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Are you focusing your content creation efforts on your company’s own website or social media channels?

If so, you’re not alone. According to the Content Marketing Institute, when it comes to creating and distributing content, 93% of B2B content marketers use social media, 81% use blogs and 79% use articles on their own websites. Curiously, only 29% used digital magazines as part of their marketing tactics.

But as the IMS Wealth Manager Monitor shows, asset managers’ clients are very clear about where they like to get content:

“64% of investors turn to independent, niche websites for actionable insights and editorial perspective on the financial markets.”

That’s why asset management marketers regularly run sponsored campaigns in digital outlets such as Citywire publications or Portfolio Adviser, consisting of a combination of adverts and sponsored ‘thought leadership’ articles.

However, marketers might be missing an opportunity by not specifically targeting the publications’ NEWS stories:

News coverage differs from sponsored content on two counts. One, news stories feature prominently on the website’s landing page, while sponsored articles are usually relegated to a separate section; two, sponsored content is paid for, and controlled, by the asset manager. News stories, by contrast, are written by reporters.

In a proprietary study, we tracked four niche industry publications, to discover how asset managers can actively influence their NEWS COVERAGE to increase their ORGANIC VISIBILITY in specialist publications. The bottom line: opportunity is abundant.

Tell me about this study!

Our study tracked the following four publications, targeting the entire range of asset management clients:

Citywire Wealth Manager, targeting mostly the wholesale (including private banks and family offices) and institutional spaces; Citywire Selector, specifically targeting fund selectors within the wholesale space; Portfolio Adviser, covering retail, wholesale and institutional clients; and Trustnet, aimed at retail investors.

In total, we’ve analysed all 695 news articles published in April 2017. Specifically, we’ve dissected these articles’ topics and content, and categorised each into one of the following categories:

Sell-side news comprises stories with a fund manager interview or a viewpoint expressed by a specific asset management firm. Buy-side news consists of interviews with and viewpoints from asset-management clients.

Market news constitutes industry or financial stories that cover broader topics: stories bundled in this category include political news, financial market news, company earnings updates and inflows news.

Here are our top four ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS.

1. Fund manager interviews top the count, but most messages drown in noise

PR and marketing teams may manage a company’s media presence, but fund managers’ inputs play a significant part in the outcome. For all four publications, sell-side focused stories – mostly fund managers’ views on trending market dynamics – OUTNUMBER buy-side perspectives.

For an asset manager wishing to showcase their products, this is both good news (because of media interest) and bad news (because it’s harder to stand out from the crowd).

The reason most sell-side stories struggle to win attention is that asset managers hone their storytelling skills through conversations with clients. But the people they’re meeting have already shown some degree of interest in the product; media readers often haven’t, and their attention span is flimsy.

Two tactics can help fund coverage stand out: One concerns substance, the other- style. On substance, nothing grabs attention like a fund manager ANSWERING A QUESTION. By contrast, articles like these ARE NOT answering a question:

Even with bigger economic issues, you’d struggle to find a reader who’s genuinely wondering: What will happen when the Fed raises rates again?

So for fund managers, a suggestion: Don’t try solving readers’ problems for the next year; try snatching their attention for the next 10 seconds. With the following stories, notice how they centre their message on answering a specific question:

How will hot desking hit property funds? Who knows what EM really means? and How AI could transform Wealth Management.

With substance in place, we can turn to style. People love HOOKS such as oddball facts and striking quotes because they’re sticky, helping maintain readers’ interest and making content memorable. Here’s a great example of how effective it can be to plan hooks in advance: Value problems with ETF sausage machine.

Remember: These two tactics allow a conversation to begin. Once a reader is sufficiently engaged, there’s nothing stopping an article from digging deeper into fund strategy.

2. Get gossiping!

Job-hopping updates comprised 15% of stories in each of the publications reviewed, with the exception of Trustnet, which doesn’t cover such stories. Not only are there legions of career gossip stories, they are also consistently some of the most read.

Asset management bigwigs are hardly delighted when a star fund manager decides to leave; such departures may trigger outflows, and often require substantial client-retention efforts. But, in welcoming a new star manager, there’s ample opportunity for positive media coverage.

This principle extends beyond top-hires. Adding two research analysts? That’s doubling down on strategy! (Certainly for Schroders’ fixed income team). Beefing up your technology team? You’re investing in capabilities! (Just like Man GLG).

3. Offbeat stories are your best way in.

Consider the following titles:

Entrepreneurs: the single most important client group | Trump tops investors’ risk agendas – global survey finds | A top chocolate stock for Easter

These stories aren’t addressing a specific question, nor are they commenting on market developments; such articles attempt to pique readers’ curiosity, and they accounted for 16% of the stories surveyed in April.

Most often, the content originates from asset managers, consultancies and specialist providers. And the fact they show up regularly on news sites testifies to their appeal.

But getting a creative and kooky angle out of fund managers can be difficult sometimes. Fortunately, there’s a far easier way to be interesting: Deeper analysis of the stories revealed many shared one key attribute: SMALL DATA.

Small data is the neglected sibling of the much-hyped big data. For the latter, vast amounts of data are systematically accumulated and mined for insight. For small data, specific information is deliberately collected to gain insights, and a spreadsheet should suffice. This very article is an example of small data content generation, as were the first two of the above three examples.

Marketers may be missing a trick by not angling stories around small data, particularly when most asset managers are overflowing with opportunity. Regular fund manager sentiment barometers and surveys at client-facing events are just two among many options available.

4. There’s surprisingly little market news

In three of the four publications reviewed, stories in the “market news” category accounted for a minority share of all news stories published over the month. This remains true even when adding the stories covering regulation and industry M&A news.

For marketers, this means the vast majority of news stories published in niche magazines are up for grabs.

As reading habits become more segmented, audience relevance is increasingly pivotal; a 2015 Statista survey on effective B2B content marketing found it was by far the most important factor.

Niche magazine coverage offers asset managers a great opportunity, but it’s probably not being targeted as much as it could be.

I hope this article offered some new ideas to try and implement into your marketing strategy. Is there an area in tailoring news stories you’d like to hear more about? Let me know in the comments below!

Vered Zimmerman

Vered Zimmerman

Vered is an investment writer in our London office. She holds an MBA from Cass Business School and an MSc in mathematics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Vered Zimmerman