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7 Content Marketing Tips For Financial Services Brands

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7 Content Marketing Tips For Financial Services Brands

Multiple challenges surface when creating content for a finance company.

Dealing with legalities tops the list, but there’s more. Much more.

In working with multiple companies in the financial sector and ghostwriting for top investors/financial CEOs in the pages of Forbes and other business magazines, I’ve had my share of difficulties.

Below, I share challenges marketers face when creating content for financial services brands – with a sharp focus on written content – and solutions to those challenges.

But first, let’s discuss what should guide your focus when creating content within the financial industry: Google’s YMYL and E-A-T concepts.

Understanding Google’s YMYL/E-A-T Content Guidelines For Finance

In the wake of the censorship uproar, Google took precedent to create special algorithmic considerations for information it deemed important relating to fields, such as financial advice, current events, politics, legal advice, etc.

The rationale was easy – bad financial advice leads to potentially devastating financial consequences for innocent people.

The last thing Google wants for its brand is to present bad financial information that negatively impacts your money and life.

That’s why Google refers to important content, like financial advice, as Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) content.

Google provides an explanation of how they evaluate and rank YMYL content from their report titled How Google Fights Disinformation:

“Where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a ‘YMYL’ topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.”

With that statement said, I want you to keep in mind three relevant keywords: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

These characteristics would later comprise Google’s infamous E-A-T, part of Google’s algorithm and baked into Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

Let’s explain from a content creator’s perspective:

  • Expertise: Is the specific author or publication an expert on the topic?
  • Authoritativeness:  How authoritative are the website and author? This depends on more traditional factors like backlinks, social signals, page traffic, etc.
  • Trustworthiness: How trustworthy is the source? For example, does the source have much traffic, and has it ever received any complaints?

Unfortunately, Google’s algorithm isn’t smart enough yet to understand how viable financial advice is, so they have to consider signals such as author expertise and authority in ranking content.

It’s why the first four results for the search [how to do my taxes] are all brands and top-level domains we recognize or trust:

Screenshot from search for [how to do my taxes], Google, February 2022

However, this presents a significant challenge for smaller brands and businesses looking to tap into the finance sector through organic search.

In addition, there are legal and other financial concerns that arrive with financial content creation.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Implementing the strategy arrives with additional challenges that are typically more annoying than the creative thinking stage.

This is due to multiple legalities and bureaucracy behind the doors of most financial service brands.

Following are some content marketing tips for financial services brands that I’ve learned along the way.

Financial Services Content: Common Challenges & Solutions

1. Competing In Organic Search

Due to the strict measures of Google’s EAT and YMYL guidelines, a financial blog or website will never be able to compete with a Turbotax or Nerdwallet.

The most obvious solution is to generate thought leadership for their brand.

Of course, this presents a proverbial catch-22.

To build authority, you need exposure, but Google makes that very difficult for broad topics that provide the most exposure.

Here are some solutions to up our content game and present unique ideas.

Solutions

  • Become a thought leader by writing guest posts for reputable blogs, writing a book or ebook related to your industry, or establishing a brand over social media.
  • Target long-tail keywords for unique topics with lower search volume that is more targeted to your audience.
  • Offer guest post opportunities for experts to write on your website and generate some buzz/authority.
  • Create content featuring multiple financial experts to offer additional relevant information on a broader topic.
  • Form partnerships with data or analytics companies for original research into trends.
  • Create a survey about a broad topic to see where trends in the industry are shifting.
  • Utilize video and alternative media to create shareable content on your website.

2. Complying With Regulations

Like medical businesses, false information can quickly get your client into trouble with authorities.

And of course, this will ruin your image, something that’s hard to build when you’ve been the focus of much negative criticism.

Unfortunately, financial services, especially, have some of the most intense regulatory scrutinies when it comes to producing online content, sharing it over social media, and advertising your brand.

FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) is a well-known regulatory agency that monitors everything over social media from influencers to financial services content.

FINRA’s rules intend to “protect investors from false, misleading claims, exaggerated statements, and material omissions.”

In addition to FINRA, there are a number of additional regulations that tap into every niche of financial services content.

For example, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency has strict rules in place regulating the accuracy, clarity, and compliance of content specifically related to banking services.

Solutions

  • Create disclaimers that shield your client from legal liability.
  • Update their website to reflect regional privacy laws to avoid liability.
  • Hire writers with knowledge of financial services.
  • Set strict guidelines for content based on commonly known regulatory barriers.
  • Make sure your client employs a legal review process to ensure proper compliance.
  • Stick to topics you are knowledgeable about and their legal team has experience with.

3. Finding Knowledgeable Writers

In the solutions above, I outlined the need to find writers that have expertise in financial and regulatory matters.

However, as someone who’s managed a team of freelancers for years now, that’s certainly easier said than done.

The largest problem is finding those that are subject matter experts. Once you do find an expert, two other issues surface – the writer is either too expensive for your budget, or they simply can’t write well.

Solutions

  • Reverse engineer E-A-T. Find writers on high-ranking SERP articles and offer them a freelance partnership (if in the budget –many of the best finance writers won’t touch articles for under $1 a word or $750 per piece!)
  • Use LinkedIn to create exact ads about what you’re looking for, with examples and budget in mind. You’ll get much noise there, but you’ll find someone capable. My success rate for riders is about 10% – yes, one out of every 10 writers is typically capable of creating the content needed.
  • Hire and train in-house writers.

4. Time Is Of The Essence

Financial news and current events move fast, as government and independent financial reports are generated daily.

The last thing you want is a post on a major story stuck in a week-long review. These frustrations are further amplified when working with the extended review process of enterprise companies.

If your client offers any sort of financial advice or reporting, it’s essential to optimize review processes to pump out content in real-time.

Solutions

  • Set content guidelines of legal compliance with your client to reduce review times.
  • Prioritize real-time and interactive content editorial review.
  • Something about streamlining review with other partners (maybe taking ownership of channels or getting prior go ahead).

5. Targeting The Right Readers

You will come across a wide variety of people with different levels of expertise in the finance world.

It’s easy for readers to become inundated by jargon and complicated financial procedures, especially when dealing with topics like taxes, cryptocurrency, retirement accounts, and portfolio investing.

Simplifying content so it’s understandable by most readers is important, but so is making the optimal content for those readers most likely to go further with you or your client’s brand.

You’ll need to create a strategy that caters to people looking for general financial advice to increase your client’s authority and create targeted content for people specifically interested in employing their company.

Solutions

  • Simplify top-funnel content to attract a broader audience.
  • Employ a CMS to meet customers mid-funnel with targeted content based on their interaction with your site (content can be more sophisticated).
  • Nurture intent by following up with relevant advice and selling points based on their engagement history.
  • Feed this information to sales staff to follow up with a sales call that focuses on specific customer pain points.

6. Update Stale Content

Generally, stale content can be a waste on any site, but it could leave websites with outdated or uncompliant content in a world of legal trouble.

The solutions are simple but time-consuming.

Solutions

  • Conduct a sitewide audit using a website crawler like Screaming Frog and download all URLs to a spreadsheet. After the major run, I recommend doing this bi-annually or quarterly for larger clients.
  • Analyze which topics trend the most on Semrush or any tool to decipher which content needs updating or disposal.
  • Delete any temporal content that is outdated or no longer complies with regulations.
  • Update evergreen content with significant traffic dropoff.

7. Finding The Resources

As you know by now, financial content is complicated.

If you write on behalf of other companies or for yourself, it can be difficult to justify a budget for a single blog post that costs $750+ between research and labor.

Solutions

  • Set a budget that accounts for the additional burden of writing long-form content full of financial advice.
  • Set clear expectations when working with other content marketing partners about time and money.

Although the barriers to financial services and all YMYL content are higher than in other niche fields, the rewards of investing in content marketing are equally as high.

Target a blend of evergreen and trending content, and follow the advice above to speak to every target client and satisfy the tough regulations and legalities of finance content.

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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

Elon Musk, owner and CEO of Twitter, announced that starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators. The new policy applies only to ads that appear in a creator’s reply threads.

The move comes on the heels of YouTube launching ad revenue sharing for creators through the YouTube Partner Program in a bid to become the most rewarding social platform for creators.

Social networks like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have similar monetization options for creators who publish reels and video content. For example, Instagram’s Reels Play Bonus Program offers eligible creators up to $1,200 for Reel views.

The catch? Unlike other social platforms, creators on Twitter must have an active subscription to Twitter Blue and meet the eligibility requirements for the Blue Verified checkmark.

The following is an example of a Twitter ad in a reply thread (Promoted by @ASUBootcamps). It should generate revenue for the Twitter Blue Verified creator (@rowancheung), who created the thread.

Screenshot from Twitter, January 2023

To receive the ad revenue share, creators would have to pay $8 per month (or more) to maintain an active Twitter Blue subscription. Twitter Blue pricing varies based on location and is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

Eligibility for the Twitter Blue Verified checkmark includes having an active Twitter Blue subscription and meeting the following criteria.

  • Your account must have a display name, profile photo, and confirmed phone number.
  • Your account has to be older than 90 days and active within the last 30 days.
  • Recent changes to your account’s username, display name, or profile photo can affect eligibility. Modifications to those after verification can also result in a temporary loss of the blue checkmark until Twitter reviews your updated information.
  • Your account cannot appear to mislead or deceive.
  • Your account cannot spam or otherwise try to manipulate the platform for engagement or follows.

Did you receive a Blue Verified checkmark before the Twitter Blue subscription? That will not help creators who want a share of the ad revenue. The legacy Blue Verified checkmark does not make a creator account eligible for ad revenue sharing.

When asked about accounts with a legacy and Twitter Blue Verified checkmark, Musk tweeted that the legacy Blue Verified is “deeply corrupted” and will sunset in just a few months.

Regardless of how you gained your checkmark, it’s important to note that Twitter can remove a checkmark without notice.

In addition to ad revenue sharing for Twitter Blue Verified creators, Twitter Dev announced that the Twitter API would no longer be free in an ongoing effort to reduce the number of bots on the platform.

While speculation looms about a loss in Twitter ad revenue, the Wall Street Journal reported a “fire-sale” Super Bowl offer from Musk to win back advertisers.

The latest data from DataReportal shows a positive trend for Twitter advertisers. Ad reach has increased from 436.4 million users in January 2022 to 556 million in January 2023.

Twitter is also the third most popular social network based on monthly unique visitors and page views globally, according to SimilarWeb data through December 2022.


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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

We live in an age when AI technologies are booming, and the world has been taken by storm with the introduction of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks, but one that it does particularly well is writing articles. And while there are many obvious benefits to this, it also presents a number of challenges.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that AI-generated written content poses for the publishing industry is the spread of misinformation.

ChatGPT, or any other AI tool, may generate articles that may contain factual errors or are just flat-out incorrect.

Imagine someone who has no expertise in medicine starting a medical blog and using ChatGPT to write content for their articles.

Their content may contain errors that can only be identified by professional doctors. And if that blog content starts spreading over social media, or maybe even ranks in Search, it could cause harm to people who read it and take erroneous medical advice.

Another potential challenge ChatGPT poses is how students might leverage it within their written work.

If one can write an essay just by running a prompt (and without having to do any actual work), that greatly diminishes the quality of education – as learning about a subject and expressing your own ideas is key to essay writing.

Even before the introduction of ChatGPT, many publishers were already generating content using AI. And while some honestly disclose it, others may not.

Also, Google recently changed its wording regarding AI-generated content, so that it is not necessarily against the company’s guidelines.

Image from Twitter, November 2022

This is why I decided to try out existing tools to understand where the tech industry is when it comes to detecting content generated by ChatGPT, or AI generally.

I ran the following prompts in ChatGPT to generate written content and then ran those answers through different detection tools.

  • “What is local SEO? Why it is important? Best practices of Local SEO.”
  • “Write an essay about Napoleon Bonaparte invasion of Egypt.”
  • “What are the main differences between iPhone and Samsung galaxy?”

Here is how each tool performed.

1. Writer.com

For the first prompt’s answer, Writer.com fails, identifying ChatGPT’s content as 94% human-generated.

Writer.com resultsScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the second prompt, it worked and detected it as AI-written content.

Writer.com test resultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the third prompt, it failed again.

Sample ResultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

However, when I tested real human-written text, Writer.com did identify it as 100% human-generated very accurately.

2. Copyleaks

Copyleaks did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written.

Sample ResultScreenshot from Copyleaks, January 2023

3. Contentatscale.ai

Contentatscale.ai did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written, even though the first prompt, it gave a 21% human score.

Contentscale.aiScreenshot from Contentscale.ai, January 2023

4. Originality.ai

Originality.ai did a great job on all three prompts, accurately detecting them as AI-written.

Also, when I checked with real human-written text, it did identify it as 100% human-generated, which is essential.

Originality.aiScreenshot from Originality.ai, January 2023

You will notice that Originality.ai doesn’t detect any plagiarism issues. This may change in the future.

Over time, people will use the same prompts to generate AI-written content, likely resulting in a number of very similar answers. When these articles are published, they will then be detected by plagiarism tools.

5. GPTZero

This non-commercial tool was built by Edward Tian, and specifically designed to detect ChatGPT-generated articles. And it did just that for all three prompts, recognizing them as AI-generated.

GPTZeroScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

Unlike other tools, it gives a more detailed analysis of detected issues, such as sentence-by-sentence analyses.

sentence by sentence text perplexityScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

And finally, let’s see how OpenAi detects its own generated answers.

For the 1st and 3rd prompts, it detected that there is an AI involved by classifying it as “possibly-AI generated”.

AI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generated

But surprisingly, it failed for the 2nd prompt and classified that as “unlikely AI-generated.” I did play with different prompts and found that, as of the moment, when checking it, few of the above tools detect AI content with higher accuracy than OpenAi’s own tool.

AI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generated

As of the time of this check, they had released it a day before. I think in the future, they will fine tune it, and it will work much better.

Conclusion

Current AI content generation tools are in good shape and are able to detect ChatGPT-generated content (with varying degrees of success).

It is still possible for someone to generate copy via ChatGPT and then paraphrase that to make it undetectable, but that might require almost as much work as writing from scratch – so the benefits aren’t as immediate.

If you think about ranking an article in Google written by ChatGPT, consider for a moment: If the tools we looked at above were able to recognize them as AI-generated, then for Google, detecting them should be a piece of cake.

On top of that, Google has quality raters who will train their system to recognize AI-written articles even better by manually marking them as they find them.

So, my advice would be not to build your content strategy on ChatGPT-generated content, but use it merely as an assistant tool.

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Five things you need to know about content optimization in 2023

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5 Things You Need To Know About Optimizing Content in 2023

30-second summary:

  • As the content battleground goes through tremendous upheaval, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance
  • ChatGPT can help content marketers get an edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content
  • Making sure your content rank high enough to engage the target audience requires strategic planning and implementation

Google is constantly testing and updating its algorithms in pursuit of the best possible searcher experience. As the search giant explains in its ‘How Search Works’ documentation, that means understanding the intent behind the query and bringing back results that are relevant, high-quality, and accessible for consumers.

As if the constantly shifting search landscape weren’t difficult enough to navigate, content marketers are also contending with an increasingly technology-charged environment. Competitors are upping the stakes with tools and platforms that generate smarter, real-time insights and even make content optimization and personalization on the fly based on audience behavior, location, and data points.

Set-it-and-forget-it content optimization is a thing of the past. Here’s what you need to know to help your content get found, engage your target audience, and convert searchers to customers in 2023.

AI automation going to be integral for content optimization

Technologies-B2B-organizations-use-to-optimize-content

As the content battleground heats up, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance as a key source of intelligence. We’re optimizing content for humans, not search engines, after all – we had better have a solid understanding of what those people need and want.

While I do not advocate automation for full content creation, I believe next year – as resources become stretched automation will have a bigger impact on helping with content optimization of existing content.

CHATGPT

ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a powerful language generation model that leverages the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) architecture to produce realistic human-like text. With Chat GPT’s wide range of capabilities – from completing sentences and answering questions to generating content ideas or powering research initiatives – it can be an invaluable asset for any Natural Language Processing project.

ChatGPT-for-content

The introduction on ChatGPT has caused considerable debate and explosive amounts of content on the web. With ChatGPT, content marketers can achieve an extra edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content. It offers assistance with generating titles for blog posts, summaries of topics or articles, as well as comprehensive campaigns when targeting a specific audience.

However, it is important to remember that this technology should be used to enhance human creativity rather than completely replacing it.

For many years now AI-powered technology has been helping content marketers and SEOs automate repetitive tasks such as data analysis, scanning for technical issues, and reporting, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AI also enables real-time analysis of a greater volume of consumer touchpoints and behavioral data points for smarter, more precise predictive analysis, opportunity forecasting, real-time content recommendations, and more.

With so much data in play and recession concerns already impacting 2023 budgets in many organizations, content marketers will have to do more with less this coming year. You’ll need to carefully balance human creative resources with AI assists where they make sense to stay flexible, agile, and ready to respond to the market.

It’s time to look at your body of content as a whole

Google’s Helpful Content update, which rolled out in August, is a sitewide signal targeting a high proportion of thin, unhelpful, low-quality content. That means the exceptional content on your site won’t rank to their greatest potential if they’re lost in a sea of mediocre, outdated assets.

It might be time for a content reboot – but don’t get carried away. Before you start unpublishing and redirecting blog posts, lean on technology for automated site auditing and see what you can fix up first. AI-assisted technology can help sniff out on-page elements, including page titles and H1 tags, and off-page factors like page speed, redirects, and 404 errors that can support your content refreshing strategy.

Focus on your highest trafficked and most visible pages first, i.e.: those linked from the homepage or main menu. Google’s John Mueller confirmed recently that if the important pages on your website are low quality, it’s bad news for the entire site. There’s no percentage by which this is measured, he said, urging content marketers and SEOs to instead think of what the average user would think when they visit your website.

Take advantage of location-based content optimization opportunities

Consumers crave personalized experiences, and location is your low-hanging fruit. Seasonal weather trends, local events, and holidays all impact your search traffic in various ways and present opportunities for location-based optimization.

AI-assisted technology can help you discover these opportunities and evaluate topical keywords at scale so you can plan content campaigns and promotions that tap into this increased demand when it’s happening.

Make the best possible use of content created for locally relevant campaigns by repurposing and promoting it across your website, local landing pages, social media profiles, and Google Business Profiles for each location. Google Posts, for example, are a fantastic and underutilized tool for enhancing your content’s visibility and interactivity right on the search results page.

Optimize content with conversational & high-volume keywords

Look for conversational and trending terms in your keyword research, too. Top-of-funnel keywords that help generate awareness of the topic and spur conversations in social channels offer great opportunities for promotion. Use hashtags organically and target them in paid content promotion campaigns to dramatically expand your audience.

Conversational keywords are a good opportunity for enhancing that content’s visibility in search, too. Check out the ‘People Also Ask’ results and other featured snippets available on the search results page (SERP) for your keyword terms. Incorporate questions and answers in your content to naturally optimize for these and voice search queries.

SEO-and-creating-content-in-2023

It’s important that you utilize SEO insights and real-time data correctly; you don’t want to be targeting what was trending last month and is already over. AI is a great assist here, as well, as an intelligent tool can be scanning and analyzing constantly, sending recommendations for new content opportunities as they arise.

Consider how you optimize content based on intent and experience

The best content comes from a deep, meaningful understanding of the searcher’s intent. What problem were they experiencing or what need did they have that caused them to seek out your content in the first place? And how does your blog post, ebook, or landing page copy enhance their experience?

Look at the search results page as a doorway to your “home”. How’s your curb appeal? What do potential customers see when they encounter one of your pages in search results? What kind of experience do you offer when they step over the threshold and click through to your website?

The best content meets visitors where they are at with relevant, high-quality information presented in a way that is accessible, fast loading, and easy to digest. This is the case for both short and long form SEO content. Ensure your content contains calls to action designed to give people options and help them discover the next step in their journey versus attempting to sell them on something they may not be ready for yet.

2023, the year of SEO: why brands are leaning in and how to prepare

Conclusion

The audience is king, queen, and the entire court as we head into 2023. SEO and content marketing give you countless opportunities to connect with these people but remember they are a means to an end. Keep searcher intent and audience needs at the heart of every piece of content you create and campaign you plan for the coming year.

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