Listed below are a few choice candidates from the article and my take on how a credit union could benefit…
River Pools and Spas
In 2009, River Pools and Spas, like many firms, was struggling through the recession. Today, the Warsaw, Va.-based company has the No. 1 pool-related site in the U.S., says social media and content strategist and author of the forthcoming book Youtility Jay Baer, thanks to its helpful blog and basic "Pool 101" content. The company has grown by 15 percent but reduced its marketing expenses by 90 percent—all through content. "They write blog posts instead of buying ads," Baer adds.
This is something I have been preaching to credit unions – or any company for that matter – for a long time. Provide your audience with expert information instead of sell, sell, sell and you will reap the benefits. The proof is in River Pools and Spas’ 15 percent growth from its “Pool 101” tips and advice. This content has positioned the company as a subject matter expert, building trust with its audience by providing practical, helpful information. This trust ultimately leads to sales because everybody wants to do business with people they trust.
My Starbucks Idea
My Starbucks Idea is a website that solicits product, experience and involvement ideas from Starbucks customers. The site, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, has put into action more than 277 ideas submitted. My Starbucks Idea "shows the staying power of great content generated by the community," says Michele Linn, director of content development for the Content Marketing Institute. Starbucks fans have submitted more than 150,000 ideas to date.
Ok, Starbucks is the monster gorilla on every corner in the U.S. and business seems to come easy for the coffee giant. But there’s a reason for its success: Starbucks is always keeping its feelers out for new ideas to reinvent itself – and who better to listen to than its own java junkies. Even this multi-billion-dollar company has a channel to listen to its customers for new ideas to keep its offerings fresh. For credit unions, the lesson here is no matter how big or small, take time to listen to your members for new ideas to increase the value of your institution. It will pay off in the long run.
Every quarter, Taxi Mike updates and distributes copies of his printed guide to dining and bars in Banff, Alberta (a town of 7,600 within Banff National Park). This "one-man Yelp," who drives a taxi and offers computer repair services, maintains a website for his Banff recommendations, too. "This is my favorite small business example of content marketing," says Baer. Taxi Mike's tourist guide content is engaging and helpful and isn't about Taxi Mike at all. It’s about serving his target customers' interests.
This example segues from Rivers Pools and Spas but branches off to not talking about yourself but providing helpful information instead. Yes, we know that credit unions have super low rates and their service is second to none – and many even have the latest tech services to level the banking playing field. That stuff is fine to promote. But don’t just focus on those items. Offer helpful financial advice that’s not relative to your credit union’s products and services. Your members and prospective consumers will see it’s not about you; it’s about them.
Dollar Shave Club Video
The Dollar Shave Club video is "funny and appeals to a wide audience," says Brynna Baldauf, Internet Marketing Strategist for Vertical Measures, a content marketing and link building agency. "It also communicates all the necessary information in a short time, and it makes the decision to sign up something that seems to have no bad side effects. The video is written completely about the product without coming off too serious or stereotypically 'salesy.'" This viral video, viewed on YouTube more than 10 million times, helped launch the small company in a big way.
I included the Dollar Shave Club just for the sheer genius and hilarity of its video that shot this company to the top. If you’re interested in creating videos for your credit union, please watch the video to see how it’s really done. (Watch out for the bleeped expletive at the beginning, though.)
OpenView Venture Partners
OpenView is a venture capital company that has significantly increased its name recognition through content such as podcasts, videos and a highly active blog. Everyone at OpenView creates content—and compensation is partially tied to the effectiveness of their content, Baer says. "It used to be that when they called on small companies, no one had heard of them. Now people they visit say they read OpenView's blog all the time."
I like OpenView’s view on blogging. Just about everybody at the firm contributes to its content marketing in some way – which keeps everybody at the company engaged and its audience, as well. Because of the firm-wide participation, its audience is familiar with the company’s staff – which puts a face on the firm. Smart. Same thing at your credit union: If you have more than one person contributing content (mortgage lending, investing, tech services, member education, events, etc.), your members will get to know these staffers intimately and start to rely on them for helpful financial information that adds value to your credit union. Verity Credit Union is a perfect example having 14 of its employees contribute to its blog page – which is prominently displayed on its homepage. Another good move.
American Express OPEN Forum
For years, the American Express OPEN Forum has provided practical advice and helpful resources for small businesses. Recent articles have focused on Google Hangouts, tips for motivating teams, and how to be productive under pressure. "OPEN Forum is like a top-flight online magazine that happens to be sponsored by American Express," Baer says.
There’s a running theme in most of these examples: providing practical information that has immediate value for your audience. Having an online magazine, like OPEN Forum, sponsored by your credit union that’s loaded with helpful information delivered in a multimedia format is a surefire win. Again, if it’s presented in an efficient manner and the information is more than useful, your credit union will become a trusted resource for members and prospective members to do business with. It’s that simple and it works based on the sampling of companies in this article. There are thousands more success stories out there; you can be one of them. Be sure to check out the rest of the Content Marketing Hall of Fame examples at CIO.com.
What is your credit union doing to consistently create quality content that helps it become a trusted leader in the financial space?