But simply investing in content creation is only the first step towards executing exemplary content marketing. Once you have created your content, in line with your brand’s predefined strategy and proposition, the next step is to work out where exactly it should live. Ideally, this should be somewhere that can be easily managed and provides a great experience for users.
As new channels and content types emerge, financial marketers need to be reactive; searching for new platforms and methods to underpin content marketing activity in the most effective way.
Fast-forward to 2017 and we are seeing more and more examples of financial service businesses adopting the use of onsite ‘content hubs’ to better-leverage their content marketing efforts.
With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a comprehensive review of current content hubs used within the financial service sector, to date.
A content hub acts as your website’s digital content library. It serves as a centralised space used to host and showcase all of your content in a way that’s clearly navigable for your website visitors.
The foundations of a good content hub are the same no matter the industry you operate in but generally speaking, an effective content hub:
Cleverly draws content from all of the channels in your digital ecosystem, creating a rich, digital, mixed-media experience for your website users.
Regularly publishes, hosts and curates content that visitors find actionable and interesting.
Follows a sleek, clear design and layout that makes it easy for users to navigate content that is suited to them.
Content hubs, adopted by many financial services companies, are most commonly used to collate and distribute articles. However, as investment in wider content activity increases, we are beginning to see changes in the types of content utilised within financial services.
Today, content hubs within financial services are generally comprised of the following features.
For a lot of brands, the newsroom is typically the standout theme used to populate the content hub. The newsroom provides audiences with reactive, timely commentary and updates on market/societal changes which affect businesses and their customers. Examples of these changes might include events such as Brexit or the US presidential election.
A resource centre is an area within your content hub that houses your brand’s evergreen content.
Evergreen content is content that has real longevity, content that your users will continuously revert back to. Gone are the days when blog posts, infographics, presentations, eBooks, white papers, videos, webinar recordings and interactive tools are lost within the ever expanding sea of new content creation.
The Thought Leadership section on your content hub showcases commentary, written by influential figures throughout your business or industry. These articles are different from your average blog or newsroom piece as they provide hard-hitting, expert analysis and innovative thinking around key touch points within the industry. Again, similar to the newsroom, examples include events such as Brexit, the annual Budget announcement or the governmental elections.
A Social Media section is an area within the content hub, generally, on the main landing page. This section aims to provide a real time feed of activity on your brand’s activity on owned social media channels, coupled with a feed that curates useful posts from 3rd parties and partners that you have selected.
This is a space within your hub that directly draws content from reputable, external sources that audiences may find useful. An example of this might be to aggregate and post Financial Times articles on a daily basis and share these with your visitors. Hargreaves Lansdowne follows a similar approach with its newsroom, curating content from the likes of Reuters, Financial Times, Bloomberg and more.
This is a destination within your content hub that pulls together content to support promotion and coverage of events within your business or key events taking place within the industry. An example of this might be to host an event takeover of your content hub and have your marketing team publish articles, event resources and social posts from the event throughout the day, providing content to your non-attendees.
This is an area contained within the content hub that hosts paid/non-paid 3rd party partner content that you want to share with your users. This is a good way to monetise your content hub and offer value to partnering brands. This is becoming more and more prevalent within the investments sector, for example - platform providers are now working with fund managers to develop and publish content for both public and professional audiences.
Whilst it is not uncommon for financial services brands to use every feature detailed above, there are best-practice examples throughout the industry that demonstrate how brands are engaging with content hubs to surface their wealth of content.
Sainsbury’s Bank has developed a consumer focused blog within their website, featuring content that provides tips across a range of consumer-finance topics across everyday family finance.
The hub mainly features videos and articles at this time, but aggregates content well across its core topics in a way that is visually appealing and easy to navigate for users.
Standard Life’s Money Plus blog now presents itself as a content hub, aggregating evergreen/standout content in it’s hot topics section, reactive content in it’s news & insights section, generic content split by product, social media curation and thought leadership content.
A content hub poses many benefits for financial brands and enables marketers to:
Content can be drawn from all corners of the digital ecosystem and brought to the forefront of the content hub to drive awareness and engagement. Content hubs are also useful for driving awareness and engagement with pre-existing content that serves a long-term purpose.
Resourceful, useful content can be organised and clearly presented to support users at any stage of the purchase funnel.
The content experience can be tailored to take audiences on a logical journey to discover, consider and purchase products and services for any organisation.
As the site owner, you own the experience. You are able to test, learn and adapt the experience for the best possible results.
As a content hub is often contained within an owned website, brands are able to gather a wealth of data and insights into audience engagements, preferences which in turn drives better content marketing and better experiences for audiences.
The battle for audience attention is rife; driving the best experiences with and the most value from your content is more important than ever. As investment in content marketing increases, competition becomes more fierce and content becomes more important to users, the use of content hubs will be an essential tool in the financial marketer’s toolkit for years to come.
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