Disintermediation: what is it and why is it transforming communications?

by Rebecca Thurlow, 8 February 2017

Disintermediation is a big word with a popular following. In a world of disruptors, removing the middleman from a transaction is an effective way to put downward pressure on prices, or bring customers closer to the businesses they deal with.

It’s a trend that has been reshaping the media landscape for some years now. As user-generated content comes to the forefront, and media outlets shrink, individuals and companies have become publishers in their own right.

More now than ever, we are seeing a growing demand for insightful and interesting commentary from companies, delivered directly to their stakeholders. You only need to look at ANZ BlueNotes and Henderson Global Investors, to see companies going to great lengths to create content hubs that rival the quality of professional media outlets.

Here are my top three tips for financial services firms and listed companies that are wanting to maximise content development opportunities:

1.    Gated website content can be a great lead generator 

Company websites have evolved to become a hub of information and a home for your best thinking. Creating your own content gives you complete control over the messages you want to convey.

The key is to create a cohesive series of curated communications, on a regular basis, to build engagement. Gated content asks the user for personal details in exchange for providing information, such as report or e-book. Once you’ve captured these details, it provides a lead nurturing opportunity to capture and engage with prospective investors.

Consideration should also be given to increasing the understanding of your content by adding in a visual element. Developing infographics and video content to complement the written content responds directly to the trends in how investors are consuming information.

2.    Social media channels are growing in size and number

There is a plethora of statistics supporting the use of social media channels, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, to spread company information more widely and drive greater understanding of important milestones.

Social media channels such as Livewire and Listcorp are also having a dramatic impact on the dissemination of investor information and insights, providing investors with direct access to the company information, stock ideas, research and insights from Australia’s leading investment professionals.

These channels present multiple ways to share and target consumers through free and paid sponsorship opportunities. Again, the addition of infographics and video are important elements to amplify your social media engagement.

3.    Investor-targeted publications are thirsty for content

As financial services specialists, we have seen a direct correlation between the rise in the number of self-directed investors and SMSFs and the amount of freely available financial information accessible online.

Specialist investment publications and other online resources are now widely read and highly regarded by investors looking for investment ideas that were traditionally gleaned from mainstream media.

These publications tend to be free and a lot of them accept contributed content. This presents another opportunity to build your profile and showcase your independent thinking.

What does this mean for communications firms like Honner?

While media remains an important channel, the role of communications professionals has evolved to encompass multiple channels and modes of delivery.

We have strengthened our digital and social offering, and deepened our bench of technical and specialist writers in response to greater content creation needs of our client.

Like any industry, we need to recognise and understand the impact of the changing communications landscape and most importantly, we need to evolve our offering to ensure we support our clients in achieving their communications, and business, objectives.

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