Can you expect customers to respond to a brand’s message or content the first time they’ve seen it? The answer is almost certainly not. This is where the unquestionable importance of an always-on content program comes in.
Since the 1930s marketing has had the ‘Rule of seven’ which suggests consumers need to see or hear a message seven times before they’ll consider taking action.
Since then marketer’s have differed in their opinions. Some believe individuals need to be exposed to messaging three times, while others think it’s closer to 14 or 20 times before a consumer will respond and take action. What’s universal is the understanding that you can’t expect one well-placed brand message or piece of content to lead to customer acquisition.
Whatever the number, without an always-on content program you can’t expect to capture and hold your target audiences’ attention over time, nurturing them to a point where they’re informed and engaged enough to take meaningful action.
What is an always-on content strategy?
Unlike advertising campaigns which are usually short, sharp bursts of targeted communications promoting a specific timely event, campaign, or product message, always-on content marketing has no end date. And when incorporating evergreen content and organic distribution, unlike advertising it doesn’t rely on continual ongoing spend.
Taking the form of short and long-form articles, infographics, videos, podcasts (and any other content that’s the right fit for your audience), an always-on content program gives finance brands an ongoing presence across multiple distribution channels. In essence, an always-on content program is not dissimilar to producing a periodic publication that publishes a specific number of times per week or month according to a pre-planned publishing calendar.
Best planned to align to the three phases of the sales funnel – awareness, consideration and conversion – always-on content is a mix of content that inspires and captures attention, informs and educates, and ultimately helps potential customers overcome challenges and questions needed for them to take action. Produced with the audience’s needs and interests front of mind, an always-on content program is a way to build trust and interest in your finance brand by providing high-quality, useful content on a regular basis.
It’s through this regular cadence of publishing that finance brands become visible enough to hit that coveted three, seven or 14 times seen that’s needed to trigger potential customers to take action be it watching a video, reading an article, visiting a webpage or filling in a request form.
“ An always-on content program is a way to build trust and interest in your finance brand by providing high-quality, useful content on a regular basis.”
Launching an always-on content program
In the same way you can’t expect a customer to act on a single brand message, you also can’t expect a new content program to deliver wide-reaching brand awareness instantly. A brand that’s new to content marketing should expect to build their brand recognition and credibility over a number of key horizons as shown below.
In the same way, any new publication will take time to build up a readership and a loyal fanbase, a fresh always-on content marketing program will take time to build its credibility with the target audience and shouldn’t be expected to drive sales from day one. When launching an always-on content program consider these key stages:
- Establish a content strategy and framework for content production that includes clear pillars to produce against. These pillars should align to the needs of your audience while also fulfilling brand objectives.
- With a strategic framework in place, determine a publishing frequency that you know you can commit to consistently. Look to other areas of the business and existing content you can draw on to fulfill your chosen publishing cadence.
- Produce and distribute relevant content consistently across the social channels best suited to your target audience.
- Monitor the performance of your content on-site and across your social channels, learning and optimising both your content, targeting and user journey as you go.
- Review whether your content is delivering on its objective at each stage of the funnel and don’t be afraid to test and learn.
Maintaining a consistent content program is an ongoing commitment that requires planning and preparation. For it to be a truly always-on content program, and a successful one at that, it can’t be run in isolation but rather become a part of the BAU of business workflow as part of marketing, PR, brand, digital, and compliance day-to-day activities.