevant to and develop a deeper relationship with a particular contact, and is a relatively new tool to add to the mix of more generic, broad-reaching content. These types of solutions are available from a variety of technology vendors. (Full disclosure: My company is one of those providing this type of service, as well as pre-approved content libraries, for advisors.)
IS IT WORKING?
Just as integral as the content or content-driven interactions themselves are the insights social media networks and content sharing dashboards provide. Advisors can often see how a client consumes the content what type of device they are on, when it occurs, what their follow-up actions are as well as a host of statistics like broadcast-versus-read rate.
Did the client read the summary? The whole article? Did they share it after reading? All of these factors can lead to reinforcement or recalibration of future content selection, sharing and overall marketing practices.
Bruce Milne is executive vice president of Socialware.
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