Lessons in Content Marketing

By Kristin Sundin Brandt, CFMP

Below are two discussions of interest to bank marketers dealing with the topic of content marketing. I call the first “Are You Giving Away Your Traffic?” and the second, “It’s All About the Base.”

Are You Giving Away Your Traffic?

One of my jobs is to manage the marketing for my husband’s business—Steve the Bike Guy.

As with most new businesses, he is reluctant to commit any financial resources towards marketing and advertising (a topic for another day), so our focus has been on creating content to raise awareness of his location, his services, his expertise, and his involvement in the sport.

In the beginning, we relied heavily on Facebook to help promote the new Velo Studio, posting photos of the construction, creating events, and sharing regular updates. And while that helped build his following over the summer, it did little to drive traffic to his website. In addition, a review of his Facebook traffic revealed organic viewership was continuing to drop with engagement hovering around 8 percent. This drop is reflective of global trends as noted by Social@Ogilvy, and are expected to continue given Facebook’s recent changes.

With this in mind, we are refocusing his strategy with the primary objective of driving more traffic to his site, while shifting social channels like Facebook to a supportive role.

We started with a major shift related to how we handled photos. Throughout the summer, we regularly shared photos through albums on the Velo Studio’s Facebook Page, and while that afforded us the opportunity to tag friends and clients, it also created a dead end, stopping traffic from flowing to the site.

Simply put—we were giving our potential traffic to Facebook.

Our new strategy? Post photos on SteveTheBikeGuy.com, sharing the link through all his available social channels, rather than depending on one. We also looked for specialized channels which

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would provide an opportunity to drive targeted traffic to his site—specifically, posting photos of racers from local races and sharing the link on CrossResults.com (a site aggregating cyclocross race results).

Reviewing the results from the week, we saw a significant increase in the number of page views received, with growth in both new and recurring visitors.

Digging deeper into the results, we saw nearly half of the page views received came from CrossResults.com, providing us with both a new opportunity and a new challenge—how to get these visitors to do more the next time they come to the site.

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Moving forward, we are not giving up on Facebook, but, as I stated, will be shifting our use to a more supportive role (sharing links, supporting events and posting select photos), as well as diversifying through the use of other channels including Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Ultimately, our primary goal will be to build and strengthen the website, avoiding “giving away” our traffic whenever possible.

It’s All About that Base

I once read, in context of Facebook’s declining organic reach, that one should “never build a house on rented land.” The author’s point was that you cannot rely on any one channel to connect with customers and prospects, and to take it even further, you should avoid relying on channels that don’t belong to you as your primary point of communication.

Depending on a channel like Facebook is easy to do, in part because it’s so easy. It’s easy to post photo albums. It’s easy to create events. It’s easy to share, comment, like and otherwise engage.

It’s also easy to forget that your Facebook Page, as well as your Twitter, Instagram and Google+ accounts could disappear tomorrow—and with it all your content and good efforts.

That’s why it’s important to protect your base—aka your website.

“Building on rented land” is a mistake I found myself making last year with my husband’s business – and one I find myself fighting whenever he is tempted to “throw something on Facebook.”

Using a recent example, I showed him why I’d prefer he “throw something on the website,” and then share it through the other channels:

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As you can see, his post about the new Focus Road bike reached 67 users.

If we had only shared it there, that is where the activity would have ended. But instead, by posting it to his website, we opened up opportunities for additional traffic from channels including Google and Twitter, as well as a referral from Focus Bikes. We have also cued up content for additional, or repeated usage, as for an email newsletter.

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Today, the mantra for his site (and for all our clients), to quote Meghan Trainor, is “it’s all about that base,” meaning:

  •  Content will, with a few exceptions, not be created for a specific channel.
  • Content will, whenever possible, live on the primary website.
  • Content will be shared consistently on all available social channels.
  • Social channels will drive traffic back to the primary website, not to other social channels unless deemed appropriate.
  • Photos and events posted to channels such a Facebook will include links back to primary website. Screen-Shot-2015-04-29-at-9_30_57-AM Kristin Sundin Brandt, CFMP, is the president of Sundin Associates Inc., Natick, Mass., an agency specializing in financial services companies.  

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