Budget 2020 in Singapore means we’ve just wrapped up an intense week of content creation for some of our clients. That hectic week got us thinking that it might be worthwhile to share some golden rules for creating engaging financial content.

The following four pointers can help you create more meaningful financial content and increase brand engagement. And although some of this info may seem intuitive and pedantic, we thought it was well worth a revisit in this age of drowning in information.

1. Use numbers meaningfully: Say one-third, instead of 33%

Eager to make a mark in the world of business writing at my first job as a journalist, I submitted my copy to the editor, chock-full of “interesting” analysis and numbers. He read it, smiled politely, and said, “You know, this is classic EGO writing.”

“Excuse me?” I probed.

“You know, Eyes Glaze Over,” he said. “You have so many numbers in here and so much information, but where is the story?”

I’d gotten so carried away with industry analysis – growth rates, net profit margin, operating profit margin, and so on – that I lost the narrative somewhere in the haziness of digits. Where, indeed, was the story?

Over the years, I’ve trained myself to correct what was a classic newbie error. Numbers can be overwhelming and intimidating for your target audience; it’s crucial to use figures in a way that’s simple and relevant to their interests.

2. Judiciously balance product benefits and general information

Often, while creating content on financial products, it’s easy – and tempting – to focus too much on your products’ features and give excessive weight to these facets in the content. This approach certainly has some value, but if you don’t provide enough reason for customers to scroll down to the end of that blog article, they might never click on that call to action.

Although highlighting product benefits and features are important, it’s essential to provide some added value to the reader. Such value could include industry insights, information about future trends, and ideas on how to deal with possible challenges in their industry space.

3. Solidify your customers’ trust with thought-leadership pieces

For financial services companies, trust is paramount. Though building trust through content is vital for most industries, perhaps it’s just that much more so with financial institutions, as they are dealing with people’s money, their livelihoods. You might casually experiment with a new toothpaste, for example, but your bank or brokerage firm is another story. 

One of the best ways to become an authoritative voice and build confidence in your brand is through thought-leadership content. Talk about your products, sure, but pepper that content strategy with your unique expertise and thoughtful insights that establish your brand as a trustworthy partner.

For example, you could talk about regulatory changes in your target audience’s industry that may not have a direct linkage to a specific product.  Thought-leadership content plays a valuable role in nudging consumers deeper into the buyer journey.

4. Differentiate your content in innovative ways

In the world of banking and finance, financial products ultimately have little differentiation. If your bank comes up with one offer today, the competition can often match it overnight. Additionally, how many different ways are there – really – to tell your target audience in a blog post how to manage their cash flow?

One way to differentiate? Interactive content. A relatively new trend, interactive content is undoubtedly more engaging than a block of text or a static image. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is an excellent example of a company that’s making good use of interactive content. Through its content hub, the institution covers all kinds of content, including maps, infographics and did-you-know blurbs that helpfully pop up when you hover over them.

To best achieve trust and authority, you need a marketing strategy that’s not too “salesy”. In other words, content marketing with compelling content that takes these tips on board should be a crucial element of any financial brand’s marketing plan.