Discussing bank and credit union blogs seems so last decade. While the hype has certainly died, so-called content marketing is still an effective strategy if done right (remember, less is more).
Just look at Chase Bank’s site, which went through its last major remodel less than a year ago. Once you scroll down the page (below the fold on most laptops), it’s almost entirely general personal-finance content. The section called News & Stories shows 9 to 12 articles initially, or 40 if you click on “more” at the bottom. They run the gamut of what you might see around the Web with catchy titles such “5 Food Trends to Watch in 2016” or “Three Perfect Days in the Greek Isles.”
Chase has more data scientists and Ph.D.s at their disposal than NASA, and if the bank chooses to devote more than half its homepage to content marketing, you can bet they are seeing engagement, if not yet a measurable sales lift. (While I thought they went too far, cluttering their homepage, I yield to the data).
However, the problem with most corporate-written “content” (not to pick on Chase) is that most of it – from any large organization that’s not a media company – is almost always super boring. Content-by-committee is just too watered down to be compelling to readers, who see hundreds, if not thousands, of more intriguing links and articles every week in Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, NY Times or the other big media outlets.
The best FI-sponsored content sticks to local subjects that aren’t widely available in large media outlets. There are few financial institutions that have stuck to blogging over the long haul, but one that stands out is Arvest Bank. I’ve subscribed to its blog feed for many years, and I’ve found their content to be continually excellent. I’m not in their geographic footprint, so I don’t personally benefit from their insights. But as an outside observer, I think they provide a good mix of local interest material, personal as well as small biz financial advice, and simple updates on their products or holiday hours.
The four most recent posts show up in a feed on their homepage (lower left below):
Clicking through to an article brings you to their main blog page, which divides the topics into four logical categories: Community News, Arvest News, Business Banking, and Personal Finance (see below):
But blogs and traditional articles are a tough sell, especially to younger customers accustomed to getting info from YouTube, Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram. That’s why I love the podcasts from Umpqua Bank. They have outsourced the work to a pro SuChin Pak, who interviews interesting people about money subjects (six episodes are archived on Soundcloud). The bank features the podcasts on their homepage (see main image below). The bank also posts some traditional press release news items near the bottom of the homepage (see below):
I can’t write about content market without a shout-out to Tim McAlpine and the team at Currency Marketing who do some of the best work on the planet, for example, the Young & Free campaign aimed at 25-and-unders and its newest effort, That Money Thing.