Content Marketing Examples, Part IV: Check Out This Checklist

This post wraps up my series on content marketing. The last content type I want to talk about are checklists and FAQs.

She can’t be serious, you’re probably thinking. Checklists?

Of course I’m serious. Too many firms spend their whole design budget on big projects—a website, collateral, white papers, quarterly commentaries. But they don’t take the time to design the smaller pieces that clients see every day. Checklists. Meeting agendas. FAQs. Yet those are equally relevant to the relationship.

Take checklists. Almost every firm I’ve ever worked with uses a new client checklist—asking clients for wills, tax forms, statements, account balances, and so on. It’s one of the first things a new client sees, and it’s usually just an Excel or Word document that’s ugly, hard to read, and dull. Like it or not, this piece is an extension of your brand, so you need to get it right.

Here’s an example of a checklist we use for email marketing to outline all the steps we go through to send campaigns with confidence (Interested in reading it? Click on the image to see the whole thing).

When you create a checklist, you need to pay attention to its look and feel, color, imagery, and organization. Make everything cleaner and more succinct. Replace text with visuals—show a jpeg of a tax statement rather than just typing in the words. Make it fun. Make it easier to open on a phone or tablet. For that matter, make it completely digital, taking you to an interactive landing page.

Once you figure out how to make checklists appealing, you’ll find lots of ways to use them. In fact, they’re a quick, cheap offer to promote on social media. As usual, key your content to the pain points of your audience. You can create checklists for:

  • What items to keep in your financial vault
  • Pre-nuptial planning
  • Changing jobs
  • Getting ready for a new child
  • Protecting your family from the unexpected
  • Figuring out the right amount of insurance
  • Finding and financing a home
  • Annual tax to-do’s
  • Reorganizing finances after a divorce
  • What not to forget as you get ready for retirement
  • Paying for college

Make sure the checklist focuses on the clients’ hopes and fears, not on the solutions you want to talk about.

FAQs deserve the same high-class treatment. Advisors are always sending out how-to guides for using client portals, reading statements, and so on—usually as clunky all-text emails. Why not make them interesting? Don’t just list dedicated client team members, show them, from the admin all the way up to the partner. Introduce them as people, and include pictures of their dogs or hobbies, or links to their favorite music. Never overlook the opportunity to build relationships through every communication you send out.

That’s it. That’s my primer on content marketing. I hope it inspires you create your own ads, infographics, checklists and other assets. Our industry is right in the middle of a huge leap from in-person, advisor-driven sales to online, client-driven shopping. These are the tools you’re going to need if you want to make it over to the other side in one piece.

Now, jump.