How to be a thought leader in the finance world – Guest Editorial

Charlotte Day

Charlotte Day of Contentworks takes a good look at thought leadership in our industry and how to be active in leading the way forward

By Charlotte Day, Contentworks

The right thought leadership strategy can set you apart from competitors. It’s as simple as that. So why are many companies missing the mark? Here’s how to stand out from the crowd with thought leadership in the finance world:

  • Acknowledge and understand the needs of your clients

Who is your target audience and what do they want? If you can’t answer this with optimum clarity, it’s time for a strategic rethink. Thought leadership means providing targeted, fact-based information that’s useful to your clients. By understanding the actions and needs of your consumers you can tailor content to help educate, inform and guide. For example, by providing the answers to potential customer queries and questions through an educational hub, your clients won’t need to surf the web for vital information. Instead, they’ll consider you as a go-to resource which should assist with both acquisition and client retention. You can also engage followers and enhance the consumer experience by:

  • Producing regular articles and blogs addressing niche topics that aren’t easily found elsewhere
  • Backing up your content with the latest stats and statistics
  • Explaining difficult concepts through high-quality video content
  • Posting images and infographics relating to your financial services expertise

Get high-quality financial services content to assist your thought leadership plan today.

  • Share your knowledge and experience  

Being a thought leader doesn’t mean you know everything. Or that you’ve had the perfect career. Far from it! In fact, people often learn through their mistakes. So, if you’ve been through an experience that could potentially influence the decisions of others, don’t be afraid to share it. Talk about the pros and cons of particular actions and be sure to include takeaways for others to take on-board.

Contentworks team: Charlotte Day and Niki Nikolaou

Real-life stories will help to improve the authenticity of your brand. This is particularly important within an industry that’s increasingly scrutinised due to malpractices, scams and hacks. So, whether you’re talking about compliance headaches and how to overcome them. Or are focusing on resourcing issues, try to weave practical, experienced-based guidance into your thought leadership.

  • Provide intelligent commentary about trending topics

The finance sector moves at a rapid pace. The volatility of the retail sector, for example, is one example of why it’s crucial to keep your eye on the ball. To be an influencer in the finance world you need to be one step ahead of the game as much. Offering future predictions based on past trends can be an interesting approach. Or you may wish to provide unique and personal insights about market progress. Perhaps discussing the potential of new financial technology using your own company-based case study is a good way to keep consumers engaged.

Whatever angel you take, be sure your content is creative, innovative, inspired and backed up by facts where possible. Don’t be afraid to be a little different and certainly don’t copy what others have said. The point of being an influencer is that you have your own, independent ideas. Not ones that have been poached from someone else who put in the time and effort to develop an approach worthy of thought-leader status.

  • Focus content on specific topics

The finance sector is extensive. It’s very difficult (if not impossible) to cover all areas with the expertise needed to be an industry leader. You’ve heard the phrase “Jack of All Trades, Master of None”?

Use targeted content to compete in growth areas and align your thought leadership with your business growth strategy. If you’re a broker introducing new asset classes to your trading platform, then concentrating on that specific market will allow you to connect with the relevant audience. If your special interest is hedge funds, then focus your energy there as opposed to being a “finance guru”. Before you put yourself out there and start carving a reputation, you must.

  • Devise a content strategy. Which platforms do your consumers frequent and where should you be publishing content?
  • Think about the direction of your business and topics you should cover.
  • Research. Be sure your angle of thought is as different as possible from anything else.
  • See what competitors are talking about.
  • Make sure your content is fresh and up-to-date. Late reporting could damage your reputation.
  • Make sure your online reputation is intact

If you’ve not checked yourself out on Google – do it! Because if you become a figure of influence you can be sure that people will research your credentials. Make sure your online reputation is intact by streamlining your business and personal social media profiles.

Your LinkedIn experience should accurately match that on your website, for example. All personal details should be updated and if you can get personal recommendations then that’s a bonus. Got something you need to hide? Positive content marketing can bury a bad reputation. Alternatively you can show that you’ve learnt from it and make it a feature.

Shaping an online image takes time and energy but tweaking the information that’s already out there is certainly an important step.

  • Be Community Centric

Being a thought leader is not just about plugging your industry and your company. It’s about engaging those who follow you and helping them to think differently about the world around them. Some of the best influencers out there support wider causes.

Take Bill Gates, for instance. He is widely followed online and has become one of LinkedIn’s top influencers alongside the likes of Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington. Despite being a billionaire and the founder of Microsoft, he’s also a philanthropist and regularly posts about the Bill & Melina Gates Foundation which aims to improve the quality of lives across the globe.

With power comes great responsibility, so if you want to be a highly-respected thought leader, it’s essential to be community centric. Be active on key social media channels, answer questions, regularly schedule in AMA sessions, respond politely to requests from the media and attend local community events.

Want to know more? Improve your thought leadership and content marketing strategy with Contentworks.

The subject matter and the content of this article are solely the views of the author. FinanceFeeds does not bear any legal responsibility for the content of this article and they do not reflect the viewpoint of FinanceFeeds or its editorial staff.

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