We’re past the days of explaining why ‘content is king’. Everyone knows, especially in these increased digital times, that content must be at the heart of any B2B marketing and communications strategy. So, whilst this concept is widely acknowledged, why are many in the insurance and financial services spaces hesitant regarding content publication?
Much of this nervousness arises from the potential ramifications of saying the wrong thing. What if your clients disagree with a statement? What if your competitors see it and copy – or, worse, critique it?
The anxiety stems from the belief that, once content goes live, the brand loses control of it. Similarly, many FS brands share the concern that social media presents an opportunity for customers and critics to post about their brand with no control over that public message.
The key to owning your online brand and content is to approach it proactively. By definition, ‘proactive’ means ‘to create or control a situation’.
Proactive content relates to the generation and distribution of any brand-related messages on corporate platforms that you can plan in advance. For example, the scheduling and drafting of articles, blogs, videos, infographics, and social media, to name just a few specific examples of what constitutes ‘content’.
Content marketing, when done well, can drive genuine interest in a brand’s products and services. To do it successfully requires good storytelling with clear objectives, distributed via the channels and formats your target audiences use. All of this requires proactivity in the planning, creation, targeting, and distribution.
In a nutshell, these are the main advantages of tackling your content marketing head on:
✓ Consistent external comms to ensure existing followers receive more of the updates they followed you for, and to raise awareness and reach within that network and beyond.
✓ A structure for your external comms – building out a content calendar of planned activity shows what is going out when, meaning you can slot your content around other business activity and prepare well in advance.
✓ Ample opportunity to review – giving your stakeholders the time needed to ensure all messaging is on-brand, relevant, appropriate, and factually correct – minimising that ‘out of control’ panic.
✓ Content that resonates – by allocating the right time and resources to your content research, you can focus your efforts on content that is likely to be relevant and impactful.
✓ Balanced brand representation – planning ahead enables you to ensure each area of your business – or at least each area defined as growth or attention areas within your business objectives – has the chance to get their stories across and reach their existing and prospective customers.
✓ Variety of content formats – last minute reactive content is usually time constrained, whereas proactively planned content means time is on your side when it comes to brainstorming and developing your content in dynamic ways. Would an infographic be most effective in summing up your key points? Perhaps your story would be best told in an animation? Proactivity makes these things much more achievable.
✓ Crisis communication preparedness – in a crisis scenario, time is of the essence. To minimise panic and retain control, proactive content can assist in preparing your brand to respond in the event of a potential crisis.
And then there are the downsides that really put the ‘con’ in content… or are there?
The main ‘con’, for want of a better word, is the associated time and effort. We aren’t here to sugar coat it; an effective proactive content plan takes a whole lot of time and effort. Coming up with a content strategy and implementing it on an ongoing and consistent basis will not happen overnight. It requires input from all areas of your business, and research before drafting can even begin. Then there is the hook-finding and sense-checking – content that is too ‘self-centred’ adds no value to an organisation’s messaging. Readers want to see something interesting, something that they can relate to and resonate with. We cannot stress enough – this all takes time and effort!
We’ve tried, we really have, but that’s really the only con we can think of when it comes to a properly developed proactive content strategy. With a hard-working team on-board who is dedicated to getting you results from your content, then there really aren’t any cons at all!
Our framework ensures your content marketing has a defined strategy that informs what you produce and how to use the available corporate communications and marketing channels.
Leave it to the pros – find out more about our content services here.