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Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

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7 Steps to Building a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in Banking

Content marketing is an important part of creating a powerful experience in banking. Done well, it can help attract, inform, and engage your target audience.

Content marketing has become popular in banking because it’s a way to provide insight without selling, building trust and loyalty that reinforces a financial institution’s brand. The types of content that can be created are vast and the sharing of content can go far beyond a bank’s website.

My guest today on the Banking Transformed podcast is Joe Pulizzi, the author of the 7 books, including the best-selling book, Content Inc., and is the founder of The Tilt. Joe shares what it takes for banks and credit unions to succeed with content marketing.

Jim Marous:
Hello, and welcome to Banking Transformed, the number one banking podcast. I'm your host, Jim Marous, Founder and CEO of the Digital Bank Report, and Co-publisher, the Financial Brand. Content and marketing is an important part of creating powerful experiences in banking. Done well, it can help attract, inform and engage your target audience. Content marketing has become popular in banking because it's a way to provide insight without actually selling. Building trust and loyalty that reinforces a financial institution's brand. The types of content that can be created are vast and the sharing of content can go far beyond the bank's website.

Jim Marous:
My guest today is Joe Pulizzi, the author of seven books, including the best selling book, "Content Inc". He's also the founder of The Tilt. Joe shares what it takes for banks and credit unions to succeed with content marketing. Content including blogs, articles, web copy, video, and much more can be extremely powerful to help you connect with consumers, generate leads and drive sales yet more than 50% of banking organizations say they need to do better.

Jim Marous:
So Joe, as with so much terminology in the banking and marketing today, it probably makes sense to first define what content marketing need before we dig into how finance institutions can do it better. So what is your definition about content marketing?

Joe Pulizzi:
Sure Jim, glad to be here. It's interesting, content marketing has been around for hundreds of years, but it's sort of taken on a life of its own in the past 20 years. So if you think about most of the money in marketing has gone to advertising, to interruption, but instead of that, we're looking at, "Hey, we're going to create content information." We're going to target a very specific audience and instead of interrupting them with an ad on somebody else's channel, we're trying to create our own channel.

Joe Pulizzi:
So this is our own blog, our own YouTube channel, our own E-News letter. And we want to create valuable, relevant, compelling information on a consistent basis to that targeted audience and hopefully if we do that consistently over time, we can build relationship with them. They'll come to know like and trust us. And if they come to know like and trust us, hopefully if it works out well, they'll end up buying something from us or staying longer as customers or becoming even better customers increasing our yield if you will, if you're looking for a marketing ROI term.

Joe Pulizzi:
So, that's where we're looking at content marketing. It has still very small part. I think the overall marketing budget, especially in financial institutions, marketing budget, but it's becoming a little bit more important every year as we see it's harder to break through all that clutter out there. So a lot of organizations are saying, how can we break through all that mess all that clutter and reach our target audience and then positively affect that target audience with the information we're sending instead of just, "Hey, here's our new product. Here's our service. Here's a new account you can open. Please do that." We're really trying to give them something that's going to help them live a better life, get a better job.

Jim Marous:
So why is content marketing more important today than ever? How did the pandemic impact the consumption of content?

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, it's been going on. This is a progression for a long time. I mean, if you look back in the 70s and 80s, you only had a few places that people went for information. You only had three or four channels on television. You only had a couple major newspapers in the trades. You only had two or three major magazines. So you could say, "Oh, I know where and how my customers are getting information. Great. I can just put an ad there and I can reach all of them." Because if you said, how should I market my products and services in the 60s and 70s, I would say by television advertising, best thing you can do.

Joe Pulizzi:
Well today, you cannot do that. If you look into your market, your particular market, where your audience is hanging out, they're all over the place. They're on, of course, they're checking things on Google. They're on Netflix. They're using Amazon Prime. They're on 17 different blogs. They're getting 20 different newsletters. They're checking out TikTok. They're everywhere. So you're saying, okay, are you going to advertise that way? Very hard to even... And it's even harder to programmatically advertise to them today and to interrupt their experience somewhere. So you'd say, "Okay, it might actually be easier, takes a long time, takes some investment, but it might actually be easier to say let's put our investment dollar as we know who our audience is. We know we can reach them. Why don't we create an opt-in relationship with them?"

Joe Pulizzi:
Let's just say through a newsletter so that if our newsletter is so good and they open that newsletter, say on a weekly basis, I don't have to go out and rent other people's channels. We have our own channel, our own opt-in one-on-one relationship that we can build our audience. It just seems like Jim, if we had to start from zero today and we had nothing in the past, we had no advertising. We had no content marketing, nothing would we say, "Okay. I'm starting from nothing and then I'll go interrupt those audiences." No, you'd say, "Where's my audience at? How do I build a relationship with them? Let's go do that." Okay. Well, how do you build a relationship with them without selling them something first, you can do that today through audio content, video content, textual content, then you need to decide what platform makes the most sense to do that. And then how do you consistently deliver over a long period of time?"

Jim Marous:
It's interesting, traditionally, at least in my experience, financial institutions tend to produce content, put on their website and hope that people find it. They don't really pull people in. They just hope that if a person has a question, they'll fall upon it. How can this be done better by financial institutions? I mean we have some financial institutions, some in Cleveland, for instance, that have limits to how many times they reach out to customers that's an old presumption on what you should be doing, but how do organizations, especially financial institutions make it so people know that there's content that will related to them someplace within their website or someplace on the internet that they should be accessing?

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, it's a great point, Jim, because most organizations don't realize that if you're doing content marketing, that doesn't mean a 100% of the time you're creating content. If you're looking at what the most innovative organizations are doing in content marketing, maybe 25%, 30% of the time they're creating content. The other 70% of the time is going to promoting that content and distributing that content and working on relationships with influencers so that content can be found. So that's what I would look at and say... So let's look at the average financial institution out there. They're probably doing the 13 to 16 different things, right? They're on Twitter, they're on Facebook, they're on LinkedIn. They've got blogs, they've got podcasts. They're on YouTube. They're doing webinars. They got a newsletter. They got all kinds of stuff, right? The problem is, most of that stuff is just mediocre. I would call it mad. It's not like breaking records or anything, and they're not putting a lot of marketing behind that. So it's foul.

Joe Pulizzi:
When we go into large organizations and medium sized organizations, we look at all the stuff they're doing and say, okay, well these five or six things that you're doing, they're not making any impact at all. It's just stuff that's keeping you busy. So let's cut that stuff out. Let's take the resources, put it over here, where you can make an impact and then let's get that out in front of your audience so they can see it. So what does that mean? That may means that you might have to actually market the content advertise for the content. A lot of people don't think about that, but if you're going to use ad dollars, I would use ad dollars to promote your content so that people opt into your content. You can get their email address and then you can communicate with them on an ongoing basis.

Joe Pulizzi:
So if you're doing a YouTube channel are you going to just focus on, maybe I'll get organically found with YouTube's algorithm? No, you should be promoting it. You should pay for promotion on that channel. If you don't have really good search engine optimization from an organic standpoint, well, you probably need to pay for search engine marketing until those things are found. So these are the types of things that a lot of marketers don't think of.

Joe Pulizzi:
So I would just say, if you're listening into this and you're spending most of your time on creating that content and on marketing it, you probably have to swing that pendulum a little more over toward, I need to focus more on marketing distribution, by the way, this means doing deals with influences in your industry. Are there bloggers, are there newsletter writers? Are there speakers? Are there prominent figures have already built audiences that you can do partnerships with? You want to focus on those things too? Get your content out that way. And I think a lot of marketers just think, "Oh, I'm going to create the content and they'll find it." And the odds are no, they won't.

Jim Marous:
Yeah. So it's not field of dreams. If you build it, they will come.

Joe Pulizzi:
Yeah. Maybe a long time ago, maybe 15 years ago in Google, but not today.

Jim Marous:
Well, it's interesting because JD Power just came out of the survey. And they said that while finance institutions are really doing quite well in what we call the basics, the satisfaction, the people, the location, how well the apps work, the reality is they're doing worse and worse when it comes to looking out for the customer, rewarding the customer, telling the customer what they should do to make their financial wellness better. And you bring up a great point that if you build content around those concepts and then advertise that content, you're not advertising a product you're advertising a solution or solving a problem. And the customer will take that last step themselves if you build content well, correct?

Joe Pulizzi:
And that's what a lot of marketers don't like because there's not a predictable time period when the customer will be ready to buy. I mean, if you do this really well, and that person becomes an audience member, let's just put it into concrete terms. So let's say that we're talking about a newsletter and you're focusing on the financial needs of a particular type of consumer with a particular type of needs. And they subscribe to that and they start opening that newsletter every week and they really enjoy it.

Joe Pulizzi:
You don't know necessarily, even though you might put offers in front of them, you don't know when they're going to buy. It might be six months. It might be 12 months. It might 15 months. You have to bake that into the plan. You don't know, but the fact is you've built this amazing relationship and the odds are when they're ready to buy a product of that kind, whatever you offer, they will buy from you because they are leaning on you for that expertise.

Joe Pulizzi:
So your goal here is to focus on many different types of audiences. You're probably sending different things to different kinds of audiences. And then you have to bake in the time period that it takes to build what we call a minimum viable audience from starting an initiative. It takes about 12 to 15 months. It takes about 18 to 24 months to get to revenue. Content marketing is not a sprint. It's a marathon. It takes time. If you said, Jim, if you asked me, I got a client that wants to see results in six months, they're going to throw some money at a content marketing campaign. What can they get? I would say probably nothing. They probably would expect. I would say, go interrupt people, go buy some advertising if that's all you have is six months, because this is an asset you're going to build over a long period of time.

Joe Pulizzi:
If you build an audience that's loyal, you can monetize that audience in 10 different ways over five, 10, 15 years. I still have blog posts that I wrote in 2007 that get 500 or a 1.000 people a day going to those that are subscribed, that I put an hour of time into, but that didn't happen in 12 months. That happened in 24 months, 36 months, 48 months. So this is a long term plan.

Jim Marous:
Well, institutions by their nature have a lot of data on customers. I many times bring up the situation where I was buying my car and put out all these feelers out there that made it very obvious. I was in the market for a car. Yet even though I did all these triggers on social media and other places, I was going to buy one. The only people that ever reached out to me were the manufacturers and dealers. On the other hand, if my finance Institute said, "Hey, there's a lot of people like you, that may be in the market for the car. Here's some things you should consider first."

Jim Marous:
And they gave me content to look at, where would I buy? I'd buy there. It didn't have to be a product push. It didn't have to say, "Hey, we know you're looking for a car. Here's our rates." No, it goes deeper than that. It helps them. When I was in a marketplace for a refinance of a mortgage, it was very obvious I should be in a marketplace for a refinance. My rate was way over market value. If any organization had said, "Hey, here's something you should consider. And the easiest way to implement that process." I probably would've done it. So you discussed the model for building successful content in your book, "Content Inc". Can you provide my listeners with the key components of what "Content Inc" model is?

Joe Pulizzi:
Yeah, sure. I mean, we don't have three days if you will, to go through it. So I'll put it into some short reminders of the most important things.

Jim Marous:
And hopefully people buy the book.

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, thank you.

Jim Marous:
That's the whole content.

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, what I love about the "Content Inc" model is I've been working on this model for about 15, 20 years now. And we've talked to thousands of customers, marketers, and content creators from all over the world and found out that this is a model that works really well. And it's seven steps and the first two are all about strategy. One is, first you have to define your sweet spot as it pertains to your audience. So what I like the marketers to start with is who is the audience you're trying to target.

Joe Pulizzi:
And as you and I have already talked about, you might have six, seven, eight, nine different personas that you're looking at. You're not just sending one product to all your customers. You're just talking to one particular audience and want to say, okay, from that audience, whether that's consumers that are looking to get a mortgage, or whether that's institutional financial advisors that are going to spend a million, $2 million with you, whatever the case is, what, what are their desires?

Joe Pulizzi:
What keeps them up at night? What are their pain points? And on the other side, what's your expertise area. What's that knowledge that you have that no one else has. And we bring that together and call that the sweet spot. Jim, what most people do is they say, "Oh, that's our sweet spot. That's our content niche. That's what we're going to talk about in our videos or our audio." But they have to take the next step, which is step two. And that's called the content tilt. Content tilt is the most important thing you can do. And think about that as how can you break through all that clutter? The content tilt is the way you differentiate yourself.

Joe Pulizzi:
So let's talk, let me give you an example, like cloud computing, right? Let's say we were going to do something and we were going to talk about cloud computing and we were going to do a blog and we're like, "Great, we're going to talk about cloud computing to our audience of financial advisors, because it's important to them, whatever." And then you realize, oh my gosh, Amazon, Salesforce, Oracle, IBM all are spending hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on content for cloud computing, how are you going to break through and outspend them or out interrupt them? You can't do it.

Joe Pulizzi:
So you've got to figure out how do you tilt that content a little bit? You can do it by audience. Maybe you can further define the audience until you get to a point where you can be the leading expert in the world. Maybe you're going to say, well, I'm going to take the topic and I'm going to call it something different. Like we did with content marketing, content marketing used to be called custom publishing. We called it content marketing. We switched the conversation that worked really well for us.

Joe Pulizzi:
Marketing Automation Company HubSpot did the same thing with inbound marketing. So maybe you're having a different conversation. So whatever the case is, you want to make sure you cut through the clutter in some way. Maybe it's a different platform. Maybe there's nobody doing a podcast on what you will want to do for financial advisors or consumers. And you say, "Oh, because we're doing in an audio, we can differentiate ourselves." So step two is the content tilt. Step three is now you're going to create content. This is about building the base.

Joe Pulizzi:
And really briefly is instead of throwing your content out everywhere, you need to find a home base. Is it audio content, Textio plus image content or video content, and what's the platform. Is it YouTube? Is it a blog? Is it a podcast? It's one thing. And it doesn't mean you can't share that content on social media and be active in other places. But what we found as success stories is it always starts with one thing. It's a magazine, it's a podcast, it's a blog, put your resources and be great at one thing and build what we call a minimum viable audience, whatever that number is. It might be 5,000 people, 10,000 people, 50,000 people, depending on who you're targeting. And then you go ahead and do that. And then, so that's about nine months, 12 months, and then you get into audience building.

Joe Pulizzi:
So that one, you're really leveraging search engine optimization. You're trying to market via social media using paid and organic. You're using influencer marketing and you're, as we talked about, you're building these relationships with influencers that really make sense. And then you can start going and probably at the 15, 18 month mark, now you can start to drive-revenue. It doesn't mean that you can't drive-revenue sooner, but it does take time because you have to build a loyal audience first, before you can extract value.

Joe Pulizzi:
And you can do that 10 different ways. You can do it directly through things like I'm going to actually do what media companies do. I'm going to do an event and I'm going to sell sponsorships or I'm going to do paid registrations, or I'm going to do affiliate program, or I'm going to do donations. So you can do all the same things that the New York Times does or Huffington post does or whatever. Or then you look for traditional content marketing goals on the outside where you say, "Oh, I'm going to create a loyal audience. I'm going to sell them more products. I'm going to create a loyal audience and sell them more services." Maybe it's consulting services, or you're going to use loyalty, which is the longest running reason, the people have done content marketing for the last 100 years. Maybe it's a magazine and you want your customers to be more loyal. You want them to stay with you as a bank or as a financial institution, great.

Joe Pulizzi:
Or maybe it's, you're going to create better customers. So for example, really good case study is from TD Ameritrade has a magazine called thinkMoney magazine that goes to derivatives traders. And so they send this magazine out to traders and what they found... Took them two years to get this data, and what they found out is those that read that magazine called thinkMoney and they read it consistently every month, trade five times more than that don't. That's pretty darn good ROI, Jim, as you know. So you're like, okay, they've kept that publication going. So that's revenue. And then really the last step gets into diversification. Once you start looking at your revenue, then you can start really building out your whole media platform. So you might say, "Okay, I've started with a podcast and I've built it up. We Elton audience. Now we're going to leverage into an email newsletter. Now we might leverage into our own event."

Joe Pulizzi:
Like Salesforce has their own event called Dreamforce. You might say, I'm going to do a print magazine. I'm going to do a webinar series. There's 10 other things that you could do, right? But you start to diversify because what you realize is if you do this really well and you have an audience member that has more subscriptions to your content, three or four ways that they engage with their content, they become more loyal and they become better customers. So that's the "Content Inc" model. It's just like a media company model that we've seen for hundreds of years. But now we can do it many different ways and you leverage social platforms and reach our customers directly if we wish to. But of course it takes time and it takes focus and it takes strategy.

Jim Marous:
Yeah, you just brought it up. It's not as easy as it looks, but it's not as hard as some people think as its either.

Joe Pulizzi:
That's right.

Jim Marous:
So what are the biggest challenges you see with B2C organizations trying to build and sustain an effective content marketing strategy?

Joe Pulizzi:
So yeah, a couple things, and we talked about some of them. First of all, you have many different audience groupings. You have to focus on the particular audience you're going after. It's very hard to say, I'm targeting everybody. Those never work. If you target everybody, you're targeting nobody. So focus on who that audience is going to be. Then, you have to figure out what is your differentiation? Why should people pay attention to you? This just came out in the new where CNN+ launched and they're already deeming it a failure and they can't get enough subscribers. So here's a professional media company that said that their pay for product is a failure and they put hundreds of millions of dollars into it. Maybe they didn't differentiate it against the other news outlets out there. I don't know. So you have to do all that sort of work to make sure that you cut through and you have something different because your audience has many different options.

Joe Pulizzi:
And then the other big one, Jim, is you have to consistently deliver over a long period of time. And you see this, particularly with B2C organizations on YouTube, where they have a YouTube channel and they just upload stuff whenever they want. But if you look at what makes a successful YouTuber, they deliver it at the same time, same location, every day, every week, every month, depending on how they're going. So, I mean, I've got kids that are, have their favorites on YouTube. One of my kids has a favorite that delivers every Monday at 1:00 PM, every Wednesday at 1:00 PM and every Friday at 1:00 PM. And they've done so for five years. And that's why they've got millions of followers.

Joe Pulizzi:
So it's very hard for organization... Because B2C organizations, they think, "Oh, campaign, I can run this for six to nine months and then we can stop." Well, content marketing is not a campaign. It doesn't end. You have to consistently deliver just like the New York Times, the Financial Times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed. If the build an audience, you can't stop. Once you stop, you have a really good chance to lose that audience member.

Jim Marous:
You know what, it gets down to trust. I found this out very early in my writing when I was writing a blog that I took a little bit of a summer off because my son was playing lacrosse, history of lacrosse and doing some offsite locations and doing some showcases. And I took a couple weeks off and people thought I died. And people were getting angry because I wasn't there on the Monday that they're used to doing it. Well, as you said, now I write every Monday for The Financial Brand. You can always find me on The Financial Brand on Monday mornings. You're going to see our podcast published on Tuesdays and sometimes Thursdays at the same time. And that consistency becomes something people rely on as opposed to keep on looking for you, as you reference. They don't want to say, "Oh geez, I'll keep on going to your website every day and hope that you're there." No, they want to know that you're going to be there on Mondays and Tuesdays or whatever the days are.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting, I was fortunate, we were fortunate to have Raja Rajamannar, the CMO of MasterCard on our podcast a while back. And he discussed the importance of letting customers have a voice and how the enterprise thinks of its marketing. How can content marketing help in this mission? How can consumers help in the development of content?

Joe Pulizzi:
I think the best type of content marketing programs, Jim, are the ones that you get your customers involved in the content production process. Absolutely the best. I mean, it's almost like I want testimonials, right? Everybody wants testimonials. Well, if you have somebody create a video piece of content, audio piece of content, guest on your podcast, article blog post, piece in the newsletter, that's your customer talking about their experiences? Is that not the best piece of content in the world other than having your own marketing person write it or a writer or journalist. Absolutely, it's the best.

Joe Pulizzi:
So that's all the evolution from an audience to a community. So if you say, I want to build a loyal audience that it's all about trust you're absolutely right. Well, if you evolve that into a community where you really start to involve your audience into the things that you're doing, I don't think that's kind of the pinnacle of the content marketing process.

Joe Pulizzi:
I've been working on this for years where when we had the content marketing institute blog, and now we're doing the same thing with the new organization, The Tilt, the people that blog on that platform are people in our audience. So we have a discord channel where it's a discussion forum that we talk to our audience all the time. And somebody will bring up, "Hey, I found this, I did that. I've got this case study. This happened to me." And we reach out to them immediately and say, "Oh my God, that's amazing. Would you write about that experience in our newsletter?" And they're always like, "Absolutely, that'd be great." And so we get them involved and you know what happens when you get your customers involved in that? They like to share that with a lot of different people that are just like them that come back in and you become your audience.

Joe Pulizzi:
So I think that a lot of corporate content processes are too corporate. I think you need to think outside the box and say, 'Wouldn't it be something if we got our customers more involved." Not just the, "Okay, I want to do a move to you see in commercials all the time, I want to interview you?" No, let them be a part of the content creation process. Is that possible? Absolutely. Look at Disney, they do a great job with their Disney Moms blog. They just say, "Oh, you're a Disney mom. You're blogging about that. Would you be a part of our network?" And they're like, "Oh my God, this is the greatest thing ever." And they give them perks and they bring them to the park and whatever. And they talk about it. So can you imagine how many new people that Disney Mom's blog has brought in to Disney world? I can't even imagine how successful it's been. So I think financial organizations can do the exact same thing. It's just for some reason we're not there yet.

Jim Marous:
Well, and it's interesting because you just brought the situation that for a financial firm, for a customer to say, "Here's a challenge that I had and here's why I addressed them." It comes off a whole lot differently than if a financial institution who says, "Here's the problems you're going to have. And here's how we think you should address them." That third person voice is a lot more powerful. As mentioned that while there's a lot of talk about the potential of content marketing, most financial institutions still consider themselves very early in the developmental stage of building deploying great content. How should a bank or a credit union get up to speed quickly?

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, I think that first of all, you focus on one thing and do that one thing well. So it can be very overwhelming. Let's say you're not very good at this, let's say you're got content... I call it content, run-a-muck. It's kind of all over the place. That's that's fine. That's like most organizations. So get your act together, get your marketing team in a room, do a mini content audit, see what you're doing and figure out, with whatever data you have, what's working and what's not. Take the resources of what's not working, kill those things and put it towards the one or two things that's working and then focus on being the most amazing expert to that audience in that niche, in that location, that there is anywhere in your region or in the world or wherever you're focusing.

Joe Pulizzi:
I don't think it's too much to ask. I always think if you're going to do this, you might as well be the best. I always thought when I grew up in trade publishing, it's like, who wants to start the fifth best magazine in the industry? Nobody. And today the fifth best wouldn't even get any audience. So I would start there and focus on, you could do that. And I think what you got to remember, Jim, you've got to set some goals for this. And I would set some three to five-year goals because what you're going to see in three to five years, whether you're a credit union or bank or other financial institution, somebody's going to take the lead on this and become a major media platform. Like if you look in Scandinavia, Jyske Bank is one of the leading financial television stations in Scandinavia and it's from a bank.

Joe Pulizzi:
24-hour bank news. They've done like a CNBC thing. They decided that their one channel was video and they committed to it. And it took them a long time to get there. But now they cover all the trade shows and they go out to their customers. They do all the things we're talking about and they're a bank. So you say, well, who's the number one for financial media institution in that area? You'd say, "Well, it's not a media company. It's a bank."

Joe Pulizzi:
I think that's what we need to see. There's no reason why banks can't be the leading media properties in their niche. They just haven't thought of it that way. So if you're a chief marketing officer, yes, you want to drive all your ROI, all your numbers, all your new customers, your loyal customers, your new products and whatever. But how can you do that best over a long period of time? I think you build many different loyal audiences. You start looking at it on a portfolio. If you look at what Salesforce and what HubSpot and what other technology companies are doing. Apple, Amazon, Google, they're all huge media companies now. Just people don't look at it that way. And that's why I think we've forgotten. And it's the same opportunity with financial institutions to do that. And somebody's going to break out and do it. And I think it's going to happen pretty shortly.

Jim Marous:
So, Joe, what do you see as the biggest changes we'll be seeing the way consumers consume marketing and content in the future?

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, I think the one thing is our consumers are content creators as well as content consumers. So a lot of opportunities should be put if you're a banker or credit union to figure out who are those customers that are influential that you can work with and partner with. And I don't think we've thought about that before. So there's an opportunity there. I would also want to know how your specific customers engaging in content. I mean, we know that our customers are engaging in six, seven, eight hours of media a day. I don't even know how this is possible. This is crazy. Well, where are they at? Are they on Tik-Tok? Are they on YouTube? Are they on Twitch? Are they on Clubhouse? I don't know. So really figure out where they're at. I've always led by... When I got into publishing, I always wanted to know, well, where's my audience hanging out, and I want to be there.

Joe Pulizzi:
So if your audience is hanging out on certain platforms with certain bloggers, with certain YouTubers, how can you partner with those people and be part of their content process first? I think we always think especially financial institutions where like we want to control all the content and we want to do it just this way. And there's nothing wrong with that. You can absolutely do it, but maybe depending on the consumers you're talking to, maybe it's better to partner, do a lot of partnerships. So we've been working on consortiums for years and consortiums are powerful where you work with multiple organizations that are non-competitive. So can you work with a YouTuber, a blogger, a newsletter provider, and really get them as part of your content production schedule, if you will? Because some of the contents you want to create, doesn't have to go on your site and go on their site.

Joe Pulizzi:
You can be a guest on their podcast. They can be a big guest on your podcast. If you look at the most successful YouTubers and Twitch streamers around and you want to know how they grow audience, that's exactly how they do it. Like you would be on my podcast, Jim, I'd be on your podcast. Our audiences would kind of mix and match and we'd both grow. So that's where I think the opportunity is at because your consumers are very loyal to particular media sites. So you want to pull them away maybe. So do you want to steal that audience? That'd be great. So how you going to steal that audience and get them over to yours? You've got to be part of that platform first. So knowing they're hanging out and then start to build strategic relationships with those people and have them be part of your content process.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting financial institutions have this great concept where they can contact almost everybody in their database because they have the information. They have their cell phone number in many cases, they certainly have their email address. So it's not hard to reach. One of the hardest components of content marketing solved already. But one thing they forget is that it's not like you have to continually create brand new content all the time. A major part of your book is talking about repurposing and redeploying content and republishing evergreen content. So how can organizations repurpose their content in a way that's fresh?

Joe Pulizzi:
So planning. So it's weird, right? We'll think about upfront planning is the key to repurposing. So if you want to know repurposing gone wrong, what'll happen is somebody will do an article and it'll catch on. And then somebody will say, "Oh, that should have been an infographic. Let's do an infographic." And then somebody will say, "Oh, we should do a research report then." And it's all kind of clunky and it's sort of just somewhat organic and it probably doesn't go very well. And it's very reactive. But if you have a process and you say, "Oh, this is how we're going to do it. We create these sets of blog posts. These blog posts become white papers. This white paper becomes a research report. This research report becomes part of a book that we're going to release at the end of the year. And that book is going to be put into a documentary."

Joe Pulizzi:
I mean, I just made that up. I don't know.

Jim Marous:
Right. Right.

Joe Pulizzi:
But that's how we want to think. Like, I'll give you an example. When I wanted to write "Content Inc", I said, "Well, that's a lot to write a book. I got a lot of things going on. I got the podcast, I got the new business. Like, what am I going to do?" I'm like, "Okay, well let's set out a production schedule." So I said a six to nine month production schedule. And I said, every week I'm going to write a chapter. And that chapter goes in the blog and that's going to be edited down. And then that becomes one chapter. So that by the time I got six to nine months done, I've got 75, 80% of the book done. So if we think about those types of things and with banks, it's easy and credit union. It's like, "Oh great, now we want a white paper. This would be great for an infographic. We can send in our newsletter. This would be great thing to show in a mini documentary that we can put on Netflix."

Joe Pulizzi:
You can do all kinds of stuff with it. Right? So I would just say plan front instead of saying, oh, this is for that. This is for that. This is for that, which by the way can work. But while you're doing all that content, you might as well think, "Oh, this is step one to process one, but we can use this as a 12 to 18 month process and use it really, really well and get the most out that one article."

Jim Marous:
So it is interesting. The banking industry over the last several years and it go goes back even further than that. But the industry has become much less transactional. We aren't going into the branch. We're not cashing checks the way we use. We're not seeing people face to face. And so there's a much deeper need for engagement as opposed to transactions. How can content strategy drive engagement?

Joe Pulizzi:
I think that you want to make sure that you have some kind of an opt-in content product. Now, doesn't mean that you can't have a YouTube channel and it doesn't mean that you can't do a Twitch stream. Your customers probably aren't there yet, but things on social media platforms that people can just see time. I really think the holy grail with this type of thing is something like in the opt-in email newsletter that you send them consistently. That's their reminder to check in with you and you check in with them.

Joe Pulizzi:
We've seen this really successful on the B2B and the B2C side where you get some of these e-newsletters that are indispensable pieces of information that are very unique, very differentiated, they're getting 40, 50, 60% open rate. Which is not unheard of if it's truly valuable and personalized. And you said this really well, what you we know about our customers on the financial side is if somebody opens that e-newsletter and they click on mortgage rates article or something about mortgage, you know what, they're probably interested in mortgage. You have that data. You could use that data. If they do that three issues in a row, they might want to be sent your research report on how to get the best mortgage rate, whatever. You already have that going on.

Joe Pulizzi:
So I love that opt-in thing. I'm still, by the way, a believer in lean back technology and print. And the reason why I bring up print specifically, every we're talking about social media and video and podcasts, I'm a big believer in all those things, but there is an opportunity in print because as far as I can tell, the postal mail is still delivered. And most of the stuff that's delivered in the post right now is terrible. It's just spam. It's worthless. Well, most of the media magazines that were being delivered or gone. They all went digital. So you have a clear track and a competitive advantage. If you wanted to create something consistently, let's say a monthly magazine delivered. That's why I think thinkMoney magazine by Ameritrade worked because they got no competition. Nothing going on there.

Jim Marous:
Not only is the mailbox filled with crap, but there's not that much of that in there anymore. I go back to the seventies and eighties when direct mail was the thing, but man, you were fighting for space because you're getting a pack of mail every day. Well, you're not getting that pack anymore. So what an easy way to stand out?

Joe Pulizzi:
And look at what the smart innovative companies are doing. Look at Amazon, look at Walmart, look at Lego, look at Red Bull and just look at what they're spending on print distribution. It's going up. Amazon, number one digital company in the world is spending a lot more on their print catalogs now. Lego, they haven't stopped producing their Lego magazine since I think they started in 1987. And they're pretty successful. So I think that's where everyone else has stopped because, oh, they couldn't get the advertising, whatever. Well, you can measure differently. You don't have to measure by, I need to make money on this magazine. You can measure because you're creating amazing customer relationships with your magazine.

Jim Marous:
So we brought up a lot of concepts and a lot of ways to do deliver content. How should financial institution measure the impact of their content?

Joe Pulizzi:
I think you have to ask what behavior you're trying to measure, right? So the whole goal, I mean, what is marketing? Marketing is ultimately about seeing a behavior change. If you're not maintaining or changing, are you really doing marketing? Probably not. That's the goal of this. So what we want to know is start out with a hypothesis. What's your hypothesis? Is your hypothesis that, if you create a podcast and you get an audience grouping to listen to that podcast, is this a thing where you want to take that audience and create new customers? Is this the thing that's going out to current customers and you want them to buy more or stay longer? So these are the things you have to figure out. So once you do that and you say, this is the things that we're measuring, then you measure those things. And then you've got to do your best to figure out, "Okay, well who's listening to our podcast."

Joe Pulizzi:
So you got to make sure that if you have a podcast, you've got to do some kind of call-to-action. So you could figure out, okay, download this. Free giveaway here, do this here. So you can get, oh, say, oh good, this person's listening to this podcast. We know because they did that podcast to only offer. And by the way, now we're matching it up with our database and low and behold, 25% of this audience or customers and 75% are not. Wow, didn't know that. Or maybe that's exactly what we wanted. So I guess what I would go back is instead of saying, "Oh, I want this for lead gen." That's so basic. Let's take another step and say, "Okay, who are we trying to target? Why are we trying to target them? What are their pain points? And ultimately, what do we want them to do?" And then build in the two year timeframe, beyond the budgetary campaign for how that's going to happen.

Joe Pulizzi:
And when I go in and we'll do a content overview of content strategy and organization, even financial organizations. Usually, they have a six month overview, and I'm like, "Six months, what is this? You're going to build you're going to build a marriage with this customer six months?"

Jim Marous:
Exactly.

Joe Pulizzi:
No, you're just out on a date. That's all that's taken. It's going to take us 12 months, 18, especially in finance, right? We don't know when we're going to buy a house. We don't know when we're going to open a new account. We don't know when we need that loan for the new business. These things take time. And financial companies should know that. So set up the long term process to measure that.

Jim Marous:
That's so interesting because when I talked to finance institutions about content, I say, you've got to get out of your head the traditional ways of measuring thing. Because if you measured on sales, what's going to happen is your content's going to reflect what your ultimate goal is. And you're going to build content to sell. Go further back the funnel and say, okay, if you know your equations... In my business, I know how many listeners turn into how many prospects, how many prospects are into people that get loyal, how much loyalty threw them into sales?

Jim Marous:
My partner, Jeffrey Pilcher knows how many subscribers he has to have to drive this much readership, how much readership takes to get somebody to sign up for this Financial Brand form and how many people that go to the Financial Brand form become loyal as far as going to over and over again. The reality is if you get really close to the funnel, if you do, it's a traditional way of saying, what are my sales? You're going to end up building crappy content, because it's going to talk about how you want to sell them things as opposed to how you want to help a consumer. I think that is such a major thing that you brought up that if you have a short term span, how do you build trust in six months? I mean, you bring it up really good, a relationship. And this is what we're talking about here our relationships.

Joe Pulizzi:
You're exactly right. If you're limited on time and you're like, you don't want to have every step of the buyer's process down, you say, okay, what's a really amazing customer awareness content program. What's a really amazing, like right before they purchase something experience? And then, what's a post-loyalty type experience? If you get those three covered, you're pretty much set. But so then you've got to figure out, okay, how am I going to measure each one of those? And what are those things and who are those customers? And how long do I need to do this? And how frequent? I mean, what you're a little media company inside your organization. This is a whole new set of muscles you're not used to using. So it takes time to figure it out.

Jim Marous:
Well, the good news is for a financial institution. They not only have a way to reach out easily through emailing, through SMS text, if you want to, but they can also target better than most organizations can. We have more data than any type of industry out there. Let's use that to target better, to build better content that's going to be read, and let's measure how well it's read, how well it does. So finally, Joe, for financial marketers who wanted to educate themselves more on what's possible with content marketing. There's no place better to go to than you. I'll say that, I was mentioned to you before the podcast that I'm walking the dog, I'm listening to your book. I think it's for the third or fourth time.

Jim Marous:
And every time I listen, I get something else going, "Oh my God, I've been in this business long enough? How am I missing this?" And I loved the concept about the book was one of the ones to hit yesterday going, people keep on bugging me about writing a book. I go, "Yeah, it's just too much hassle." Well, not if I build one section of it at a time, do it in my normal course of doing work. So how do people find out more about content and marketing? How does this subscribe to your newsletter and how do they get your book?

Joe Pulizzi:
So thank, yeah. Thank you. Just type Content Inc into in... I mean you can go to JoePulizzi.com, P-U-L-I-Z-Z-I. You can find all the things that I'm doing, but just type in Content Inc. If you like audible or Amazon, it's all available anywhere you want to get it. That's probably where we talk about the process and how to do this and organizationally, how to structure it. The new organization, we sent a newsletter twice a week, all about content creation and distribution. That's at the tilt.com, T-I-L-T, the tilt.com. And then probably have to throw out a little bit of love to my old organization, Content Marketing Institute. So in Content Marketing Institute, we started that organization back in 2007. It really focuses on great knowledge for enterprises around content marketing. So we go check them out as well.

Jim Marous:
And I'll say that you Google Joe's name and you're going to come across more content on what you want to talk and think about, what you want to learn about. If you say, how do we measure? And you put his name into it on content, you're going to get more than enough reading and listening than you never care for because it really it's so much information you have. Joe, thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate it.

Joe Pulizzi:
Jim. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Jim Marous:
Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoy today's interview, please give our show a five star rating on your preferred podcast platform. Also, be sure to catch my recent on the Financial Brand and the research we're doing on the digital banking report. There's been a production of evergreen podcast, a special thank you to our producer, Leah Longbrake, Audio Engineer, Sean rule Hoffman and video producer Will Pritts. I'm your host, Jim Marous. Until next time, remember great content builds relationships because it builds trust through empathy.

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