I have always had a keen interest in the content marketing side of my business. The last few years have seen content marketing become more important across the sector, with everyone from fund groups, product providers, platforms and advisers looking to excel in it.
For those less up to speed, content marketing is a strategy that revolves around the creation and distribution of informative and engaging content targeted at a certain audience to bring new traffic, and therefore new customers, to a business.
Brochures and websites are early examples but this has moved on hugely. Nowadays, it is all about online – social media, blogs, videos, e-books and other downloadable or interactive tools that can share brands and expertise with ideal buyers.
But while much of the content produced in our sector is interesting, a lot can be backward looking and self-congratulatory, doing little to actually inform. For example, fund fact sheets and commentaries about past events and performance do not help anyone prepare for what may be coming in markets.
Context, opinions and assisting people in making informed decisions is where content creation should start and end.
If the sector can get to a place where it delivers this throughout the whole chain, from fund manufacturing to management to selection to advice, we will be much better placed to build trust with those who view it. It will help build awareness of our brands and what we stand for.
There are so many ways to produce content quickly and professionally these days that even advice firms, traditionally those in the sector with the least to spend on such strategies, can do so with ease.
A simple web search of software to help with blogs, infographics, podcasts and the like will yield a huge number of results for those who wish to look into the do-it-yourself approach.
For those who are less confident, there are many excellent marketing companies that will assist in the planning and production of a content marketing strategy.
As those with the key, trusted relationships with clients, advisers are best placed to deliver value via a well-thought-out strategy. Of course, many firms out there already know this and are leaders in this area.
Providing clients with engaging, easy-to-understand content has huge advantages for both sides. Clients become more informed and more confident in asking the questions that matter to them, while advisers benefit from brand authority and more enquiries and referrals.
I would recommend this approach to all in our sector, but particularly to advisers yet to set out on this journey. Help clients understand what they are doing, why they must make certain decisions and what the likely outcomes might be. Deliver this in the ways they like to consume knowledge, supplementing face-to-face time with regular, timely and contextual communications.
If we all concentrate on this, the benefits will be very clear to see.
Lee Robertson is chief executive of Investment Quorum