Creating trusting and lasting relationships with your customers is surprisingly easy, so long as you think niche. Here’s how Wells Fargo found its niche and built one of the financial sector’s longest-reigning and most trusted content marketing empires. Ellen Martin writes.

This post is an excerpt from our whitepaper, The State of Content Marketing in Financial Services – you can get your hands on it here.

It’s been a decade since the Wells Fargo marketing team started publishing a steady stream of super relevant, niche content around one refreshingly simple truism: “College keeps getting more expensive.”

Today, Wells Fargo is a financial beacon for anxious parents and their soon-to-be college students. Not only does it help students manage the string of zeros tacked onto the end of their fee statements, but it also offers tips and advice on things like studying for the SATs, starting the college search, applying for scholarships, and even extracurricular activities that can help high school seniors land their dream college.

With a wealth of resources – we’re talking hundreds of blog posts, explainer videos, infographics, and step-by-step guides spanning nearly 80 categories, from financial aid and fraud, to college life, housing and holidays – Wells Fargo’s content marketing approach is one we can all learn from.

Going niche, example one: #GetCollegeReady care packages on Pinterest

There’s no denying that the Wells Fargo marketing team has put in the hard yards to get to know their audience. Through intensive research, they’ve cleverly identified that college is a big deal not just for students, but also for their families, particularly their parents and guardians. This revelation has inspired a Pinterest strategy unparalleled in the financial services sector. Enter, #GetCollegeReady.

#GetCollegeReady Wells Fargo's content marketing_1

How it works

  • The #GetCollegeReady Pinterest page showcases fresh, super-stylised images of items that could greatly improve the day-to-day life of a student living on campus.
  • Each pin deploys language that’s at once authoritative and playful, tapping into the inner workings of a parent’s/guardian’s college-focused mind.
  • All pins lead to the one place: Wells Fargo’s Get College Ready website, a place for students and their families to find out more about how to pay for college, managing money, and building credit (and to find out how Wells Fargo can help, of course).

Why it works

  • Taking a visual-first approach to content marketing is never a bad idea. Images are easy to digest and let you communicate a great deal of information in a way that is both compact and compelling.
  • The execution is quirky, lighthearted and, importantly, warm. The college experience is an emotionally supercharged one, so it’s crucial that Wells Fargo’s content reflects this fact.

Going niche, example two: Five-part video series, How to pay for college

Paying for college is complex, sometimes long-winded and, for many soon-to-be college students, an overwhelming experience. Which is why Wells Fargo has chosen to break down the college payment journey into five easy-to-follow explainer videos.

How it works

  • The series stars a kooky character by the name of Mr Fellows, a self-professed ‘wise man’ and college adviser. Fellows guides students through the various financing options they can take, pointing their attention to helpful tools and resources, while providing quick tips and tricks to make the process trouble-free.

Why it works

  • The college-aid process can land many an aspiring student in strife, particularly when it comes to filling out and lodging application forms, providing family tax and income information, and ensuring that all steps have been completed in the right order. Presenting all this information in video format, as opposed to presenting it as verbose passages and addendums, makes it almost impossible to mess up the application process. Thank you Wells Fargo, says every student, ever.
  • The videos make a point of sending viewers to external government resources to further support students’ college-funding quests. By taking this tact, the focus is not on the Wells Fargo brand, but on external resources that are genuinely helpful to customers. Snaps for the Wells Fargo marketing team!

Going niche, example three: Step-by-step guide, Your financial aid journey in 5 steps

This step-by-step guide supports the How to pay for college video series, providing students and their families with a printable, straightforward guide full of tips, tools and advice to help them on their college-aid journey.

How it works

  • Every page of the guide is jam-packed with utility, featuring checklists, graphs, breakout boxes with top tips, and links to external tools and resources.

Why it works

  • It’s printable. Millennials, too, like to print stuff out and scribble all over it sometimes.
  • By reiterating the points made in the How to pay for college video series, this guide offers students and their families an additional medium through which to internalise important financial information.
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