Imagination and TD Ameritrade Win for Best Financial Services Content Marketing at the 2020 CMAs

The cross-channel content strategy has driven meaningful results for TDAI.

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Imagination has won Best Content Marketing Program in Financial Services at the 2020 Content Marketing Awards (aka the CMAs) for our work with TD Ameritrade Institutional (TDAI). It’s been a rewarding partnership with the team at TD Ameritrade (now a part of Charles Schwab), and we’re proud of the recognition this content program has received from the Content Marketing Institute. But even more importantly, this multi-channel content strategy is driving big results for TDAI.

The goals of the content marketing strategy

TDAI’s primary audience is established and emerging registered independent advisors (RIAs), while the secondary audience is independent broker/dealers and other professionals considering a move to the RIA model.

There are multiple goals for the TD Ameritrade Institutional content strategy:

  • drive organic search traffic to TDAI digital properties
  • establish deeper engagement with TDAI prospects and clients
  • expand TDAI’s thought leadership on topics of concern to prospects and clients
  • generate demand for TDAI among established and aspiring RIAs
  • deliver best-in-class support and education to the RIA community

We’re achieving these goals through a digital content strategy, which includes digital articles, infographics and TDAI’s new podcast Beyond the Portfolio, all of which dovetail with TDAI’s quarterly print publication, Independent Advisor.

Leveraging an event to promote a multichannel content program

Every January, TD Ameritrade Institutional (TDAI) hosts National LINC, an annual conference where RIAs have the chance to meet one another, attend sessions and workshops, and learn more about how to better serve their clients and market their businesses. (Unfortunately, LINC 2021 has been shelved due to the pandemic.)

LINC attracts an engaged, passionate audience of advisors, which presented the ideal opportunity to promote the Independent Advisor magazine and the Beyond the Portfolio podcast.

Reintroducing Independent Advisor magazine

We published a special edition for LINC, which included conference logistics (agendas, maps, etc.) along with articles and departments that were specifically written for conference attendees. One feature was an exclusive interview with Ian Bremmer, a keynote speaker for the conference and well-known political and economic consultant. The special edition increased awareness (and readership) of the regular quarterly publication while providing conference attendees with a more enriching event experience.

Launching a new podcast: Beyond the Portfolio

Beyond the Portfolio, a podcast for financial advisors, was also a featured component at 2020 National LINC. The podcast was introduced at the event (including a spread in the special edition of Independent Advisor) and announced during the keynote talk, which was attended by everyone at LINC. For those who were new to podcasts, handouts were available to explain how to download, listen and subscribe.

A podcast for financial advisors that goes beyond the obvious

In the 10-episode first season of Beyond the Portfolio, TD Ameritrade Institutional provided current and future registered independent financial advisors (RIAs) with the opportunity to hear directly from other RIAs about how they turned specific, surprising challenges into opportunities to connect with and better serve their clients. The podcast series empowers peer-to-peer learning, but it also gives anyone considering the RIA career path a candid perspective into the realities of the role.

Rather than following a dry Q&A format, each episode takes the listener through engaging narrative elements of exposition, conflict, climax and denouement. These are stories of the most emotional moments advisors have encountered in their careers—from consoling a grieving widow, to hearing a client confess to a gambling addiction, to the first “break up” with a client, to helping a client make an impact on environmental issues.

To integrate with the larger content strategy and drive results, each episode of Beyond the Portfolio features a cross-channel call to action to a related piece of digital content on the TD Ameritrade website. A second season debuted in September.

Harnessing digital data to inform a print publication

All content created for TDAI’s Insights hub is designed to inform, engage and empower current and aspiring RIAs of all backgrounds and experience. By tracking KPIs such as organic traffic, time on page and conversions, we can ensure that top-performing content is repurposed and updated to be included in the Independent Advisor print magazine.

This cross-channel approach enables us to be more creative and more efficient. When digital assets that come to life via audio, video or animation on the TDAI site are reimagined for print, we’re able to add graphics or layer in additional reporting to enhance the print experience. Meanwhile, the print publication directs engaged readers to explore more content on the digital content hub.

The result is a multi-platform content experience that allows TDAI to empower its engaged audience of RIAs to serve their clients and grow their businesses.

The results of TDAI’s content program

Awards don’t matter to us if they aren’t generating measurable results for our clients. In 2020, the TDAI team has seen exactly how this content marketing program is helping the venerated brand achieve its marketing and business goals.

Since the launch of the Insights content hub:

  • The website has seen a 115% increase in quarterly traffic
  • The bounce rate has decreased from 38.33% to 9.26%, a historic and industry-leading low
  • Visits from organic search increased from 14.5% of search traffic to 38.9% of search traffic

To date, the Beyond the Portfolio podcast has received:

  • More than 9,500 episode downloads
  • Over 2,800 unique listeners

The number of podcast listeners was nearly triple the original goal. As a result, the TDAI team only spent a third of what they budgeted on cost-per-listener.

The data points to a content marketing strategy that’s not only working, but building momentum across channels.

Now that TD Ameritrade has merged with Charles Schwab, we’re excited to optimize this content program to serve an even larger—and growing—audience.

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