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The value of a well-told story

It doesn’t take Shakespeare’s talent or Spielberg’s budget to produce great content

credit union storytelling
Each credit union has a unique story – a story reflected in the small business owners it has empowered, the seniors who’ve been members since day one, the local charities it supports.

Sharing these stories increases awareness in the community and ultimately draws new members in.

That’s where content marketing comes into play. CUs already have the first tenet of brilliant content marketing down – a great story that they understand. The trick is to figure out how to tell that story in an informative, engaging way that adds value to the consumer’s experience. Luckily, today’s technology provides lots of opportunities for keen CU content marketers to learn, experiment and grow.

Create quality content

“Content marketing is a long play,” says Hans Peter Meyer, a content marketing manager in British Columbia’s Comox Valley. He advises credit unions to think like the publisher of a local newspaper. The ads pay the bills, but it’s the stories in between those ads that keep people on the page.

“Content marketing is a long play. Back off the heavy sell pitch. Celebrate your business and community”

—Hans Peter Meyer, content marketing manager

“Back off on the heavy sell pitch,” he says. Instead, “Celebrate your business and community.”

Be creative, consistent and conversational

So, how does a CU without a background in publishing go about doing that? “When you first start, take baby steps,” he says, adding that you shouldn’t expect to go viral.

“Search for things that will consistently click with your members and will bring new members in. Small businesses and credit unions have huge content opportunities. Be creative with your content, be consistent and be conversational.”

Conversation is key, Meyer stresses. “If you put stuff out there, people will respond, so be prepared to respond back,” he says. Be active on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter three times a week. Posts can be as simple as photos showcasing CU members and staff or activities you’re sponsoring in the community. “Somebody in your business is a natural at this,” says Meyer. “Give them scope and encourage them to be creative.”

Photos should be crisp and dynamic, showing people – preferably in groups – smiling. They should also provide contextual references (think: signage). With their permission, tag people in the photos to increase each post’s reach.

Exploit editing apps and free webinars

Smartphones with video cameras and access to user-friendly editing apps are your friend. Use them to record short films of members and businesses the CU has helped and post away. Let the members’ words and experiences tell the story. Quotes and screenshots can later be repurposed as future content.

Surveys can maximize content and give insight into the membership, too. The results of a three-question poll – who are you, what is your business, how did the credit union help you – can be transformed into a chart or graph using online infographic tools. “Zip, zip, zip, you’ve got more visual content,” Meyer says. Unsure how to edit video or use an infographic website? Many sites offer great learning opportunities via free webinars as an incentive to choose their product. “One of my favourites is Hubspot.” says Meyer. “That’s a great resource, a great place to start.”

And don’t forget to have fun, he says. “Inform yourself, then play. There is a lot of research around what works and what doesn’t. But there’s still room for experimentation and being creative.” ◊