Fund managers choose investment content topics that frequently fail to resonate with direct investors searching for an investment solution.
Managers only succeed when they are willing and able to address investors’ pain points and help them find their own investment solutions.
Through sharing unique insights they can build brand awareness and establish direct relationships as the engaged investor’s candid friend.
“A prediction about the direction of the stock market tells you nothing about where stocks are headed, but a whole lot about the person doing the predicting.” – Warren Buffett
Investment managers taking their first digital steps, frequently launch into the selection of investment content topics without first considering their content strategically.
Designing a content strategy is a very wide subject, beyond the scope of this short blog post. However a few key steps should be negotiated at the start:
- Confirm the investment problem that the manager is attempting to solve and the market niche in which it is committed to becoming the leading informational provider
- Identify the audience that will derive a benefit from engaging with a manager that is willing to share its superior insight in this investment niche
- Research the audience in order to understand investors’ pain points, informational needs, level of understanding, appetite for content, digital preferences, willingness to engage etc. before planning investment content topics; Chris Matt1 at imagination explains that: “Connecting those demographics with psychographics is the start of developing personas and gaining a better understanding of clients’ needs throughout their financial journey”
- Content should occupy the ‘sweet spot’ where the manager’s informational advantage intersects with the audience’s pain point
Investment Content Topics to Avoid
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with our view that investment content is usually produced to a low standard.
This is largely due to the manager’s poor content choice; the following areas should be approached with a fair degree of caution.
- A short introduction that explains a manager’s uniqueness should be included on the website, perhaps supported by a short video; however the audience’s appetite to consume content that focuses on promoting a business is very limited and can be a barrier to engagement in the early stages of a relationship
- Similarly, content that is blatantly aimed at promoting product will seldom resonate and will lead to unsubscribe requests; some of the larger banking groups are particularly unsubtle in creating content pieces that swiftly move to pushing their product in the asset class featured in the article
- Even a thoughtful article will fail to resonate when investment content topics are clearly selected for commercial reasons, e.g. articles with titles such as: “Is it time to get back into credit?” will fail unless they are clearly free of commercial conflicts
- Direct retail audiences have very low interest in the investment manager talking about “me”; there is a place on the website for quarterly fact sheets etc. but “meet the manager” videos or “fund update” videos that detail the handful of stocks that increased in value last quarter may be of interest to the fund manager’s family but few other readers
- An audience of direct retail fund investors will contain very few fund managers, stockbrokers and planners; this fact should inform not just the writing style but also the choice of investment content topics – managers should write to help investors solve a problem, not tell them about market stuff that they enjoy writing about
- Managers should avoid giving excessive prominence to topics that are such high level that the manager lacks an informational advantage; articles that offer a “world economic view” or “global fixed income outlook” need to offer something pretty insightful if they are to be heard above the noise from other (better resourced) financial media
Investment Content Topics to Fully Exploit
However there are plenty of topic areas where the direct retail fund audience has a thirst for insight.
Investment managers willing to help investors identify their own solutions in their niche area of expertise have the opportunity to engage direct investors in a number of ways:
- Talk about investors’ pain points and view the world from the non-expert investor’s perspective; this article by Russell applies a market view to give the worried retail investor who is concerned about their long-term investment outcome some sensible advice:
- Comment on the impact of macro changes on local investment opportunities; this article by Aberdeen examines how the effects of the ending of the commodities boom might be transmitted to sectors across the wider Australian economy:
- Demonstrate an expertise in a market and share a distinct point of view in order to differentiate the brand; this short video by Schroders explains the impact of data and how this might affect the China market looking ahead:
- Explain how investment markets and instruments behave under differing scenarios; this blog post by Platinum helps direct investors to understand how one key sector (for China investors) is likely to behave in light of the evolving economic environment:
- Suggest how to mitigate risks to a portfolio; this blog from Macquarie is aimed at the investor with much more limited investment understanding but may well be helpful to the novice direct investor who is concerned about how their portfolio might suffer a sudden and significant fall in value:
- Deliver re-assurance to concerned investors upon news of real time events, but do so very cautiously; this article by Fisher Investments offers a sober analysis about the recent tragic events in Europe with some sensible investment suggestions; it carefully avoids either being sensational or self-promoting – brands which do so are likely to be diminished in the eyes of their audience:
- Case studies, FAQs, product brochures and practical guidance on how to invest all have a role in delivering a helpful customer experience; however they are valuable to engaged investors looking to finalise investment decisions, not curious investors in the earlier stages of their search for an investment solution
Sharing investment content can be a highly effective and relatively low-cost way to build brand awareness and to develop an engaged relationship with direct investors.
Investment content topics should be selected carefully; most content fails to resonate as it either promotes the manager or its funds, talks about issues in which the investor has no interest, is written for insiders or is not differentiated from a noisy market.
However managers become helpful to direct investors when they share insight that addresses their pain points, link market developments to investment goals, explain the impact of risk or show how investments perform under different circumstances.
What investment content topics do you find resonate effectively with direct investors?
We have created a concise twenty-step guide to how an investment manager can establish a profitable and sustainable direct retail funds business through an engaged customer strategy; please click here to download.
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1 Matt, C, “Content Marketing for Financial Services: Traditional Insights Aren’t Enough”, imagination, 2014,