Case study features data from a finance company that drove 27% more online sales with longform content and in-depth articles.

Content marketing less is more: Fewer articles, more depth boosts web traffic & sales

sep
5
min.
to read
sep

Industry: Finance
Content: Blog content, newsletter, graphics
Highlights: 27% increase in onsite purchases

It’s the age-old question: How much content should I be producing? How can I achieve both SEO branding AND get people to convert?

Many times when people approach SEO, they assume they need more content to make themselves visible in results pages, but this isn’t always the case. Investing in fewer articles that dive deeper into answering customers’ queries can drive new organic traffic and encourage qualified visitors deeper down the marketing funnel.

But don’t take our word for it: Industry data and Brafton client results tell this story.

For our client that offers personal and business finance management classes, getting people on the to enroll in classes on their website was a challenge. They recognized that they needed the content to boost brand awareness, build trust and show authority. Enter, longform content.  

Problem:

  • The company recognized a rising demand to educate interested prospects
  • They wanted to reach more financial advisors and position their company as the best education solution
  • Bottom line: They needed more online enrollment subscriptions

Strategy:

  • Create longform content, like weekly blog posts and quarterly white papers, that offer consultative advice through collaboration with the finance brand’s internal team
  • Create quarterly infographics to appeal to a large pool of qualified advisors, with straightforward data they need to know
  • Pair in-depth articles with an email strategy to nurture existing prospects around topic areas that map to their demographics

Brafton Content:

  • Weekly longform blog
  • 4 monthly newsletters
  • Quarterly infographics
  • Quarterly whitepapers

Results:

  • 12% more organic traffic in first quarter, with Brafton targeted keywords trending upward (over 10% of target keywords went from invisible to Page 1)
  • 13% increase in sessions
  • 34% increase in new users
  • 27% increase in onsite purchases

Inside the strategy & how create in-depth outsourced posts

In order to map content topics to the expertise of the client’s internal team, we set a strategy that focuses on various courses offered in a given season. We analyzed competitor keywords and top search terms to create a white-hat keyword strategy that sets the stage for these posts to earn traffic and build awareness for program.

Rather than several short articles per month, we advised meaningful, information-rich posts: one per week. Writing quick-win, trend-based articles is a different process than what’s required of an in- depth blog posts.

Go deep with longform posts

Here’s how Brafton Associate Content Manager Matt Ellsworth outlines his writing stages when he’s creating content for this client (and others who require in-depth pieces).

Topic selection:

“I would pick the topics by researching their preferred sources for information on their categories, like philanthropy, retirement planning, investing, etc. Then, I start the month with four different articles in mind – each in different categories, and a few slanted toward financial advisor education – investment tips, tax explanations – and a few on practice management – marketing, client communication, etc.”

It’s important to communicate topic ideas early when depth is the goal, for re-routing as needed before investing time and research. Matt humblebrags: “I almost never have a request for a change.”

Sourcing:

For longform pieces, you have to complement a number of other sources.”

Matt explains that the process for researching long-form articles takes time and careful analysis. It’s important to find a way to bring something new to existing conversations.

“A topic is more of a launching point [than the sole point of article]. If a source raises a question or introduces an interesting idea [while I’m the research phase], it’s perfect. That way, I can refine my search for additional sources and take the piece in a number of unique ways while writing.”

Style and tone:

For outsourced content programs, thought-leading content requires a careful collaboration between internal teams and professional writers. “The style and tone is the hard part, but in-person meetings helped this.”

This particular client’s education focus helped overcome the challenge: “They hold annual training sessions for financial advisors in Boston, so I would sit in on classes. Then, I would interview a teacher to talk about a certain topic. This gave me many good ideas, and it also showed me a few themes they loved. For example, they were all about the personal side of wealth management. Money’s not just about the numbers, but the emotions behind it.” This is a great “human touch” angle to capture in content.

For tips on how any business can work with external teams to capture and promote thought leadership, check out our related guide:

  • Blog: Why you can’t outsource thought leadership (but may outsource content)

Distribute hard via email marketing

Every strong blog post needs to be equipped with an equally strong promotional strategy. Crafting posts that people will find in search is one goal, but promotion, whether through social media or email marketing, is just as important.

We used an email strategy that could engage those warm leads who’d already shown interest in the brand by signing up for their newsletter.

Each weekly newsletter is created to target specific potential students with content of interest based on what they’ve indicated they like when signing up for the newsletter. This type of personalization is a trend that’s catching on:

When Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Industry Census asked marketers about email personalization, over three-quarters (78 percent) agreed within five years, all email marketing communication will be personalized.

These behavioral segments receive different emails that are sent on behalf of the top sales rep in that particular vertical. The result? Email traffic to the website brings in most the engaged readership.

Learn more about the benefits of longform content:

Molly Buccini
Molly Buccini is Brafton's community manager. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and social media. She's a theatre nerd, pop culture junkie and lover of summertime.

Thoughts?