Q. When you first set up the content marketing programme what were the greatest challenges you faced?
A. Challenge one was getting enough people from the business to venture an opinion. Then the next challenge was to persuade the portfolio managers to let us use writers to help them write. They all think they can write but most of them can’t and none of them have the time for it. Finally, it was difficult to get people to understand there is a difference between market comment and thought leadership.
Q. How did you address these challenges?
A. We set up some flagship publications such as our Global Monthly Perspectives, Leaders Perspectives, Annual Outlook and Asia Quarterly, which we sent to everyone in the firm. Our publications only used to go to sales before. That got people internally competing to have their names next to the best content. We tested external writers through trial and error. Most portfolio managers find them helpful but a few have their own voice that’s difficult to learn.
Q. What have your biggest successes been?
A. Our Leaders Perspectives have had some great articles like The Day After Brexit and The Search For Yield. Our annual publication has also been very successful. By making it forward looking, covering all asset classes and geographies, we have given it a longer shelf life.
Q. How do you measure success?
A. We look at whether the teams use an article. Was it emailed to people? Was it viewed? For example, we did an infographic on the UK election that had 50,000 views. We also look at the quality of readership. Do people like it? Do they share it?
Q. How is your strategy evolving?
A. Our strategy is to get a very strong engine that has flawless execution of the basics. We plan to continue with our Leaders, Global, Annual and Asian publications, adding a European quarterly next year, as well as writing more ad hoc thought leadership. There is lots of need for asset manager content as the newspapers shrink the amount of coverage they publish. We’re finding that content is improving our brand awareness, making us appear far bigger than we are. It is far more cost-effective than a £7 million above the line advertising campaign.