Anyone remember that scene in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. when Ross insisted on going to a fashion seminar with Rachel just so Mark wouldn’t go with her and ended up snoring through the session?
Well, I do.
Partly because (at the risk of dating myself) I’m a huge F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan. But also because it served as a reminder that what may be interesting to you may be a snooze fest-trigger for others — and vice versa.
You may have come across this post by chance. Or you may be in not what many would call a ‘fun’ industry and are stuck on how to produce exciting and engaging content. Despite the many content marketing tips and strategies you’ve come across, you may find that none of them really fits in with your style.
So you’ve have started to question yourself:
Is it really possible to publish exciting content being in this industry? Is it content marketing even necessary?
The answer to both of these is a resounding yes.
And in this post, we’ll explain to you some of our ideas and tactics that work and take you through how to produce and publish exciting content in a so-called boring industry.
Brainstorming content topics
Content ideas don’t just fall out of the sky.
It takes lots of hard work, research, and brainstorming to identify the right kind of content to produce. But that alone isn’t enough.
Content marketing is an extremely competitive field, so your content doesn’t only have to be informative — it needs to excite, thrill, and provoke.
That way, you can attract readers, retain them, generate leads, and ultimately, translate all these into sales opportunities.
If you’re new to the industry
This is actually something you can take advantage of to produce exciting content.
Begin by writing down as many questions you have about the industry and use these as content ideas. Don’t worry if some come across as ignorant. As a great many teachers have all once said, there’s no such thing as stupid questions (whether they actually believe this is up for debate).
If you have experience and knowledge
On the other hand, if you’re familiar with or perhaps even an expert in the industry, this is useful to you in two ways.
First, it never hurts to go back to the basics. So pretend you have to take an intern under your wings and train him/her from scratch. What are the most fundamental things about the industry he must know and how may you impart your wisdom to him?
Secondly, all this industry knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years can be a fantastic resource for content.
Now you just have to find a way to inject the fun into it.
Example: Paintless dent removal content ideas
Let’s say you’re in the paintless dent removal industry.
Wha.. The what?
I’ll give you a minute here while you Google what paintless dent removal is. I mean, did you even know that there was an entire industry built around removing dents on vehicles without having to repaint?
Disclaimer: It is not Dear Content’s objective to offend PDR workers.
Before you begin to do your research on what the industry is about, write down as many questions you have about it. Here are some possible ideas:
- When did the industry begin? How did it begin?
- What kind of technology or labour does it require?
- What is its cost compared to repainting the car?
- Where is this service most required and when?
Chances are if you’re asking these questions, so is someone else.
The questions you’ve laid out serve as basic content ideas. You’ll want to go in-depth by speaking to your sales team and account managers. Since they’re the ones with direct contact with prospects and clients, they should be able to provide you with more relevant topics to cover.
One good example is this infographic by DentPass. It lays out the repair process and also addresses the different insurance claim options, which is a great way to branch out (more on this later).
And they even made it into an interactive infographic with a navigation menu!
Pro tip: Have a specific content idea? Consult your sales team or other experts within the company with knowledge and experience in the area. Include specific words and expressions they use in your content to come across as an insider. But don’t forget to also investigate and include important keywords to make sure your content reaches the right crowd. There are plenty of tools you can use such as Google Adwords’ keyword planner, SEMRush, Soovle, etc.
If you’re in a very niche sector, expand outwards and dive into sectors related to your product or services, especially if they’re larger sectors. By producing content solely and directly related to your business limits yourself in two ways.
First off, your content topics are stretched thin.
There are only so many ways you can talk about your product or service without it getting dry or too repetitive. But by branching out, you open new grounds and possibilities of producing exciting content. Your product itself may not be exciting, but the industries that find a use for it may be.
Unconvinced? Think wristbands and summer concerts and raves.
Secondly, you’re missing out on the opportunities for back links from other sites.
If you’re selling curtains, a blog post on the different curtain materials and colours won’t get you far. But going one step further and discussing interior design (with mentions of the awesome curtain designs you have) may just get you back links from other sites.
Plus, these are indirect sales opportunities for you as a customer browsing for interior designers may come across your site and wound up as a sale.
For example, if you’re selling snow ploughers, don’t simply talk about how great your product is and why your audience needs them. Create content around the winter season and snow.
You might want to check out how BOSS Snowplow manages to publish great content on their blog consistently even during the hot summer months! And their content doesn’t only cover their own products — they’ve got safety tips, maintenance advice, data-based infographics, etc.
There’s so much more you can do and achieve with content by just thinking out of the box a little. Building fences? Discuss landscaping and real estate. Working as a customs broker? You’ve got a whole world of trade topics at your feet.
You get the picture.
Get creative with formatting
Now that you have your content ideas, you’ll want to think about formatting.
Content creation is so much more than just posting an 800-word blog post every week. While consistency is key, you’ll want to play around with the many different content formats available these days.
Here are some formats that have been proven to get more traffic and attract more engagement due to their fun and appealing nature.
Approximately 65% of the population are visual learners, which is why infographics are key to helping the crowd maintain information.
Certain B2B industries are tagged by many as ‘boring’. We’re not here to go into whether that’s justified or not.
But if you’re in one of these industries, infographics really come into play as such products and sales cycles tend to be a lot more complex (think CRMs, industrial machinery, financial and legal services, etc).
By combining timelines, numbers, graphics, text, and design into one single canvas, you can explain the value your services and/or products offer to your target audience in a much simpler way.
Here’s an infographic on the advantages of using, well, infographics published by Jeff Bullas.
Fun facts never hurt and is almost nearly a sure-win. The focus of your fun fats can be on the industry as a whole or a micro-sector. These little unknown facts can often surprise as you’re diving into the specifics of the industry.
Pro tip: Give your fun facts a spin by telling it in a way that people can relate to in order to generate more interest. For example, did you know that the largest shipping vessels can cost over $200 million to construct? That’s over 800 times the cost of raising a child till he’s 18 in the US! Puts $200 million into a new perspective, doesn’t it?
First, choose a format you’d like to use to present your fun facts. This can always be converted at a later stage to an infographic, a presentation, or even a quiz.
This infographic on curious facts about the international shipping industry that we did for one of our clients was so successful that we ended up converting it into a slideshare presentation, a series of mini blog posts and even a media release!
Plus, these are always extremely popular on social media.
After all, they’re called fun facts for a reason.
Consider approaching an industry expert (be it someone in your company or an external party) for an interview. A simple 15-minute Q&A session with him may end up being one of the most informative sessions you’ll have ever sat through in your life as he/she opens your eyes to the lesser-known workings of the industry.
This helps you diversify from the regular blog posts that you publish as you’re essentially picking the brains of said expert and the knowledge that he imparts can not only draw in new readers but also prompt new content ideas.
As experts, their accumulated knowledge and experience over the years allows them to offer many different points of view communicate their thoughts in a more expressed and clearer way. After all, only a real expert can make a complex topic simple and even entertaining. And this is exactly what you want for your content.
Besides taking advantage of their knowledge to generate more in-depth and quality content, interviews with experts provide other advantages:
- It may inspire new ideas for content
- His/her influence is a great weapon to promote your content and attract new readers and followers on social networks
- Some of his or her quotes can be used as supporting material for blog posts or even press releases
If you are in a B2B business, interview experts with similar professional profiles to your target buyers. These interviews can be a powerful tool to generate credibility and conversions.
One of the biggest motivations of B2B buyers is becoming better professionals and reading the profiles and opinions of these experts can inspire them. Extra points if you manage to link the interview to your business solution!
Pro tip: Record the interview (after having obtained permission), transcribe it and then get your entire marketing team to read through it. This will help to understand how these industry experts think and express themselves, which is essential not only for team members directly involved in content marketing, but also for your product marketing, SEO/SEM, social media, and public relation teams.
Surveys and polls
You can also carry out industry surveys to obtain more information about anything from consumption behaviours and expenditure to methodology and opinion.
Most people know and understand their own behaviour — but do they know how they stand next to others?
Surveys and polls are a great way to convey industry-wide practices, trends, etc. and you get a wonderful set a data to play around with for content.
Here are some of our favourite ways to present data acquired from surveys:
- Publish the results in a blog post with stimulating and attractive visual formats such as infographics and presentations so that it’s easier to digest and retain the information
- Create a press release on the data and include opinions from a relevant authority in your company
- Include statistics from the data collected on your landing pages to convince and convert
- Use the data in an email marketing campaign or a campaign specially set up to promote the study
- If you have enough data, you can even put together a downloadable document for lead generation purposes such as a white paper or ebook
Complement your content with quizzes, which encourages interaction with the consumer. It could go well with an especially informative post as a simple test at the end to really drill in the content. This creates excitement and interest in not only your content but also your business and product as there’s a form of engagement with the reader.
Quizzes also bring out the competitive nature in people, which compels them to share their results with their friends, family, and followers on social media.
Think about it — would you rather take a quiz or read a blog post with static content?
Put a fun spin on the bore
Whatever industry you’re working in, there will be things about it that appeal to others. Otherwise, there’d be no demand and the industry will likely find itself in a tough spot to sustain itself. What’s interesting to you may be boring for others — until they come across a need for a service or product in your industry.
Consider Rachel and Ross. As cool as Rachel’s job was (come on, she got to meet Ralph Lauren), for Ross, it was still nowhere near as fascinating as dinosaurs.
Pro tip: Let’s face it. Everyone stereotypes. Think back on the conversations you’ve had with friends, family and acquaintances about what you do. Did anything surprise them? If so, what was it? And what piqued their interest, was it a particular story you told, a fun fact, or perhaps the way you told it? Use these fresh ideas and perceptions by those unfamiliar with your industry as a source of inspiration for fun and refreshing angles for your content.
Go beyond the typical informing and educating. Here are some ideas that could help you put a fun spin on the otherwise dry content:
- Get narrative. Use vocabulary to decorate your story — but do not overdo it or it may seem too fluffy. The important part here is to tell stories, especially success stories.
- Get personal. Find the humanity in your story and give it a human touch. People tend to relate better when they feel closer to the subject.
- Give examples. It would help to go visual here. People tend to retain information better when there’s some sort of visual aid.
- Use metaphors and analogies. This expresses the little nuances and paints a more colourful picture.
Jump on opportunities
It’s all about relevance. So keep up with trending topics and news, especially those related to your industry.
Let’s take snow ploughing for example. Are the weather forecasters predicting a harsher than usual winter? You’ll want to jump on that and create content related to it.
For example, a post on the best snow ploughers available to tackle a frigid winter, or a quick poll on how many times people use their snow ploughers during the winter season would be opportune. The relevant and trending nature of such topics makes it automatically interesting.
Publishing content that’s original and exciting at the same time can appear to be a difficult feat, especially if you’re in a ‘boring’ industry.
It’s kind of like a professor trying to liven up a history 101 class full of freshmen just wanting to party. It’s hard to keep their attention, let alone engage them and get them to ace their exams. But with the right approach and knowing what works and what doesn’t, it can easily be achieved.
Sometimes you just have to think out of the box a little. And remember, boring is relative!
Can’t seem to find an exciting angle for your content? Dear Content can help you get the engagement and leads you need! Get in touch now for a free proposal!