Four new recruits join the Evolved Search team
People say that money makes the world go round, but what they fail to mention is that it’s also a goldmine for great content marketing pieces. That’s not to say content for the financial sector is always an easy sell.
Although it’s an integral part of our daily lives, it can be a challenge to get people to engage with more complex money-based ideas. Whether you’re looking at the inner workings of a business, tips to help with personal finance, or the damaging effects of fraud, it’s crucial to ensure that your hook and presentation are as strong as the data within your piece, not to mention the endless – and often complex – legislation that advertising and marketing for the financial sector must adhere to.
Having worked on a number of successful campaigns for financial clients, I’ve put together some advice for you to consider for your brand, to help gain the coverage and backlinks that your SEO strategy needs.
This may seem like day one stuff, but bear with me.
It’s very easy to see all of the intricate goings-on in the finance world – cryptocurrency, the stock market, corporation tax – and get carried away trying to trail-blaze a complex piece full of big stats and industry-specific terms, but this won’t appeal to everyone.
One sure-fire way of connecting to readers and ensuring journalists take notice is to focus your approach on topics that affect everyday people. Within this is the scope to focus on a lighter or more serious subject matter – here is an example of each and why they worked:
Consumer comparison content is always in demand, but this doesn’t mean the bar for entry is low. It’s anything but, actually.
One tried and tested method is to laser-focus in on a specific subject (i.e. restaurant prices or public transportation costs) and, by looking into what has worked in the past, improve on it with a stronger hook and better-quality assets.
In this case, we decided to look into the price of pints around the world. This was by no means something that had never been covered before, however, we added an extra dimension by asking exactly how much beer the average £4 UK pint price would get you globally.
Add this to clear, attractive visualisation and you’ve got yourself a piece that has proven itself to be an evergreen resource for the client, organically picking up links (over 150 with an average DA of 75) across the likes of The Sun and iNews, even after the outreach process around the major holiday seasons had finished.
Of course, more serious concepts can be explored while keeping things grounded. But again, it’s crucial to look into what affects people daily. For instance, as the UK’s housing crisis is showing no signs of letting up, there’s an opportunity for insightful financial content to be drawn from it. What’s more universal than paying the rent?
Whatever area of focus you choose, if you want to stand out from the crowd, this approach will require you to put in the research time. Both to gather a wealth of data that will be welcomed by journalists, but also to distil it down into a simple message that anyone having a quick browse on the way to work can engage with.
This was the thinking behind our piece looking at how difficult it is for millennials to get a foot on the housing ladder.
Through a comparison of regional housing data (both rental and mortgage), as well as the average millennial wage across the UK, we were able to create a clear interactive asset that lets people explore the topic of rising mortgages via a simple, user-friendly map.
This isn’t to say that everything has to be consumer-facing. There’s a whole world of opportunity in more financially focused and business-led publications. What these two target markets have in common though, is that clarity is king.
While the audience for these pieces is likely to be savvier to the complex topics you’re covering, this doesn’t mean they’re looking to be beaten about the head with jargon. Here are a couple of examples of taking a tricky topic and successfully creating engaging content marketing pieces.
Financial fraud is something that many people worry about but less really understand. This is especially true in the age of online banking and the growing data marketplace. So, it’s no surprise that many companies in the sector view this as a fertile ground for producing content.
The main problem many will encounter is that, while they include a lot of juicy data about fraud figures and information about how to stay safe online – it’s often too general to make an impact on target publications and their readership.
Our approach was to look at the headline-grabbing hub of fraud commonly known as ‘The Dark Web’. From there it was essential that we didn’t get bogged down in technicalities and focused in on how it relates to everyday concepts. The result was a piece that asked: How much do you think your data is worth?
After researching the average price that common account details were being sold for, we created a straightforward piece that highlighted the fact that your personal data doesn’t actually cost that much to criminals and how best to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.
Combining eye-catching data with practical advice, this content piece has secured well over 400 links, as well as winning us the Finance Content Campaign of the Year accolade at the UK Content Awards 2019 and Best Use of Content Marketing at the UK Search Awards 2019!
While news-jumping content isn’t always the best approach, there are times when you can add value to a conversation with a new angle and these opportunities shouldn’t be missed when they present themselves.
One of these opportunities presented itself to us when, in 2018, China’s proposed ‘Social Credit’ system was generating chatter online. While there was a lot of information out there for those willing to look, it was clear that there was potential to create something really engaging out of this story. Our approach deviated from the standard discussion articles and fact sheets and encouraged readers to put themselves into the story.
Using unique survey data to build a story of whether or not the UK would accept a similar system, we also created a quiz that let readers see how their social score would compare to other Brits.
This piece received strong link numbers and inspired online conversations across privacy forums and Reddit – especially as similar schemes are being considered in Europe which many weren’t aware of.
When it comes to cash, few topics capture people’s imagination more than the super-rich. These celebrities and billionaires live lifestyles that you and I can only dream of and any insights into this are a safe bet for creating content that people will be eager to engage with.
Below, I’ll run through two potential approaches to covering the world’s richest that gained significant coverage from relevant sites ranging from Forbes to Business Insider, as well as numerous Tier 1 UK publications.
The first thing to consider is how do you make a topic like this relate to the everyday reader? Simply listing assets and extravagant purchases (as many people do when covering this topic) might catch someone’s interest for a minute or two but it won’t elicit an emotional response from the reader.
We decided that one of the best ways to illustrate just how much high-profile billionaires are raking in was to compare it to the user’s annual wage. From here we got granular, using available public records of the income of people like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and James Dyson we were able to lay out how much they earn per second/minute/hour etc. which allowed us to create a live counter for people to see, in real-time, how much the super-rich earn.
Aside from seeing how quickly each of our selected billionaires earned what takes most people a year (in some cases, minutes!), we also created a timeline based on user age to show how they compare to what billionaires had achieved by that point in their lives – giving us two different angles to use in outreach.
Find out how you compare here – you’ll be shocked by the result – and see for yourself why this piece achieved such a high level of engagement and gained over 100 links for our client.
For those looking for a simpler approach, i.e. a listicle, it’s crucial that you have a concept that will capture people’s imagination. It’s all well and good to do a ranking of the world’s rich list or who has the biggest mansion but you’re unlikely to pique a journo’s interest with this type of basic commentary.
That’s not to say that a stripped-back method isn’t the way to go. On the contrary, if you have the right central concept – sometimes it’s better to keep things simple. This was the case with our study into the weird and wonderful ways that billionaires are planning to outlive us all, from cryonics to space colonisation.
All of this information was readily available but hadn’t been combined into a compelling narrative – having seen a market for this type of piece across relevant publications, we set about creating a piece which had the ‘weird factor’ but also enough financial grounding to be taken seriously.
Proving that less can sometimes mean more – with over 200 links averaging a DA of 70 – you can take a look at the piece here.
If you’re really struggling to get any exciting financial content plans together, where better to find inspiration than pop culture? Film, television and streaming media are big business and, when ideas around them are well executed, are likely to gain significant engagement.
Aside from there being a lot of money in entertainment, people are always looking to find out more trivia about the properties they love; be it Peaky Blinders or the latest Star Wars.
Whether you decide to focus on the corporations and studios behind the big screen magic or one of the most popular shows, there will be a financial angle for you to cash in.
It’s exceptionally rare these days to find someone who hasn’t seen Game of Thrones, which isn’t surprising given the huge buzz when a new series of the show is released.
It was obvious that we had to create a piece of content around the HBO behemoth for a finance client, but we were keen to avoid the obvious route of looking at things like cost per season, actor salaries, and revenue.
Our workaround was to look into the financial elements of the show itself to lay out how the fictional economy affected the people of Westeros from wages to the kingdom’s total debt.
This piece is a great demonstration of how to inject a financial angle into a seemingly unrelated subject matter, the result of which is a wider audience for the content and increased engagement from publications looking for new ways to cover a cultural phenomenon.
They don’t call it ‘the biz’ for nothing. Sat behind the glitz and glamour of the films and TV shows are the studios and big corporations bankrolling them.
If you keep an eye on the movers and shakers of the entertainment business, there’s a treasure trove of financial content ideas to be found. One of our pieces that followed this strategy focused on the huge proposed merger between Disney and Fox.
Understandably, there was a lot of excitement around this deal in financial and entertainment press and, thinking on our feet, we were able to capitalise on this by waiting until there was sufficient data from a range of sources to produce something more comprehensive, yet accessible than anything else available.
Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas on how to kickstart your financial content ideation, helping to make pieces more engaging for readers and, most importantly, bank you those all-important relevant, high-quality links.
If you want more information about how we create award-winning content for the financial industry and beyond, our dedicated outreach approach or wider SEO and Content Marketing services, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Four new recruits join the Evolved Search team