Your B2B fintech is building exciting products, employs forward-thinking people and has strong views on the future of the industry. Now, you want to tie it all together and publish content to support these big ideas – but how should you go about it? The answer starts with having a rock-solid content strategy.
It sounds obvious – what company wouldn’t be strategic about a core aspect of their marketing? – but it’s a more complex exercise than you might think. Are you producing content at a consistent, logical cadence? Identifying and accounting for the preferences of your readers? Maximizing use of your existing materials and internal talent? Aligning your approach with key strategies and goals? If you answered no to any of those questions, there’s likely more you could be doing in terms of content strategy.
While there is a content component to just about every marketing function, for the purposes of this article, content refers to materials published under a firm’s own name that are designed to engage and educate a target audience, but that go beyond more foundational and day-to-day elements like website copy, short-form social media and email blasts. Think blog posts, op-eds, whitepapers, case studies, long-form social media, podcasts and webinars.
Content can support business development in myriad ways, but whatever its purpose, having the right strategy is key to getting maximum mileage out of your efforts. It also helps ensure that the content you’re producing is aligned with other marketing functions, and that all aspects of a given campaign are working in concert to meet institutional clients and prospects with relevant, impactful communications that inspire them to take the next step. Content strategy makes your marketing more effective, full stop.
Curious about just how impactful content strategy can be? Interested in some practical tips to make sure your strategy has you covered? If so, read on.
Content Strategy: A Subset of Marketing Strategy
As we alluded to, content should never exist in a vacuum – it’s just one component of the larger marketing and business development effort. This means that before starting on heavy content strategy work, your firm should have a few basic elements in place.
First, it should have a clear vision for its business. Are you looking to share your product far and wide, or deploy it strategically to just a few highly engaged clients? Do you want to engage clients or prospects? Are you trying to simply build out your contact list, or do you want to set up as many sales calls as possible? Is winning new clients your main focus for the year ahead, or would recruiting top talent be more impactful?
In addition to this strategic direction, your company should have a strong brand that can be expressed and reinforced in all your communications and materials – a consistent set of key messages, a sharp-looking logo and visual brand, a compelling website, etc. With these brand elements serving as the “source code” of your marketing efforts, you have everything you need to ensure your content is reinforcing other program areas, and vice versa.
The rest of this article assumes that your company has a firm overall strategy and brand to drive its marketing efforts. In the next section, we’ll explore some of the basics of content strategy and tips on how to translate them into marketing success.
Tip #1: Maintain a Content Calendar
Decisions around what and when to publish can be highly complex, and it’s all too easy to lose sight of the overall campaign when you’re focused on day-to-day execution. Maintaining a content calendar can solve these issues and more.
It doesn’t need to be anything complicated – something as simple as a spreadsheet with a list of topics, authors and target publication dates can have a powerful impact in terms of organization. By planning in advance, you can make sure you’re publishing at a consistent frequency so that readers come to expect your content. You can also tackle topics in a logical sequence – for example, starting a campaign with the most high-level view of a given issue, or taking your audience through a complex problem step by step.
This level of planning is also the best way to ensure your content is aligned with other important timelines and priorities. Will your salespeople need support following a big product launch? Are there time-sensitive hiring quotas you need to reach? Any industry events that might warrant a curtain-raiser or recap piece? Have your media contacts sent you any editorial calendars that might be worth accounting for? A content calendar can help you keep track of key considerations like these.
Tip #2: Cater to Your Audience
“Form follows function” is a time-tested principle in the world of design, but it also applies to content. Having the right content strategy requires more than just giving your audience the right information – it’s also about doing so in a way that reflects who they are and how they want to be communicated with.
For example, is your audience composed primarily of developers and technologists? If so, more technical pieces like case studies and in-depth product blogs should be a key part of your efforts. Conversely, if you’re looking to reach the C-suite, consider more thematic pieces that focus on the business impact of what you offer. In addition to topic angles, considerations like length and medium (written vs. audio/video) can be highly audience-specific. Engagement metrics, surveys and industry reports can all be great sources of intelligence on how to best reach your target audience.
Tip #3: Make the Most of Your Resources
One key aspect of content strategy is identifying the most efficient, reliable ways to produce impactful content. That means you should strive to get as much value as you can out of the resources at your disposal.
A big part of this is leveraging previously published materials to inform future content efforts. For example, if your firm published a highly technical, multipart whitepaper last year, consider producing a series of blog posts inspired by the existing report. If you’re already producing a case study on a successful integration, why not ask that client if they’d be willing to appear on a follow-up webinar? You can include excerpts from past posts in new articles, or even just link to them. The holy grail is to produce content that offers new and distinct ideas while reinforcing the positions you’ve taken to date.
In the same vein, you should consider the expertise and public profiles of your executive team and senior employees and let that help guide your content efforts. For example, if your head of sales is regarded as an expert on a particular issue, you should make it a point to produce content that lets them shine – it will drive engagement and bolster your firm’s credibility. On the other side of the coin, if your CEO isn’t a well-known name in the industry, consider making a special effort to ghostwrite bold thought leadership and raise their profile.
Conclusion: From Strategy to Action
These are just a few tips B2B fintechs should keep in mind when determining their content strategy. There are many more considerations at play, but these core ideas – accounting for timing, sequence, alignment, audience and existing resources – provide a solid foundation.
This groundwork is a crucial prerequisite for content production. With the right strategy in place, you can focus more fully on the content itself. In future articles, we’ll explore how to put your plan into action, from building an actual content calendar to finding the right resources to execute on the topics you map out.
If you’re interested in how Forefront Communications can help with any aspect of the content process, from strategy to execution, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.