Is Your Financial Institution a Thought Leader?

Business woman giving presentation

Content marketing is an essential part of getting your brand out in front of prospective clients, no matter what industry you’re in. But for banks and credit unions, content marketing provides you with a unique opportunity to share your knowledge with your clients to help them make more informed financial decisions year after year.

To be successful, you need to showcase yourself as a subject matter expert or thought leader in the industry. This goes well beyond simply providing useful information and insight into the basic financial questions your customers or members ask. You have to go deeper and share knowledge that otherwise isn’t readily available. To do that, you need to understand exactly what thought leadership is and how to go about becoming the expert that bank and credit union customers and members look to for advice.


Thought leadership is the process of providing actionable advice and useful information that inspires people to make beneficial changes in their lives. As a thought leader, you’re responsible for providing new insights into the concerns your customers or members have rather than repeating the surface-level knowledge that’s readily available on most news sites and general information blogs.

As a credit union or bank marketing leader, you need to position your brand as a true industry expert that can do more than answer surface-level questions. Thought leadership content provides detailed information in a way that’s both understandable and useful.


There are two key reasons to focus on creating thought leadership content as part of your content marketing strategy. The first is to help your customers or members better understand the things that impact them directly and what types of resources they have at their disposal. The second is to show your customers or members that they’re putting their trust in a financial institution that has a deep understanding of what they care about. That trust goes a long way toward helping you maintain strong relationships and encourages people to stay with your bank or credit union even when other institutions are trying to get them to switch.


Ultimately, the type of thought leadership content you’ll need to provide depends on your target audience. Because both use your services for different purposes, you’ll need to provide different types of content for each group.

  • For Commercial Banking Clients: Your commercial clients want to hear about solutions, and topics that concern them as small business owners. This includes subjects like financing methods, budgeting, business management, and any topic that can enable them to be more effective or efficient in their work.
  • For Retail Banking Clients: Your retail clients want insight and information that helps take stress out of their lives. Subjects like how to get out of debt, ways to budget, and how to increase their savings are all great starting points. Within those subjects, you’ll need to address the various concerns that different age groups or demographic groups face.


Building any thought leadership strategy takes time, but there are a few things you can do to truly set yourself apart from other so-called industry experts.

  • Specialize in a few topics rather than being a jack-of-all-trades expert.
  • Stay on top of the latest trends and how those trends impact your customers.
  • Be willing to admit that you don’t know everything and learn what you can.
  • Approach the subjects from the viewpoints of different demographics.
  • Focus your content on your clients’ needs and concerns rather than promoting your products.

Once you have your strategy in place, you’ll need to be consistent with your thought leadership content production by leveraging the most effective channels to reach your target audience. Platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your financial institution’s website are great places to start. As you start sharing your knowledge and following a schedule that fits your strategy, you’ll gradually increase brand awareness and build trust with both your current and prospective customers or members with each post.

At Lightstream, our content marketing team can help you develop, implement, and maintain a strategy that will help you reach your current and prospective customers or members with content that is actionable, informative, and, most importantly, valuable. Connect with us to see how we can help you succeed.