Whether you’re in drainage or dry stone walls, can openers or cavity insulation, a content marketing plan full of good ideas can benefit your business. So if you’re struggling to engage your audience, and perhaps even your own team, with your current editorial strategy, here are some ways to breathe new life into your content…
1. Use relevance to capture niche audiences
Remember, your content is never dull to someone if you can answer the specific question they have – especially when no one else can.
As the experts, you hold the key to relevant information which, while it may be common knowledge to you, is a genuine asset to your readership.
Spend some time on the questions: What’s our content niche? What questions are our users asking that we can authoritatively answer?
2. Tell the story of your business
Companies wouldn’t exist if their founders didn't have interesting stories.
Your organisation and its products were established to answer a question, meet a demand, fill a hole in the market. Although it may take some thought to find it, there will always be something unusual or even vaguely amusing about a brand or product – maybe its origin, backstory or the specifics behind a design quirk.
Think also about your company’s failures and successes and where they have taken you.
Drawing out these aspects will help your readers warm to the story of your brand and start to see you as more personable, encouraging them to then delve further.
3. Use the news – be topical with your content
Effective content doesn’t always need to be static, evergreen copy tied to your products. Sometimes focusing on more time-sensitive, news-based stories can be just as useful in delivering your core messages.
Look at the news in your industry and identify stories you can offer a view on – responding to topical developments and giving your brand’s stance.
Not only does this help position you as thought leaders and showcase your expertise, it providesa steady stream of content ideas. The perennial nature of news offers a surefire source of regular content and should help to increase your hit rate.
Keep an eye on what is trending on Twitter to gauge a feel for the issues getting people talking. Use your content to encourage debate – content marketing is a two-way process, after all.
4. Be refreshingly honest
Your target readership will always appreciate honesty and transparency. If your organisation makes a specific product – perhaps one used as an essential, everyday item – there’s no need to try and pretend you’re something you are not.
Be realistic. Understand that your audience may not need you all the time, or necessarily look to you for entertainment or fun. But in your b2b world, you can still develop content that positions you as the go-to resource for your particular niche of expertise.
Work with what you’ve got and what people rely on you for. Make yourself the go-to stop-off in your own area of expertise – no more, no less.
5. Show a little creativity
Sticking to your guns and emphasising your core qualities is a foolproof tack, but there’s no harm in changing things up once in a while.
Think about the different ways in which you distribute your media, and consider the option of a one-off monthly piece (say, in an online newsletter) which differs to your usual style.
So for example, yes – life insurance can be a little dry, and it’s not a product people really like thinking about, but a list of the Top 10 daredevil things you can now pursue with renewed peace of mind certainly isn't.
6. Steer clear of marketing-speak
Saying things like ‘industry-leading’ or ‘best in class’ generally flatter to deceive and are usually phrases best avoided. They’re familiar, but may not be entirely true, in the same way that your product may not, in actual fact, be ‘unique’.
Try to weed out these misnomers, and aim for language which your target market will respond to.
Capitalise on knowing your customer. Most so-called ‘boring’ products are actually aimed at specific demographics, so use your insights and instincts about what your readers and users are like and the sort of language they are likely to respond to.
7. Get a fresh perspective from around your business
A content plan, no matter how robust, can always benefit from a fresh pair of eyes and ears.
Nobody knows your business, your brand or your message better than your colleagues, so be sure to make the most of all the in-house characters – regardless of their areas of specialty. Sometimes the best ideas come from the least likely of sources.
Spruce up your content generation process by turning it into a game, perhaps offering prizes for the best idea in a given week. Sometimes it’s merely the lack of a forum which stifles creativity, so make sure everyone in the team knows they can contribute.