Modern Marketing

On Lili Academy: What’s behind Lili’s new content marketing initiative?

  • Often sitting on the overlap of finance and niche, digital banks have a unique challenge when building their content marketing strategy.
  • Here’s the approach taken by Lili, a neobank targeting freelancers and SMB owners.

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On Lili Academy: What’s behind Lili’s new content marketing initiative?

In January, Lili, a neobank focused on serving freelancers and small business owners, started what it calls Lili Academy – a series of educational videos designed to help its user base tackle common SMB-related financial challenges, like taxes and how to get access to healthcare. 

The idea was a natural development of what Lili was already doing, says CEO of the company Lilac Bar David. As part of its content marketing strategy, the digital bank releases newsletters and blog posts covering relevant topics for SMB owners and freelancers. Still, customers were asking for more. 

“That’s how we came up with the concept of the academy,” said Bar David.

In addition to covering information concerning SMB-related finances, Lili Academy also focuses on more general topics surrounding business growth, like mastering marketing, or building a proper work-from-home environment.

One challenge Lili faced when choosing, planning and building material for this video series was simply knowing what themes and ideas to cover. The company solved this by looking at the topics consumers were most interested in exploring in Lili’s existing content. Taxes, for example, were a big theme. So was healthcare. 

“Small businesses struggle with getting access to professional healthcare,” said Bar David. “It's not like in a nine-to-five job, where you have an employer covering that for you.”

Then there was the challenge that came with determining how long each video should be. Finding the balance between punchy and informative can take time. As a solution, Lili used the video platform to provide an overview, and then offered a guide alongside in case the customer wants to go more in-depth.  

“[That way] you get the first steps in and then you can elaborate with the guides,” said Bar David.

Zooming out

All sorts of companies have turned to producing their own educational content to build authority in their relevant subject matter, from HubSpot Academy to Google Analytics Academy. It’s a way to say, ‘Hey, we’re so good – we’re actually good enough to teach this stuff.’

In the case of digital banks, though, creating educational content may involve more of a balancing act compared to other industry players, since they’re often setting up shop in the overlap of finance and niche. Lili Academy can be seen as one way to navigate this challenge.

Other digital banks are taking similar approaches. Greenwood, a neobank that focuses on serving Black and Latino communities, for example, has a podcast called Money Moves that dives into empowering these communities to end the wealth gap. The podcast’s topics range from understanding blockchain to how to get paid for playing video games.

What's next for Lili?

It’s early days for Lili Academy, which means it may not be possible to measure its success just yet. Still, so far so good, says Bar David. As for what’s next, the company plans to zero in heavily on community-building.

Being a small business owner can be a very lonely position, says Bar David. You have to be in charge of every aspect of the business – whether it’s accounting, marketing, business operations, or building the product and service itself. 

“I think giving people the space to share knowledge with each other and collaborate can be very supportive. So if the first step of the academy was for us to generate the content, I think the second step will be to manifest the conversation around it, opening the door for other businesses to interact and generating the conversation around the areas of knowledge that we support and provide.”

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