You’ve probably read over and over again that consumer attention spans are decreasing. But that’s not quite true; people still have great attention spans for content they actually want. Things that are interesting, useful, or entertaining.
People in the internet age are far less tolerant of interruption – in fact, most modern humans have sprouted very effective spam filters, and literally don’t even see anything that even looks like it might be advertising.
Content marketing is a great way to move away from interruption marketing and build relationships and trust.
But where does all the content come from?
First make a content marketing plan
Define your strategic and short-term goals. Where does your brand place you in your members’ minds, and where do you want to be? Who are you targeting? What perspective are you writing from? Make some decisions about media and platforms, and be realistic – stick to what you can do well with the time and resources you have available.
Do some research on your website analytics, dig in to keywords, and read up on local demographics. Carefully consider what topics will resonate locally. Talk to your members and member service folks to learn more about the things real members are thinking and worrying about.
And plan to change the plan. You’ll learn as you go, so make sure regular re-evaluation is part of your content plan.
Content ain’t easy
Good content takes significant effort, and talents and skills you or someone else in the credit union may or may not have. And it takes significant amounts of time. (For example, this bit of content you’re reading right now takes four to six hours to create each week.)
Strategy-based content creation isn’t something you can shoehorn into the corners of a busy schedule, so make sure your plans are realistic for your resources, and don’t be afraid to start small. If you’re creating in-house, you’ll need to make it a priority, clear schedule time, and even rearrange or delegate other duties.
DIY or get professional help?
“Do-it-yourself or die!” is the battle cry of credit union marketers everywhere, but content strategy and creation are perfect for outsourcing.
For one, these can easily be handled remotely by an agency or freelancer, freeing up your time for directing strategy and handling your local tasks.
You can also take advantage of different perspectives and talents. For example, we’ve worked with hundreds of credit unions all over the country, so we have a different perspective. Or if you’re a Gen X-er and you want to target Millennials, you can hire a writer with that perspective.
Ideally, you’ll have a long-term relationship, so make sure you find the right agency and writer match for your credit union’s personality and target audiences.
Canned vs. fresh
It’s important to create fresh content on a regular basis. That means posting at least weekly or more often for things like blogs and videos. For shorter formats like Twitter and Facebook, shoot for daily or every other day.
“Canned” content can be a big time-saver, and there are plenty of resources available for prefab blog articles, videos, and so forth. But if others are using the same content on their websites it can greatly dilute SEO results. Canned content can be a starting point, but you still need to put in the time and effort to make it your own.
Squeeze every bit of that content juice
Good content deserves to be remixed, repurposed, spun off, excerpted, and recycled to squeeze out every scrap of value and engagement.
For example, you could start with a blog post that delves deep into a specific topic (here’s an article on solar cells we created for this purpose), then spread interesting excerpts across several Facebook posts, use a version of the article in your print newsletter, and link to the article from your email marketing and from related product pages.
This also means it’s a good idea to regularly review, update, and re-feature old content. But keep your content clean – if something is no longer accurate and useful, fix it or archive it.
It’s a slow simmer
The results from content marketing can be difficult to measure and a long time in the making. You can’t always draw a straight line between an article on baby finance and a car loan six months later.
But keep your overall goals and strategy in mind; you’re in this for the long haul. Building trust and reputation takes time and repetition. You’re trying to move from “advertiser” to “advisor” in your members’ minds, and that will take time.