Microcontent: what it is and how it can help your marketing

Microcontent hasn’t really found its legs in the financial services industry. We think that’s going to change.

Microcontent is primarily visual content distributed on media such as a blog, Facebook or LinkedIn to bolster your content efforts and draw your audience’s attention toward a more robust piece of content. These may include in-depth whitepapers, infographics or a new video on your website.

What sets microcontent apart from other types of content? It’s short, “snackable” and relatively cheap to produce.

What’s microcontent?

While this isn’t a complete list, the key types of microcontent include:

  • Charts
  • Diagrams
  • Facts and figures
  • GIFs
  • Graphics
  • Illustrations
  • Images
  • Quotes
  • Tips

What’s best for financial services?

Financial services marketers tend to use charts, graphs and tables in their materials. But these tools are used a lot, and your content may lose its impact among the vast amount of charts, graphs and tables that are already out there.

It’s good to look beyond these forms of microcontent when you can. Some types of microcontent that we think are ideal for the financial services industry include:

  • Images are a great way to capture your audience’s attention (think about taking elements from larger, more detailed infographics)
  • Quotes are always eye-catching. If you use quotes, don’t forget to use compelling and complementary images or graphic designs to draw more attention to them
  • Tips that help people excel at their job and life will always be near the top of the sharable content list

From a production standpoint, the best thing about microcontent is that it’s relatively quick to produce, so you can experiment a little more than you would with lengthier or more costly content. This can be a huge benefit for content teams that are stretched to the limit.

If you want to boost your marketing efforts, this is the perfect time to start producing microcontent. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or to learn how.

Welcome to the era of video

We’ve entered a new era in financial services marketing and communications – the era of video.

Across all industries, including financial services, audiences are turning to video for education and research. In fact, the numbers are staggering and don’t show signs that they will slow any time soon. HubSpot recently revealed 72% of people would rather use video versus text to learn about a product or service, while 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2018 (Source).

“This is good news for financial services firms,” says Catherine Reale, Head of Canada at Asset TV, “as video is a highly efficient way to communicate – it’s scalable, cost-effective and helps you manage regulatory issues regarding total spend per advisor. But more than all of that: it catches your audience’s attention.”

Let’s explore some of the key reasons why video is presenting financial services firms with great opportunities in 2018 and beyond.

“72% of people would rather use video versus text to learn about a product or service and 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2018.” (Source)

Extend your reach

Changing media patterns – especially the “cutting the cord” phenomenon – are undeniable. People are shifting away from traditional media, such as television and radio, to more digital channels, such as watching video on their computers and phones. These are massive secular trends that are unfolding quickly across the globe.

A similar shift is seen in the rapid adoption of mobile. People are becoming more and more comfortable with banking, shopping and playing games on their phones. As such, video is booming on mobile as well – social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined (Source). By switching some of your resources to video that can be shared on social media and increase your financial services social media marketing presence, you’re capitalizing on a major trend that will increasingly work in your favour.

“Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined.” (Source)

Engage your audience

Video is an engagement tool like none other. Why? Because it helps people remember your message. The data around this is quite dramatic. People retain 95% of a message when they view it on a video compared to 10% when they read it in text (Source).

If you want to leave your audience with a specific message, a video is clearly the best way to do it.

According to a financial publication out of the U.K., companies using video say that the top benefits to video include: positions company as innovative, increased levels of satisfaction, faster service, better customer intimacy and reduced work. (Source)

“Video has demonstrably helped us communicate with – and grow – our audience,” says Tammy Cash, Executive Vice President, Head of Marketing, Horizons ETFs. “It’s engaging, dynamic, it’s what our audience is responding to, and it helps us speak to them more often.”

Video isn’t “too good to be true” – it does take work to get a video right. Video, however, is what your audience wants. So, give them what they want.

“Video has demonstrably helped us communicate with – and grow – our audience. It’s engaging, dynamic, it’s what our audience is responding to, and it helps us speak to them more often.” Tammy Cash, Executive Vice President, Head of Marketing, Horizons ETFs Inc.

Manage regulatory issues

Financial firms are limited in how much they can spend on their relationships with advisors. These rules exist for good reason. But keeping advisors and institutional investors well informed about your firm’s solutions helps ensure they are making the right recommendations to their clients. Simply put, video helps them do their job more effectively.

“Video helps firms get their message in front of advisors and institutional investors,” says Reale. “Your portfolio managers can use the same video to talk to all advisors, no matter where they’re located – saving their time and your company’s money.” You can even add graphics and statistics to make your video a more educational experience. You can also choose to make your video a Q&A and address the audience directly. The choices are endless.

Some things to look for during your search for a video partner

Not all videos are created equally – nor are all video partners. There’s a steep learning curve, which is why you might want to consider working with a partner that specializes in financial services video. A partner like Asset TV will help you create videos that stand out with cutting edge and compelling content. Here’s how they help:

  • Strictly video. A partner that is focused purely on video will help ensure you’re benefiting from industry best practices.
  • Vetted audience. Ideally, your video partner will have access to a controlled, opt-in audience of retail advisors and institutional investors. This ensures your message is getting in front of the right people – meaning your clients and prospects.
  • National distribution. Flying around the country to meet with advisors and institutional investors is a massive drain on resources and, more importantly, results in some important markets being underserved. A video partner with national distribution helps solve this problem, as your message can be heard from any place with an internet connection. Today, that’s everywhere.


The financial services industry is evolving quickly – and your company’s marketing and branding efforts as well as your content strategy needs to keep pace. “In an environment of increased regulation, fee compression and product proliferation,” says Reale, “getting your message in front of the right people and then keeping their attention takes engaging content that you create frequently. Asset TV can help.”

Some things to look for in a video partner

Financial services providers looking to leverage the best video has to offer should expect the following from their video production and distribution partners – and Asset TV delivers:

  • An understanding of how to get (and keep) viewers’ attention
  • The ability to create cutting-edge, compelling content that meets Continuing Professional Development and Continuing Education standards
  • Access to an expansive audience from the investment community
  • Metrics to show that this audience is actually spending time on their platform viewing your video content


Video’s appeal is already massive and continues to grow. Whether you’re new to video or an experienced pro, working with a video partner can help you improve the quality of your content, manage your marketing costs and capture your audience’s attention.

Think video is right for you? Want to find out more? Contact Catherine by email at or call 416.523.7694.

Investor education done right

Investor education should be top of mind for all financial services marketers. Why? Because we think teaching your clients about investing will help you build trust.

But what kind of education should you offer? What do your clients want? Here are three tips to improve your investor education efforts.

1. Start at the beginning

Where are you going to start? Even before explaining a mutual fund, examine the importance of saving.

“Why is saving so important?” is an important question that many current and would-be investors don’t have a clear answer to. An added bonus is that you can speak about this subject without getting into technical language.

Lay a strong foundation in “Saving 101” and then build your way up to mutual funds.

Suggestion: Create a microsite with videos and accompanying one-page brochures.

2. Engage them

How are you going to engage your clients and prospects? Try gamification.

Doesn’t it seem like we learned a lot more and a lot faster when we were children? That was actually the case and it’s because we were learning in a much more interactive manner.

Gamification is all about offering interactive learning that is fun, challenging and goals-based. Sites like use design elements and the mechanics of games to improve learning, helping people retain more information and offering a better user experience.

Suggestion: Create quizzes built around a story – and make sure you reward people with points and certificates.

3. Stick with them

How are you going to do this? By planning for the long term.

Investor education isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. A three-month education campaign just isn’t enough because if people see that you are light on content, they may question the value of getting involved.

Educating your clients will take time and cost money, but we believe it is an unmatched opportunity for financial services firms to build trust and get their clients engaged in their businesses.

Suggestion: Create a detailed editorial calendar, and be prepared to produce comprehensive briefs and find data to back up your requests.

Getting investor education right means providing top-notch investor education to your clients and prospects, creating truly informative material, delivering it in interesting and engaging ways, and then sticking by their sides for the long haul.

We can help you strategize and execute on your firm’s investor education initiatives. Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

9 reasons to work with a content partner

There are is one overarching challenge all marketers face when trying to deliver engaging, sharable content: finding the time and creative talent to produce it all.

But for financial services marketers like us, there’s another big challenge: finding people with the technical knowledge to produce accurate content for this unique sector.

Faced with these two challenges, it makes sense to work with a content partner. Here are 9 reasons why:

1. Control your operating costs

With marketing budgets shrinking across the industry, finding opportunities to manage costs is a big win for marketing VPs and managers. And using an outsourced partner to deliver this type of content can be very cost effective.

2. Improve your focus

If your marketing team has many projects on the go, the room for error expands. Having a partner that is solely focused on your content production reduces the chance of error.

3. Access expertise

A financial services content partner brings senior thinking to the table. These insights are often informed by running many projects across the industry.

4. Access new capabilities

Content partners have access to products and services that your in-house team may not, by choice or because of budgetary restraints.

5. Structured process

A content partner has a structured process specific to the content marketing world, meaning a focus on the fast and efficient delivery of your content.

6. Quicker turnaround times

Given their expertise and resources, content partners can get your work done faster. In this era of increasing content requirements, the ability to produce timely content is essential.

7. Frees up your resources

Your internal team would likely contribute more to your company’s success if they focus on strategic initiatives or on an important client. This allows your content partner to assume more of your ongoing needs, while also helping to strategizing future content initiatives.

8. Get time-consuming projects off your plate

Content, sales and practice management campaigns take a lot of time, which can distract your team from their day-to-day responsibilities.

9. Extend your team

A content partner is just a great way to beef up your team without adding headcount.

Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or and make us an extension of your team.

But can you make a PowerPoint?

But can you make a PowerPoint? We’re asked this question all the time.

It’s no surprise. “Financial services marketing and investment commentaries” covers a broad range of possibilities. To find out more about investment commentaries, click here. To find out more about financial services marketing, read on.

Services at Ext. Marketing Inc.

Yes, we make PowerPoint presentations – and we can do much, much more for you. Here are just some of the ways that we can help you and your firm achieve your marketing goals while alleviating many of your concerns and challenges around resourcing:

  • Copy and design for PowerPoint presentations
  • Copy and design for newsletters
  • Digital newsletters and eBlasts
  • Copy and design for brochures, infographics, sales tools and fund sheets
  • Copy and design for websites and microsites
  • Strategize and execute custom content campaigns
  • Write blog posts for content marketing and other usages
  • Help you brand and get the word out about a new product or services
  • Conduct marketing materials audits
  • Copy for executive speeches
  • Copy for press releases
  • Lead brainstorming sessions
  • Enhance your social media activity and presence
  • Script, storyboard, shoot and edit videos
  • We even offer print production and translation services!

You get the picture – we’re a full-service marketing and communications partner for financial services firms.

If you have a marketing challenge, we can help you work through it. Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Going live in 3… 2… 1!

As a marketing professional, you probably know all about the live video marketing trend. It happens to be the big marketing idea right now. Unfortunately, the financial services industry hasn’t adopted this trend as much as other industries, and we think that’s a missed opportunity. Here’s what financial services marketers can learn from non-financial brands that are doing live video well.

What is live video?

In case you’re not clear on what live video is, it’s very much what it sounds like: video streamed live as events happen.

As a marketing technique, live video seems to have picked up steam since the launch of Facebook Live. We’re sure both your personal and professional Facebook streams have been hit with notifications that a specific person or company is now (or was) live.

Live video isn’t just for Facebook, though. You can go live on YouTube or on your company blog. Review your content strategy, take a look at the resources you have available, and choose the channel that makes the most sense for your firm.

Who’s doing it well?

Since we’re talking about video, it should come as no surprise that media properties are using this marketing tool particularly well.

Disney Interactive Media, for example, has established a production team dedicated to producing broadcast-quality live video. Thanks, once again, to Facebook Live, you may have had the opportunity to see the touring cast of Newsies perform the song “Santa Fe” actually live from Santa Fe.

Sure, it’s easy for a company like Disney that knows a thing or two about production value and making great videos. But here’s the thing: live video isn’t about broadcast-quality video. It’s about telling a story in real time and delivering that story to people who might otherwise get to participate in it. And that’s something content marketers already know how to do.

What story will you tell?

It’s up to you, but it should be a story that fits with your overall content strategy, doesn’t feel forced or staged, and doesn’t require a great deal of resources.

Maybe you have an investor presentation, industry conference or other event that you think non-attendees would be interested in. Have someone on your communications team film part of the event and stream it live on Facebook. This could be a great way to give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at the financial services industry and, at the same time, provide a learning opportunity. It could also benefit those who wanted to attend your event but couldn’t make it in person.

You probably won’t want to live stream the entire event, as you still want to provide value to those who attended in person. Instead, live stream meaningful snippets, enough to capture your audience’s attention and potentially drive interest in future events.

It’s up to you, but it should be a story that fits with your overall content strategy, doesn’t feel forced or staged, and doesn’t require a great deal of resources.

The nuts and bolts of live video

Before you go live, there are a few other things to keep in mind.

First, if your channel of choice for live video is YouTube or your company’s blog, rather than Facebook Live, you may want to invest in slightly higher production quality. But the great thing about live video is that you can decide how to approach it.

Second, live video doesn’t mean spontaneous video. If you want your video to have an impact, then people have to see it. It can’t hurt to take to your social media channels and give your audience a heads-up that you’re going live. Let them know when and where, as well as what the topic will be. That way, people will know to tune in.

Finally, never film people – including audience members – without their permission. And make sure your firm’s compliance department is comfortable with what you’re posting live.

To learn more about crafting a content marketing strategy, contact us today at, or 416.925.1700 or 844.243.1830.

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5 best practices for better online videos

5 best practices for better online videos

More than ever before, Canadians are consuming their information and news through online video. It’s no wonder financial services firms are capitalizing on this trend and boosting their online video production capabilities.

Here are five tips to help ensure that you’re capturing attention and driving interest in your services and solutions with online videos.

1. Great sound is essential

Sometimes the most important aspect of a video is the audio.

We can’t overstate how essential audio is to video. You may be talking about the most interesting subject in the world but if your audience can’t hear you clearly, they’ll go somewhere else. So invest in the right audio gear and recording equipment for the best results.

2. Have the right words

You don’t want to “wing it” when it comes to conveying your message. Be prepared with a strong script and compelling content for your video. If you can’t get it right, bring in a professional to polish the wording.

Once your plan’s in place, fill in the blanks with the right speaker. Remember, though, a speaker who is at a loss for words and starts using fillers like “umm” could hurt your company’s image. Try to find a presenter who is passionate, authentic, speaks clearly and intelligently, and can relate to your audience.

3. Keep it short and sweet

We are often asked “What’s the best length for a video?” Sometimes people are surprised by our answer. We think one to two minutes is ideal. That’s right, just one to two minutes.

This time frame works because it doesn’t ask much from your viewer and, if written well, is more than enough time to convey one to three key points.

Note: longer videos do serve a purpose too, but they should be targeted to those who are highly engaged in a topic.

4. Hold off on the hard sell

The most engaging videos are not sales pitches. Instead, they solve problems.

If you focus too much on your company’s history and successes, you run the risk of boring your audience. You don’t want them asking “What’s the point of this video?”

The best approach is to use your corporate videos to outline solutions to the challenges your clients and prospects may be facing. An educational approach can also build credibility and is a great way to showcase your company’s expertise.

5. Close like a pro

Just like brochures and newsletters – and every other type of marketing material – corporate videos should end with a clear call to action.

Remember: if they have made it to the end of the video, you’re not imposing on your audience. The viewer probably wants more. So help them out by inviting them to contact you or offering a link for something to download.

Do you need help creating a video that will engage your clients? We can make it happen. Contact us at 416.925.1700 or

Advisor communications series: Five best practices for videos

Given the amount of time people spend watching online videos, it’s no wonder advisors want to evolve their marketing endeavours to capture the attention of their clients and prospects.

Here are a few tips to ensure your online videos are more professional and engaging.

Be prepared

Write a script. If you can’t get it right, bring someone in to polish it for you.

You don’t want to wing it when it comes to conveying your message. If you’re lost for words and start using fillers like “umm,” it could hurt your – and your company’s – image.

Great video depends on great sound

We can’t overstate how essential audio is to video. You may be talking about the most interesting subject in the world, but if your audience can’t hear you clearly, they’ll go somewhere else.

This goes for lighting too. If you’re hidden in the shadows, your viewers may not want to strain to see you.

Keep your video short and sweet

People often ask us “What’s the best length for a video?” Sometimes people are surprised by our answer. A minute is good. A one-minute video works because it doesn’t ask too much from your viewer. If written well, it’s more than enough time to convey one to three key points.

Note: there is a place for longer videos if the content you’re sharing truly is great and people are highly engaged in your topic.

Hold off on the hard sell …

The best videos are not sales pitches. They solve problems instead.

If you focus solely on your company’s history and successes, you’ll bore your audience. You don’t want them asking “What’s the point of this video?”

The best approach is to use your corporate videos to help solve your clients’ and prospects’ challenges.

… and close like a pro

Corporate videos, just like brochures, emails and every other type of marketing material, should end with a call to action.

Remember that if they have made it to the end of the video, you’re not bothering your audience. The viewer probably wants more. So help them out and tell them what they should do next.

If you want help with your next video, contact us at 416.925.1700 or

What we learned from our kid’s playlist

Have you heard of the band OK Go? We hadn’t until a few years ago when one of our kids showed us the now famous Rube Goldberg Machine video. We were hooked.

OK Go may be the only band around that’s better known for its viral music videos than its actual music. The band’s creative videos have been viewed more than a hundred million times, because they know how to entertain, engage and inspire. Here’s what we’ve learned from OK Go’s viral marketing success.

Do something nobody else is doing

OK Go’s videos are like nothing we’ve seen before, because they’re like nothing that’s been done before. They don’t meet anyone’s expectations of what a typical music video should look like … but in a good way.

Almost every video OK Go has made has gone viral. And millions of people eagerly anticipate each new release. Our takeaway from this: OK Go has found its “thing.”

What’s your “thing”? What are you doing that nobody else in your industry is doing? Maybe you give the most entertaining speeches or are a thought leader who is always sought after for commentary on a particular topic. Find your “thing,” perfect it and own it.

What’s your “thing”? What are you doing that nobody else in your industry is doing?

Put in real effort

We’re all pressed for time. The business world doesn’t stop so we can focus on blog posts, social media or video marketing. That’s why it’s so tempting to skip the original content and share content from other sources with retweets or links to other companies’ blog posts.

Here’s the thing: truly memorable, shareable content is original. It takes real time and effort … and sometimes money. Keep sharing content from others, and hang on to your lower-effort marketing initiatives. But try to balance these things with a couple of bigger, more creative projects each year that will get you noticed.

Truly memorable, shareable content is original.

Find a creative partner

This isn’t really about OK Go. It’s about the car company that was smart enough to partner with them.

In their video for Needing/Getting, OK Go gets a moving Chevy Sonic to play its song for them. The car is transformed into a giant instrument and plays more instruments while the band drives. As a lower-budget band, OK Go couldn’t have afforded to make this video on its own. Likewise, Chevy wouldn’t have come up with this concept without OK Go’s creative vision and talent.

Both the band and the brand got great exposure from their partnership (almost 32 million views as of writing and a prominent Super Bowl spot). The lesson here is that if you can’t identify your “thing” or put together a big-push campaign on your own, find a creative partner who can help.

Follow us on Twitter for more marketing ideas. And let us know what you think about this blog post.