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Capitalizing on content

An ambitious new “Everything Retirement” website targeting baby boomers shows how effective content marketing can be.

We know we should learn more about managing our retirement but we’re wary of marketers and slick salespeople. We need knowledge but we also crave authenticity. These advertising truths form the basis for a content marketing solution aimed at boomers that was launched last October by three like-minded credit unions.

To backtrack, a quick primer on content marketing (and why it’s so crucial to business success). Content marketing is targeted messaging that’s real, relatable and, above all, genuinely useful. It differs from advertising in that readers genuinely look forward to receiving the marketing. If they actively seek out your message, even better. If they’re finding your information so compelling that they share it with likeminded peers, you’ve hit a content-marketing home run.

After three years of chatting about how best to engage boomers in necessary retirement conversations, three credit union colleagues joined resources and put their content marketing ideas into action. The Everything Retirement website is the brainchild of Coastal Community Credit Union (85,000 members, $2.4 billion in assets), Interior Savings Credit Union (71,000 members, $2.5 billion in assets) and FirstOntario Credit Union (115,500 members, $3.9 billion in assets).

Numerous research papers say that boomers want more information on how to live their best retirement. “Everyone talks about the money but we know as financial planners that retirement is about so much more than that. It’s about you, your family and community. That’s the conversation we want to have,” says Don Tamelin, vice-president and general manager of wealth management at Coastal Community Private Wealth Group/Credential Securities Inc.

Everything Retirement is filled with compelling service journalism divided into key categories: finances, wellness, relationships, lifestyle, recreation, work and, last but not least, fun. Every blog post fits
the demographic with smart advice dispensed in short, well-written articles. Free e-books on what’s trending in retirement, financial wellness and estate planning encourage readers to dig deeper into essential financial topics.

Content is only powerful if people genuinely want to read it. Working with Iconic Group, which runs the Everything Retirement website, as well as HubSpot, which tracks user engagement on the site, the three credit unions are learning which postings resonate the most with readers and on which social media channels. It’s early days, says Tamelin, but analysis of the data so far has allowed them to see what types of stories get the most hits, which are the most shared and which impel readers to contact the sponsoring credit unions for advice. “The more the site grows and the longer it runs, the more we’re understanding it,” says Tamelin. “The more we learn, the more we realize that there are so many more opportunities to explore.”

The partners initially publicized the Everything Retirement site through their combined staff of roughly 1,500 and membership of 250,000. Newsletters and targeted e-books are increasing their visibility and they are now looking into the future, figuring out how the site can be better leveraged to drive loyalty and business.

One sure sign their content marketing approach is working? The site is attracting attention from a slew of potential partners looking to add their own expertise to the pool of quality content, such as a law firm in Vancouver that wants to contribute articles on business succession. “Something’s happening with Everything Retirement; there’s a real buzz starting,” Tamelin says.

As engagement grows, a business model is being developed to monetize the platform. With this in mind, the team has begun working with the BC Innovation Council, a venture acceleration program that helps entrepreneurs refine their business model. The long-term plan, Tamelin says, is to position credit unions across North America as the go-to resource for everything retirement, linking referrals back to suitable credit union partners. “We’re wealth guys with a great idea,” says Tamelin. “We understand the content marketing; now the innovation experts will help us refine our business model.” ◊