Many finserv brands struggle with content marketing. Here are three who don't.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 78% of marketers in the financial services space are producing content marketing but only 25% rate themselves as effective at it. If you count yourself in that minority, don’t despair. Instead, look to educate or entertain your audience as these finserv brands have.

Goldman Sachs
The Our Thinking section of Goldman Sachs’ website is full of insights, including tons of podcasts and videos (the former showcases internal experts while the latter features a mix of celebrities and dignitaries). While it’s all very well produced, their infographics are what really caught my eye. Rich in data and interactivity, these deep dives into consumers (millennials) and verticals (automotive) brought hundreds of pages of research to life.

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In an interview with Digiday, Goldman Sachs’ Kaydee Bridges admits this highly visualized approach made much more sense than producing a yet another white paper. The smartest thing about Goldman’s strategy, however, is something you can’t even see: the infographics were coded to live off-site as well, allowing them to easily serve as native ads on The New York TimesQuartzMashable and other news sites.

Chase Bank
Created in partnership with Business Insider and The Player’s Tribune, “A Letter To My Younger Self” isn’t what you’d expect from a native ad: it’s substantive and engrossing. Featuring the personal reflections of six star athletes — from Kobe Bryant to Pete Sampras — the Chase-sponsored series covers the lessons learned in life.

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In her contribution, Danish tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki admits that “Dad was right.” Tucked in between recollections of victory and defeat, Wozniacki talks about how her father preached the value of frugality and how real estate investment could allow her to provide for generations of her family. The necessity of saving is something that appears in Kobe Bryant’s letter, too. It’s a nice way to set up Chase’s products without beating readers over the head — subtlety is something that’s too often missing from native ads like these.   

Note: If you haven’t checked out Chase.com lately, it’s worth visiting to see how the bank has put content front and center. As far as I know, they’re the only major bank to do so. You can read more about that decision here.

American Express
AmEx’s OPEN Forum — its online resource for small business owners — has long been a content marketing darling. Knowing that its primary audience is pressed for time and is often on the front line of their business, AmEx sought to port the experience to mobile devices in an attempt to make OPEN Forum content more accessible. The move was meant to provide SMBs with an app that was one part content library, one part business coach.

The app, which allows SMBs to specify subject areas they want to learn more about, delivers short bursts of advice at a time of day when biz owners are most likely to see it (set using an in-app timer). Though a mobile-friendly OPEN Forum has existed since 2010, having a native app allows AmEx to take on the burden of finding the right content for SMBs vs. them having to do that themselves.

So what makes these finserv examples winners? In my mind, each is the product of unconventional thinking. Goldman Sachs took a more of journalistic approach to presenting reams of data, Chase found a way to discuss finances from a very human perspective and AmEx used technology to bring greater utility to useful content (even though they didn’t have to).