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    At Gravitate, we love credit unions. In addition to the fact that we’ve done a couple of recent credit union projects, we love the business model and community focus they bring to the banking industry. We actively want them to succeed.

    Unfortunately, these unique benefits typically aren’t reflected in the content that most credit unions put out, especially online. Let’s face it, credit union websites are mostly the same: bland, generic, and not particularly focused on their audiences.

    In fact, many of the websites are indistinguishable from one another since both the design and the content originate from credit union website templates that only require branch marketers to swap in their contact info and photos. Cheap? Yes. Effective? Not even close—I mean, would you want your members or potential members to describe your credit union as bland, generic, and oblivious to the needs of your audience? (This is advice we give in most industries, but it’s especially cutting in the credit union industry, which should be built on community and personal connections.)

    Benefits of Unique Content

    The number one benefit of unique content is user engagement, but it hardly ends there.

    • Regularly creating unique content is proven to boost rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs) and, in turn, attract more members through the website. That’s the good news—the bad news is that templated content is generally dismissed by Google as less valuable, and in cases where the same content can be found on other sites, Google will actually penalize your site in search. This has been true for several years; however, Google continues to give it more weight in their algorithm, meaning that unique content also positions your credit union above competitors that only use template content or even duplicate content.
    • Your website often makes its first impression on potential members; lack of investment in digital marketing can lead users to conclude that your branch may be cutting corners elsewhere as well. This is especially important as more and more users utilize online banking tools. A sharp, clean design coupled with well-written, unique content can go a long way in building trust amongst those users, while a poor experience may imply that your online banking systems are similarly frustrating and generic.

    Here are six ideas for creating unique content.

    Give Opinions on Trending Topics

    There’s always financial news—so let’s talk about it! Let your users know that your team is keeping up on what’s going on in the industry and proactively addressing new developments. If the topic is controversial (we all know that, in the financial community, some topics can be polarizing issues), ensure that you’re tactful and don’t alienate your potential audience. State and source the facts to set up the scene, and then differentiate yourself by injecting the expertise of employees to boost authority and brand recognition.

    Create Infographics

    Financial services can be confusing and overwhelming for consumers. While creating custom graphics requires more effort than written material, they are much more likely to be read and more likely to be shared and spread throughout the financial community. Some ideas would be:

    • Comparing the benefits of large banks vs. credit unions
    • Visualization of online banking trends (both desktop and mobile)
    • Describing how various financial services work together to serve consumers
    • Posting the results of member surveys
    • Choosing a Credit Union for Your Small Business
    • Breaking down current financial news as it relates to your members
    • Describing your rates and services and comparing them to those of competitors
    • Seasonal content (see below)

    Connect with your community

    One of the biggest strengths of credit unions is that they’re headquartered in the same community as their members. Use this to reinforce your brand and establish your credibility as a resource for valuable local information.

    • Write about how your credit union or, even better, how your individual branches participate in your community.
    • Provide a local take on national business or financial news.
    • Create content about specific concerns of your members and community.

    Seasonal Content

    Pay close attention to upcoming holidays and seasons to create content aimed at what both members and potential members will be searching for during those times. Considering that the audience for credit unions is so broad, we suggest defining an audience for your seasonal content marketing efforts. For example:

    • Summer savings tips for new moms
    • Financial options for winterizing your home
    • How to create a spending plan for the holidays
    • Back to school: a collegiate spending guide for students and parents

    Create an eBook, Whitepaper, or Blog Series

    If you have been creating original content for a while, you should have a good feel for what your members are responding to. It may be a good idea to gather some articles and blogs about a similar topic and group them into an e-book or a white paper (e.g., “Everything You Need to Know about Small Business Loans” or “Savings 101”).

    Member Testimonials

    It’s one thing to tell your own story, but the strongest impression often comes from your customers. One type of content that speaks for itself is the member testimonial. Solid testimonials provide relatable content for current and potential members to build trust in your branch and overcome skepticism. Good testimonials don’t come off as “salesy”—they’re honest, and they directly identify the benefits of your brand.

    “I love this place. 10/10!” isn’t a good testimonial. Your audience wants to hear something like “[Your] credit union seems to really care. They sat down and took the time to listen and provided recommendations that fit my timeline and budget.”