“Where playbook content marketing goes wrong is in trying to market and sell from the get-go. We have to give you, our readers, something of value – our knowledge, insight and experience – before we earn the right to market to you.”
This got me thinking about the shenanigans that come with white papers, e-books, industry research, and other pieces of digital content. To access this type of content, companies often require you to give them your personal details: name, email, and sometimes a lot more.
Companies believe that because they put a lot of work into their content that they should get something in return. They’re looking for the classic ROI. That something is the right to market to you. Because you downloaded that white paper, you now get the pleasure of being added to their newsletter, receiving invites to webinars and getting a slew of other marketing offers thrown at you. Yippee!
Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work.
Instead, it creates a barrier that’s annoying and self-serving. If I need the content, I’m either entering an email address that is specifically used for SPAM or I’m going to find it somewhere else. Forcing people to give up information to access content is a slap in the face. Do you really think your content is worth me giving away my info?
I’ve found your website. I’ve clicked around. And now I want to download your white paper. Oh wait … you’d like me to fill out a form before I get access? No thanks, I’m moving on!
Your institution may not be creating white papers or e-books, but there’s principles we can apply to steer you away from becoming one of these gimmicky, content-blocking suspects. And it goes beyond blocking content – creating content just to create content so you get more clicks is another content sin.
Whether you publish a blog, create financial literacy materials, or are just getting started in developing a social media calendar, remember this: the last thing anyone wants to do is waste their time with mediocre digital content.
Everywhere we look, someone is shouting for our attention. Banner ads. Timeline updates. Push notifications. Emails. Signups. Posts. Messages. And more.
Everyone wants our attention and no one has time for content that’s surrounded by shenanigans.
Here’s my challenge to community banks and credit unions: be the community financial institution who takes a different approach. Put your content first and your marketing second.
Stop worrying about clicks or gathering new email addresses. Start focusing on impact. Ask yourself if what you’re posting brings value to your community. If you’re just looking to increase page views or to get more leads, stop. You’re better than that – create content with purpose.
If you came across the article you just posted in your non-work life, would you read it? And actually enjoy it? Sadly, too often, the answer is no. Teams get hung up in the machine that is product marketing. Hey, it’s Thursday. Thursday is the day we post! We have to post something.
This is the wrong mindset when it comes to content. Clicks don’t matter. Impact does.
Would you rather get 100 clicks and have people read the first sentence of your article and then bounce? Or would you prefer to get one person that reads the article, feels like they received valuable information and continued to come back to your site on a regular basis to digest more?
I’d take the one over a 100 any day.
Your content should think beyond clicks and new products being sold. As a community financial institution, you are a trusted voice in millions of people’s lives. You have an incredible opportunity to talk with your customers and members. Teach them something. Start conversations. Create platforms that encourage dialogue. And listen.
Content that is educational, engaging, honest, authentic and human has the potential to make a real difference. It can build awareness. Change behaviors. Challenge how we think. Start movements. And even lead to a product being purchased.
By focusing on content that matters, you’ll hopefully create things that people enjoy. And when people enjoy your content, they’ll come back for more. They’ll download the next episode. They’re subscribe. They’ll share.
This is how people tell you that they trust your expertise and respect your opinion. It can also lead to products and services being sold. But if it doesn’t, that’s okay. You’ll sleep better at night knowing you created something meaningful that could positively impact someone’s life.
“Investing our time and energy in creating content that people want to consume is subtly but fundamentally different than creating content we want people to consume. It puts the reader/potential customer first. Our needs come after.” – Intercom
If you can end the shenanigans – the click-bait, content-blocking, analytics-driven, product selling approaches – and create content that matters, your community will thank you. The internet will thank you. And you’ll be on your way to earning your spot as a trusted thought-leader. Proving that you care and respect the community you serve.
Now stop reading this. Go scrap your latest blog post draft. Start over and focus on your community. Be real. Put your readers first. Take a new approach and start creating content that matters.