How broad should your content marketing strategy be? That’s a big question when you’re first forming your approach to content marketing – what topics should your content cover?

For financial services firms, there’s logic to creating content focused on finances. However, at the same time, there are strict regulations about providing advice. So, typically, financial services firms find themselves providing really bland content that you can get just about anywhere else on the Interwebs.

That’s not helping anyone.

The goal of any content strategy should be to define and build an audience that the brand can “own.” In other words, to create a trust-based relationship. Creating this relationship best begins with the brand making a promise to the audience – we call it the ”editorial promise” – a pledge to deliver information that is helpful, informative or useful to the audience. The brand is putting the needs of the audience first, rather than the organization’s sales goals.

The best content strategies seem to approach audience-building broadly. They step beyond the parameters of the brand’s offering to have a deeper, longer-lasting conversation with the audience.

Turning a financial services brand into a lifestyle brand is a great way to connect with the audience. Consider these two examples of financial institutions recognizing that money is merely a tool people use to live the life they want to live, and trying to help them to do so.

Your money or your life

Canada’s Sun Life Financial has made a splash with its Brighter Life lifestyle platform. The website delivers content focused on money, family and health. Brilliant. That’s a holy trinity for most people’s lives. This financial services company gives you headlines like What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease, How to Agree With Your Spouse About Money, and Bright Ideas for Traveling With Kids. When you go to this website, you feel that Sun Life is a company that cares about your family and what you’re going to do with your money; it’s an acknowledgment that money is a tool to live your life – which is not necessarily something you always get from your bank.

Building a love story with your fans

A second good example of how a financial services firm has reached beyond its natural boundaries of expectation is to create a relationship with customers is Barclaycard’s Daily Dip campaign on social media last year. Check out this highlight reel of the 2014 Daily Dips campaign: