Creating content for an industry as highly regulated as insurance and financial services is no easy feat. As AssetMark CMO Tamara Bohlig aptly observed at Transition SF, “Selling financial services isn’t like selling a candy bar. It’s much more complicated.”

We sat down with the content team from Erie Insurance, a Fortune 500 insurance company, to see how they’re changing the way they plan their content to be more thoughtful, align with their brand’s core values, and be more efficient about production.

From our conversation, there were learnings that marketers both within and outside of the financial services space can apply to their own content planning and creation process. Here are some of the highlights. For the full story on how ERIE is using Percolate to build its content marketing ecosystem, check out our case study.

1. Define your core content pillars

No good content marketer flies blind — every great idea should tie back to your content strategy. And since strategy can often be an open-ended beast, one good way to anchor it to real brand elements is by determining core content pillars. These are themes that you can easily slot your content under. For ERIE, although their product is insurance, at their core they consider themselves a service-oriented brand, and are always looking to tell stories that reflect that — like this piece on holiday safety tips or this thoughtful story on selfie safety. By using Percolate’s marketing calendar to plan their content, ERIE can tag everything by content pillar and then use different views to group and filter that content. This let’s them see how they’re doing on multiple fronts: content volume, frequency, thematic mix, and so forth.

“Percolate gives us a view into our campaigns from a 50,000 foot level. It has been really helpful for our content team to decide how to approach a topic from a voice and imagery perspective.” – Abby Badach, Sr. Marketing Comms Specialist

2. Don’t let your social strategy be a black box

Social may be a priority channel for content distribution, but it’s often relegated to a corner when it comes to the larger marketing strategy. Part of this could be attributed to the fact that its format, voice, and tone are often channel-specific. But as much as possible, push yourself (and your team) to adopt campaign-based thinking when it comes to all of your content: how can the same piece of content appear across channels, including social? At ERIE, they save valuable time and find better alignment among teams if everyone can rally around a single content strategy.

3. Think content first, platform second

It’s easy to fall into the rut of platform-specific thinking  — “This piece of content would work really well on our blog”, “Our Twitter followers would love this asset” — but it’s equally crucial to remember your audience is cross-platform. You could be overlooking the full scope of potential platforms a piece of content can live on. The team at Erie Insurance finds they get more out of an idea by being platform-agnostic at the outset, and letting themselves be surprised by how many iterations their content can take across a multitude of channels

4. Use past performance data to see what worked — and what didn’t

Trying to create new content on a weekly or daily basis can often feel like being asked to pull a rabbit out of a hat. With the help of Percolate’s analytics, the ERIE team looks back on past campaigns to see how they’ve performed, what learnings they can apply to new projects, and how they can replicate past successes. For instance, seasonality and trending weather conditions influence much of ERIE’s social content. Percolate makes it easy for the team to identify, refresh, and repurpose high-performing social posts for specific weather events, so they’re ready before the next storm or blizzard hits.

Download our case study to read the full story on how ERIE has rallied its team around a single content strategy and found efficiencies in their process.