By Joann Marsili, CFMP
It all started so innocently when the President of the bank suggested we start a blog.
And that’s when the mother of invention kicked in…to do a blog, we needed to be able to access subject matter experts in a variety of topics on a regular basis. We would, in essence, become a publisher of relevant content. Creating the mechanism to do so seemed a very daunting task. So one of the tips learned from a wonderful presentation by Josh Linkner at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference in Denver. was to “turn something upside down.”
And that’s what we did! We had committed to a sponsorship of a local radio station, but it didn’t feel like we were getting any real value from it. We then floated an idea to the management of the station, to take that same money sponsorship and create a radio show from it. The station was all for the idea, and in fact has been a partner to help make it work from the very beginning. But it didn’t stop there. Using the radio show as the launching point, we created an integrated marketing and sales campaign that helped us use the content to create brand value.
The radio show launched in mid-January. Entitled “Fidelity Bank…On Business,” the 30-minute show brings knowledge and information to our business customers and prospects. Each show features one of our bankers talking about their area of expertise, along with a “Big Idea” segment that brings some thought leadership from a multitude of sources. The last ten minutes focus on our own customers, asking them for their “secret sauce to success.” Our Marketing Communications Officer, a veteran of broadcasting, became our host.
Topics are not limited to the products and services sold by the bank. In many organizations, the expertise to run all areas is usually pretty profound, and the knowledge from our support or corporate functions can be just as meaningful to a business owner. In our first month of broadcasts we’ve talked about the importance of local businesses, cash flow, employee engagement, retirement planning, obtaining credit, and fraud protection. Upcoming shows will discuss sales management, marketing, and customer experience.
Our guests have highlighted their own journeys to success…and given great tips and hints such as preparing to do business taxes, using the SBA for credit, and explaining the tools used to provide business efficiency.
The key to our success has been repurposing content, making use of our internal resources, but most of all, making sure we provide something of value to our marketplace.
So, when is a radio show not just a radio show? When it helps create brand and add value.
Here’s how we are using the content for the radio show to do just that:
Strategic Direction. This year our aim is to continue to expand our commercial and business banking initiatives through value-added discussions with our customers. Focusing the radio show on businesses allows us the opportunity to do just that.
Value-Added Trusted Advisor. Bankers can bring expertise to the table and be seen as a leader in the marketplace for more than just their own customers. Inherently people buy from those they like, and the radio show is one way to foster instant friendships.
Sales Outreach. Each week, the marketing department creates an email for all relationship managers (branch managers, commercial and business bankers, wealth management sales officers) to send under their own cover. This provides them a non-sales way to interact with clients and prospects. This touch allows us to stay relevant and current, so when the client is ready, we are “top of mind.”
Social Media. We post links to the shows on the social networks we use most often, namely Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We encourage our own employees to share the posts on their own pages to increase the opportunity for engagement.
Website and Social Media Blog. This is where this whole adventure started…to have interesting content and provide it in a meaningful way. The blog is based on the radio show transcript and affords us the opportunity to create multiple blogs/content from each show, depending on the level of discussions. These blogs are posted on the corporate website and also linked via social media. Read the blog.
Radio Show. The radio show stands on its own as a viable and well-produced product. It is broadcast every Saturday on a local radio station, and the digital link is provided so that we can share it will multiple audiences. Hear the radio shows.
Community Outreach – Business of the Week. Our focus as a community bank that services a small corner of Northeastern Pennsylvania is always to help create economic momentum. “Buy Local” is not just a catch phrase for us. Each of our branches has a “Business of the Month” display. The radio show and subsequent use of the content allows us to also have a virtual “Business of the Week.” We allow each of our guests to record a 30-second commercial for broadcast during the show and during playback.
Measuring our success
Although true measurement of the success of this initiative is still too early, anecdotal feedback has been very positive. Using the broadcasts to connect with our customers creates almost 200 touch points by our relationship managers each week and we believe this will lead to more sales. Our guests have helped extend our visibility by publicizing their appearances through their own social media channels, and the engagement measurements on the posts themselves are typically higher than other postings.
So, the President of the bank got a blog…and so much more.