The Content Strategist

Contently Case Story: How Guardian Life Uses Content to Reach Millennials

Contently Case Stories is a series highlighting some of Contently’s most successful clients, and telling the stories of how we worked together to produce great content and great business results.

It’s tough to get millennials to think about their finances. Understandably, they can’t be persuaded to trudge through complex jargon, let alone plan for something that might not affect them until retirement. So how do you arm 3,000 financial representatives across the nation with the tools they need to reach this increasingly valuable audience?

You create high-quality, visually stimulating content that speaks millennials’ language and can be shared easily across social networks—just as Guardian Life Insurance has done in partnership with Contently.

“Saving for thirty years down the line is all fine and dandy, but we focus on how to protect you now,” said Tara Meehan, head of social content at Guardian Life Insurance. “That’s why content is so important for us—to be able to tell that story in a way that’s easy to understand.”

Today, Guardian’s social accounts are chock-full of engaging infographics and blog posts, but they started the year in a much different place—devoid of a solid strategy, and working with a third-party vendor to post clickbait articles that didn’t fully represent their company’s values.

“That’s where Contently came in,” Meehan said. “[It’s crucial] to be able to have a vendor that really puts the story first to help push our philosophy forward.”

Now, through Contently, Guardian is armed with a team of five writers and two go-to designers to produce content to help millennials make better financial decisions. But Meehan doesn’t just create what she thinks millennials need to hear. Instead, she pays close attention to what most interests them.

“It’s not a case where I have a calendar and say, ‘Okay, on this date at this time, I’m going to make sure I have this and this,'” Meehan said. “That, to me, rings somewhat inauthentic. It’s kind of like checking a box.”

With football season in full swing, the company is giving its audiences an opportunity to plan their fantasy teams and finances at the same time. The company’s new infographic, “How Solid Is Your Offensive Line?,” highlights the four levels of protection their customers need to stay in the pocket and be a successful financial quarterback.

Meehan knows the content is doing its job because it’s generating conversations on social media and helping financial representatives set up new appointments. Engagement is the big goal.

“For us, the ROI of content isn’t sales,” Meehan said. “The metrics that I really look at are likes, shares, and—the biggest one—comments. That’s the conversation. That’s the opportunity.”

That’s not to say that this engagement doesn’t play an important role in the sales funnel. Once someone comments on a social post, Meehan encourages the financial representative to reach out and respond. That strategy is working.

When Josh Parsons—a Financial Representative with Opes One Advisors, a Guardian Life agency based in Dallas—shared an infographic about wedding planning, one woman commented comparing the cost of weddings today to when she got married 20 years ago.

“How would you react to that in the real world, if you’re at a cocktail party and someone says that to you?” Meehan asked. “Do you just stare blankly at them, or do you say, ‘Hey, unfortunately I couldn’t help in that instance, but perhaps I can help in this one.'”

Parsons followed up with an email, which led the woman to introduce him to her son, a medical student, for financial advice.

“He’s doing that with all content [we produce] now,” Meehan said.

As a result, Parsons and his fellow representatives are engaging in conversations that are beneficial to both parties: The commenters learn more about how Guardian can help them with their finances, and the representatives gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs. Most importantly, appointments are coming through.

To deliver the content, Guardian works with Socialware Voices, a social business solution specifically for the financial services industry, which streamlines legal approvals.

Overall, the company’s new approach is working. Contently-produced content is shared by Guardian’s financial representatives on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter more than any other type of content. It’s also generated the greatest reach and highest average number of re-shares among the company’s content mix.

“Thankfully, the content has been so good from Contently, and it’s been so well received that message has gotten through and people are excited to share content,” Meehan said. “And they’re really seeing the results.”