Ally Financial is no stranger to content creation. The online bank launched their “Do It Right” content hub way back in 2011 only two years after the company was founded.
And over the past nine years, they’ve been as prolific a content creator as anyone in the financial services space. Right now on the Do It Right content hub you can find educational and thought leadership content on a myriad of finance topics, including retirement planning, saving for a wedding, managing a budget, estate planning, buying a car, renovating a home, selecting a bank account, investing in stocks, and the list goes on and on.
And helping power a content operation that brings thousands of visitors to the Ally website each month is Knotch.
“Knotch really helps us understand if we’re delivering on our mission statement of helping people improve their financial well-being,” says Katie Garcia, a Senior Content Specialist at Ally. “Using Knotch, we can gather a holistic understanding of if our content lines up with our strategy and if it’s resonating with users.”
Let’s take a closer look at the Do It Right content hub to understand how Ally drives sales through content, and how Knotch helps make it possible.
Doing It Right With Content
The Do It Right content hub was launched with the fundamental goal to help people achieve their best possible financial future. Ally thought that if they could create content that would help people make smart money decisions, it would promote the value of Ally’s offerings.
“The whole idea is to make Ally top of mind for consumers by helping them to achieve their best financial future,” says Garcia. “Everything we do needs to ladder up to that. If they then view Ally as a solution for their finances—even better.”
And content has made things better for Ally. Using Knotch, Ally found that users who interacted with at least one piece of content were twice as likely to convert into Ally Bank customers as those who did not.
But to drive those results, Ally needs to be strategic about what kind of content they create, what format they create it in, and how they promote it. That’s why all new content projects go through a set process of ideation, creation, optimization, distribution, and analysis.
Most of the ideation is done with relevant stakeholders. A project outline is then handed off to someone on the content team (a quickly growing team of content specialists, including Garica), in-house subject matter experts, and additional creative sourced by Ally’s marketing agency.
“We think a lot around topics and what voice or approach would do that topic justice and be helpful to our users,” says Garcia. “Fortunately, we have a kitchen sink of talent we can commission content from. Not just writers, but also video producers, social influencers, and graphic designers.”
Drafts are reviewed for accuracy and brand alignment before being shared on the Do It Right content hub. Once live, Ally utilizes a handful of distribution strategies to maximize exposure. Some posts are created with SEO best practices in mind so that they garner organic search traffic. Others are promoted through paid ads, email, and social media.
Finally, Ally tracks the performance of their content to determine if it’s serving its purpose or not.
This process is used to serve up anywhere from 5-10 pieces of content per week, and 300+ pieces of content annually—including blogs, Youtube videos, interactive tools, and graphics.
And throughout it all, Knotch is there to help.
Doing Content Right With Knotch
At the ideation and creation phase, Ally uses Knotch Blueprint for competitive content intelligence that allows them to identify whitespace in the market. Through Blueprint, Ally can view their competitors’ publishing cadence, keyword usage, distribution methods, social engagement, and more.
“We’re always thinking about if the content we’re putting out is filling our customers’ knowledge gaps,” says Renu Kohlmann, a Content Marketing Analyst at Ally. “Rather than reading blog after blog, Blueprint has helped us understand the content that’s being produced in our industry. In turn, we’re able to create more unique content on topics there isn’t a lot of information about.”
Once the content is out in the world, Knotch Measurement provides Ally with a holistic view of how their content is being received. Through Measurement, Ally can gather important quantitative metrics that are indicative of content performance, such as pageviews, click-through rate, scroll depth, time on page, user demographic information, and more.
But where Knotch really stands apart from other legacy web analytics platforms Ally has used is in its ability to gather qualitative feedback from users. This is primarily made possible through Knotch Cards, a behavioral feedback tool added to every piece of Ally content that polls users on the content they just interacted with and collects and analyzes their sentiment.
“Knotch is really the only way we can understand how users feel about our content,” says Garcia. “Sure we can get webpage metrics from Google Analytics, but with Knotch we can actually get feedback directly from the user and that’s more powerful than pageviews or engagements. After all, content is subjective. So even if we think the content we put out is great, only Knotch can tell us if the user agrees. That’s not something you get just by looking at pageviews.”
“We’ve used Knotch countless times to hone in on areas where we need to make adjustments,” adds Kohlmann. “It’s how we make shifts in strategy. It’s become an integral part of our content process.”
The Future of Content is Data-Driven
Using Knotch, the Ally content team is confident they have the resources they need to stay ahead of the competition in the fast-evolving content landscape.
Unlike other content teams, this belief in data isn’t something new for Ally. As a digital-first company from the start, Ally has always believed in using data to make strategic decisions. This philosophy has served them well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve always been strategic about content, even before COVID,” Garcia says. “So while other companies are pivoting, we’re seeing lots of new opportunities.”
As for the future of content in general, Ally is bullish.
“There’s buy-in for content at Ally. And in general I think content is only going to become more valuable over time as more and more companies switch to a digital-first method,” says Garcia. “Consumers need resources to help them make financial decisions, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.”