Covering Tax Reform: Content Marketing for Financial Services Companies

Comprehensive tax reform in the United States remains a possibility for 2017 as Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee meet this week to assemble their bill.

 Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has a lot of work on his plate assembling the draft legislation.

Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has a lot of work on his plate assembling the draft legislation.

Any changes to the tax code will have potential impacts for all Americans, and will be of direct importance to professionals working in the financial services sector.

So as a content marketer in a financial services company, do you attempt to address the intricacies of the tax reform process or do you give it a wide berth?

Covering tax reform isn't for the faint-hearted. Many financial service companies will already be lobbying actively behind the scenes and not wish to offer public commentary on what will be invariably a fluid legislative process.

For the majority of firms, including tax reform in your content marketing program will - sadly - be viewed as an unnecessary liability and distraction by the higher-ups.

Audience Comes First

Sadly because there are definite advantages to covering the debate in real-time. Just step back a moment and think about why.

Who in your target audience - both current and prospective clients - will have an interest in the reform process? The answer is just about everybody. Everyone has some interest in knowing what the proposed changes means for them.

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Next remind yourself of the specific composition of your target audience - is it professional investors, heads of pension funds, or a retail customer looking for advice on their 401(k)? Segment your audience, and determine who you primarily wish to address and why. What is the business objective?

Once done and having secured the necessary approvals, you can start to get creative on your editorial approach with your target audience and business objective firmly in mind. 

Get Your News Operation On

Just think of the variety of formats you can spin up as part of your reporting drive: 

  • A daily journal bringing updates and breaking news from the Hill.
  • Explainer videos from in-house experts commenting on what a proposed change would entail. Embed these videos into your journal as handy references for your audience. 
  • A timeline that visually depicts what has already happened, what is currently taking place, and what is expected to occur between now and the end of 2017.  Here is an article showcasing the pros and cons of ten timeline creation tools. 
  • Carefully selected think pieces on topics where your organization has a clearly defined point of view that it is prepared to take public. (In addition to your website, distribute the article across your usual PR, news and social channels. Include a link to your tax reform resource center in the distributed article to invite traffic back to your site.)
  • Questions and answers from your audience regarding what the proposed changes mean for them. Have internal SMEs on hand to answer.
  • An interactive graphic that builds on your timeline and illustrates key themes from the debate.
Cultivate the spirit of a news gathering team looking to report and explain the ins-and-outs of the process and what it means for your customers.

Whatever editorial direction you take, be creative in covering the story and frequently remind yourself of the business purpose driving the initiative: what are you seeking to achieve? Cultivate the spirit of a news gathering team looking to report and explain the ins-and-outs of the process and what it means for your customers.

Whatever approach you take, do it well. Go all-in and make your editorial the best possible resource on the market for your customers.