Content marketing for 'boring' companies: Top tips
As a digital marketer, there is one question that I get asked a lot: "I'm 'just an accountant' and most people think my business is boring - so why should I create content that no one is going to read?"
My reply is: "You're crazy if you think that just because other people think your industry is boring you should ignore one of the most important marketing strategies around today!"
Then I explain that if you're in a 'boring' industry, creating content is not just easier for you, it's also a great way to jump ahead of your competition because THEY'RE also thinking they're too boring...
So how does a boring company create great content that matters?
The first step - and if you've been reading my posts for a while now, you know how I feel about this - is know your customers really, really well.
How do you do this?
By taking the time to create and continuously consult your Buyer Personas.
Your Buyer Personas will guide you to your prospects' pain points, influencers and more - and when you know that kind of content they're looking for, you can give them what they want.
Keep in mind, even with 'boring' industries, content is important for pre-sales, customer service, referrals and more.
Sometimes it's not the content, it's the presentation
Are you just writing long 2,000+ word posts?
No wonder no one is engaging...
Here's a great article about how people read online - read it (or most of it) and then look at your own site and see for yourself what you can change.
Take a look at those long presentations and consider breaking them up into smaller posts.
Are there opportunities to create Infographics? Videos? Images?
Hubspot has a great article on "The Types of Content That Gets Shared", here.
Focus on the way people interact with content online today - and make sure that the content you're creating matches that behavior.
Keep in mind why you're creating content in the first place
If knowing your Buyer Personas is Step 1 in developing a Content Marketing Strategy for your boring industry - then knowing WHY you're creating your content is Step 2.
Having a clear picture of what you want your Content Marketing Strategy to accomplish for your company (grow sales, increase leads, promote information) will make sure you're taking the best approach when you're executing your plan.
That first step is research - and plenty of it.
Want a crystal ball to see what's most likely to get shared?
Yes - a crystal ball of content greatness IS out there - and you don't need to answer 3 death-defying riddles to access it.
Here are three ways to research your content topics BEFORE you even start hacking away at your keyboard (or paying someone to do it for you).
Crystal Ball #1 - SEMRush - this powerful research tool will allow you to see what topics are shared, where they're shared, and how the headlines, etc. were constructed.
Crystal Ball #2 - Ahrefs - find out who is sharing your content (so you can say "thanks!" and start building upon your budding relationship), see what your competitors are up to, and do the research you need to do to find out what you should be writing about before you start.
Crystal Ball #3 - Buzzsumo - similar to Ahrefs, Buzzsumo helps you find the topics in your industry that are getting shared, the Influencers you should connect with, and the hottest trending topics.
When you do the research upfront, you don't have to 'publish and pray' that the content you create hits a cord with your prospects and customers. Doing the right research up front will make sure you're strategically creating content that will get attention.
Building Your Company's Personality
Yes - even boring companies have a personality.
Remember - behind every bit of data (unique visitors, referrals, etc) that Google Analytics tells you about who is coming to your site, you need to remember that there are always PEOPLE behind the data.
Your company is solving problems for People.
Your service is easing a pain point for People.
Your products are helping People.
And people buy from other People (at least until they perfect Artificial Intelligence).
Depending upon your industry, your Corporate Personality could be "Leading Authority", "Information Hub", even "Lighter Side of Serious". But whatever kind of personality you pick, create the tools and documentation necessary to make sure there's consistency across your various methods of publication. If you have several people/agencies creating content for you, it's important to make sure they all speak with the same voice.
Inspiring Content Creators
Need some inspiration? Here are a few companies in boring industries that do a great job with their Content Marketing:
Blendtec - think blenders are boring kitchen utilities? Think again! Blendtec does a great job using "traditional" topics like recipes, but they also take it a step further with fun YouTube videos like this one that helps create not just a personality for the brand, but clearly demonstrates the durability without getting into boring diatribes about strong metal parts, etc.
TurboTax - probably a tale as old as time itself - "Taxes are boring (and scary!). Accountants are boring" - but they don't need to be, as evidenced here:
Does that mean you need a huge advertising budget to crank out smart, snappy mini-commercials in order to build your brand's personality?
Not at all...
Here are 2 great examples of small companies that used Content Marketing to become leaders in their industry.
DollarShaveClub - sure, they're a $11M company now, but back in 2011 they decided to go up against the big guys - Gillette and Schick - with only $4,500 and a YouTube video. Plus, they make sure this personality permeates everything they do - their website, their content, customer service - all points of contact.
RiverPoolsandSpas - this small company was able to use Content Marketing (and other Inbound Marketing strategies) to sell luxury products during our most recent recession. Not only that, but they were able to reduce their advertising budget by one-third, and make it 3x more effective.
Marketing has changed a LOT in the last 25 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the challenge for small businesses to tap into marketing techniques that will work for them without paying a consultant tens of thousands of dollars…
From what I’ve experienced in my marketing consulting business I created Never Stop...
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