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In a Nutshell: Few things are as interwoven with our everyday lives as money; from food to travel, and everything in between, our finances impact just about every other aspect of life. At GOBankingRates.com, they know the importance of finance — and its impact on other parts of life. In addition to covering everything from personal finance and savings, to investing and retirement, GOBankingRates helps readers connect their money to their lives — and lifestyles. The site focuses on offering an enhanced multimedia experience along with a combination of fun, light-hearted pieces designed to engage, and in-depth, authoritative articles that raise reader awareness. GOBankingRates provides a well-rounded financial resource that is changing the way people think about money.
A few months ago, I went onto Wikipedia to determine why my tomatoes were looking so sad. The next thing I knew, I had somehow spent 45 minutes down the proverbial rabbit hole, clicking link after link while traveling a peculiar path of somehow-related, but seemingly distinct, topics.
Indeed, by the time I realized what had happened, I was in the middle of reading about the First Punic War (between the ancient city-state of Carthage and the Roman Republic) — and I still didn’t know what was wrong with my tomatoes.
The nature of life is such that everything is connected, and that is true nowhere more so than in finance. From cooking on a budget to how to afford that trip to Rome, your money is an important part of every aspect of your life.
The trick to making the most of the six degrees of separation inherent in finance is not to let the financial aspect dominate the storytelling. Even the most enthusiastic traveler can lose some momentum when bogged down by heavy financial language.
For GOBankingRates.com, a major outlet for personal finance and investing content, the middle ground between strong, authoritative information and interesting, engaging writing is exactly where they want to be.
“What we’re really trying to do, is get a good mix of engaging, thoughtful, sometimes inspirational, content,” explained Matt Osias, the Senior Director of Content at GOBankingRates.com. “We want to drive engagement and awareness — and, hopefully, really get people thinking.”
Meeting in the Middle Between Informative and Entertaining
While not everyone loves finance the way, say, a finance writer might, there are many important concepts that everyone should understand — like it or not. The thing to remember here, though, is not everything that helps you think about money has to be dry, boring financial jargon.
According to Matt, GOBankingRates is, in many ways, like the best of both worlds, with a combination of light-hearted articles and more in-depth pieces that cover a wide variety of topics in relation to money and finance. Not every item on the site is designed to teach the reader — but everything is meant to get them thinking about money.
“It could be something as simple as a net worth piece, which is kind of something that you just look at for fun — it’s interesting,” Matt described. “Or, it could be some sort of in-depth study or survey across the U.S., state by state.”
The site also provides more lifestyle-centered pieces, which help to engage readers by relating money to other important things in their lives, like food and travel. Making the connection between how money is made with how users may be spending it helps put financial decisions in context.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they neglect the educational information; GOBankingRates has a plethora of comprehensive, directly finance-related pieces and authoritative guides that teach readers necessary concepts, as well as helping them keep them up-to-date on important events in the economy.
“Something like the cost to have a father and son visit all of the MLB baseball parks in a season — it’s definitely more sports themed, and travel themed, but, it does obviously tie into money,” he said. “Versus something that is much more obvious, like our best banks pieces that we do every single year — those are much more authoritative.”
Some of the site’s most popular articles tend to be larger pieces, such as “50 Ways You’re Throwing Away Money”, which have a comprehensive gallery or slideshow that thoroughly explores the subject while remaining visually interesting.
Increasing Engagement and Awareness with New Experts and More Interactive Multimedia Content
Keeping the content train steaming along for a site like GOBankingRates is no small task, but they are not limited to their in-house staff alone — they have a strong community of freelancers and specialized contributors lending a voice to the site.
The team is also in the process of increasing this community, with a focus on industry-leading experts who can pass on a lot of value to readers through original ideas and content.
Adding to the roster isn’t the only thing GOBankingRates is doing to increase audience engagement, either. The site is going to be ratcheting up the multimedia experience, investing in creating richer video and graphic content — including an in-house video studio.
“We have a new office that we’re going into in a month, and we have an in-house video studio that we’ve put together,” said Matt. “We’re really going to continue to explore more exciting ways to present our content.”
With the ability to create custom, quality in-house graphical content, the team looks forward to introducing a number of new content formats, including a variety of fun — yet educational — infographics. They’re also excited by plans to add more interactive features they hope will really boost engagement and awareness.
“We’re taking a look into some more nontraditional formats. There’s a lot that can be done in terms of interactivity and infographics,” Matt described. “Things like decision trees, I think, fit really well into our space. People need help finding out what decisions to make, and by giving them a bunch of questions that they can answer “Yes” or “No” to, we can better guide them to content that’s going to be really helpful.”
GOBankingRates: Going Beyond the Bank
In my opinion, the vast and interconnected nature of information is part of what makes it interesting, and provides the novelty that encourages its continued collection. Learning that the Romans used some of the first greenhouses may start with reading about tomatoes — or the Punic Wars.
Matt and his team at GOBankingRates seem to agree. “What we want to do more than anything else is get people thinking in a variety of ways,” he said. “It’s a large variety of people who are consuming our content because our content is more expansive.”