Maintaining a pulse on the industry and current events can enhance marketing, PR and member relationships.
The financial services industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The advancement of technology and channels, an influx of new competition and an active mergers and acquisitions landscape—not to mention the current pandemic situation and need for social distancing—are challenging how credit unions have traditionally operated and what members expect from them. Keeping up with these significant events and shifts is crucial; doing so will not only help evolve business strategies and member service but will also provide important content for public relations and marketing activities, when appropriate.
First and foremost, keeping a close eye on major events and trending news can help credit unions identify issues that could impact their members’ financial health. For example, given the recent uptick in phishing attacks targeting remote workers, online shoppers and people simply seeking health information, credit unions must stay aware so they can proactively share tips, best practices and warning signs with members.
Such industry awareness and advice can also be leveraged as content for media relations efforts. Commenting on relevant topics can establish industry expertise. Once your credit union has identified issues or trends that would be beneficial for their organizations to speak to and spokespeople and talking points have been approved by leadership, there are several ways to meaningfully disseminate the message.
Interact With Local Media
Publications often look for credit union and financial services industry sources to provide commentary on trends they’re observing in the local economy and financial wellness tips for consumers and businesses. For example, as interest rates drop, your credit union's CEO or CFO can be a useful resource on the local news to talk about what that means for consumers. Coverage in respected local media can go a long way in establishing credibility.
In this time of uncertainty, what other questions are members asking about finances? Contact your local media and offer to share pertinent financial advice with the community.
Many credit unions already publish blogs around such financial health topics as how to plan for retirement and budgeting tips. By expanding the scope of blog content to include more commentary around current events and major trends, credit unions can further validate their industry expertise and widen their readership net. For example, the gig economy continues to gain traction in the United States, so drafting a blog around the offerings credit unions have available for gig workers—many of whom are temporary, remote freelancers—could be beneficial. Not only might this topic pique the interest of readers, but it could be instrumental in helping to attract new business members and expand existing relationships.
Engage on Social Media
Social media is a critical channel to connect and engage with members, potential members, peers, business partners, reporters and industry influencers. By leveraging social media to comment on trends and current events, credit unions can create a dialogue with relevant audiences. And, social media is a great way to extend the reach and lifetime of existing content, such as blog posts and coverage in trade publications. Twitter is typically the most effective social network for creating such conversations with current and prospective members.
By carefully monitoring industry trends and news cycles, credit unions will be better positioned to ignite conversations around more meaningful and timely topics, which will ultimately strengthen relationships with your members.
Maggie Wise is an account associate at William Mills Agency, the nation’s largest independent public relations firm focusing exclusively on the financial services and technology industries. The agency can be followed on Twitter @wmagency, Facebook, LinkedIn or its blog.