Getting Con-tent’ with Con’-tent

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‘Content’ is all the rage in the new world of marketing. As a frequent content contributor, I can tell you, it can be challenging to come up with topics week after week.

Recently, I launched a video where I outlined the four types of what I call cultivate communications that you can incorporate into your marketing across a calendar year.

The first kind of these communications that you send to your “list” is what I term Self-Created.  You come up with the ideas.  While you can share technical knowledge across a variety of financial planning topics, you’ll want to balance these out with more emotional or lifestyle-oriented content. All in all, in every piece you write, you’ll want to demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of your audience’s anxieties and aspirations…that you can relate.

One way you can find inspiration is to immerse yourself in your target audience’s life.  Where do they spend their time on weekends?  Go there, observe.  Where do they eat out?  Go there, eavesdrop.   If you happen to be in the same life stage as your ideal clients, then open up your eyes and notice.  Topics abound!   I bet you can spot topics that fit the bill all day long.  Start writing them down!   Remember to keep up with blogposts, articles or regular emails. You only need about 500 words per piece.

Case in point:  My financial planning practice focuses on expectant parents and families with young children.  I just spent a week with my younger sister and her husband, first-time parents of a one-month-old boy. Having gone through that “newborn” experience twice myself, you can imagine I was quite eager to help out and provide much needed household support while they adjust to their new life.

What’s interesting about the experience, besides my beautiful nephew, was all of the article topics I discovered just hanging out at their home.  A few examples:

  • Excerpts from the white board on the fridge:  “Thank you cards, humidifier element, hard boiled eggs, sesame oil.  Life insurance.”   Topic:  CHECK LIFE INSURANCE OFF OF YOUR LIST – 3 PHONE CALLS TO GET THE JOB DONE.
  • A stack of bank statements and bills piled up on their kitchen table.  Topic:  HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN FIND TIME TO EAT.

Because I was helping with the diaper changing, bottle feeds, and other middle-of-the-night interruptions, I relived a touch of “newborn tired,” a sleep deprivation that jolts the soul.  Five nights was all I needed to reconnect with that survival mentality that my clients experience.  If you can tap into those feelings of your audience, you can greatly expand your range and perspective of content.

Flooded with memories, I jotted down ideas to weave in:  my famous swaddle technique, healthy meals you can prepare in 15 minutes, how to get out of the house before 3:00pm.  Remember, content does not always have to be financial; you can write about any topic that matters to your audience as you are building rapport and connection.

One last idea I had for my planning practice:  Video training modules for moms to watch while they nurse!  My sister watched countless reruns of Friends and Newhart while I was visiting.  Alas, you always want to know your audience.  I’m pretty sure I’d lose out to Ellen.

Kristin Harad, CFP®
Marketing trainer for advisers
San Francisco

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