You may be offended by our insinuation that some industries and businesses are “boring.” But, you clicked on the article, so there is obviously some truth to the statement (otherwise you wouldn’t keep reading a blog post with such an offense title).
Truth is, those of us who work in industries where the adjectives “boring,” “stale,” or “dry” are the best descriptors understand the never-ending struggle of coming up with exciting content. While the digital marketing world is focusing on writing articles with “click-bait” titles and blogs that provide more social media engagement, we’re simply trying to write content that will one day be read by someone outside our industry. We understand the struggle. And, we want to help. At 4theweb, we provide online marketing for a multitude of so-called “boring” industries. After years of trial and error, we have created strategies that have helped us break through the stale, dry, boring business mold to create content customers are excited to share. Let’s jump right into it:
1. Cut the Crap
We get it. It feels good to sound smart. But, nobody reads anything anymore, let alone something that sounds snooty. Don’t believe us?
Our team of expert search engine optimization specialists work together to create a synergistic site focusing on conversion, integrative customer retention, intuitive product placement, and a marketing strategy of inbound origin and design.
Did you read that? Yeah, we didn’t think so. That’s because, while it makes sense, it’s not helpful. It would be much better if we simply posted our results (which we do), and said exactly how we work to create a modern website your customers will love that brings in money for your business.
2. Be Succinct
No on reads full articles anymore. In an article in Slate magazine, analyzers found that most website visitors scroll through only 50-60% of a page – often, they share the article online before they’ve finished reading. Say what you want to say, and don’t use any fluff.
3. Be the Expert
People don’t want to read yet another article by someone who is spinning content. They want to talk to experts so they know their information is from a good source. If you own your own business, odds are you are an expert in the field. You may feel like a newbie, but you’re much more of an expert than Joe-Shmo who is trying to figure out what the heck your business is about. Own it.
4. Think Outside the Box
We know this is cliche. But, it’s very important that you change your mindset when you go to write content for your business. You may say you can’t possibly write exciting content for an insurance company – that there is “nothing exciting about insurance.” I present to you exhibit #1:
Exhibit #1: Car Insurance
Car insurance is boring. We all have it, but no one really gets pumped about it. This commercials have been shared over and over again (as of now, the videos have been watched 204,899 times). Allstate took their boring industry to a whole new level.
Exhibit #2: Lifetime Data Guarantee
How do you explain a lifetime guarantee for talk and text? Why, you use a zombie of course! Sprint took a useful (but somewhat boring) part of their plan and made it hilarious.
Exhibit #3: Less of a Budget
You may be thinking: “That’s great that Allstate and Spring make fun commercials, but they have a bigger budget than I do. What are you thinking?!” That’s why we included General Electric in our lineup. We assume GE has a big budget as well, but take a look at this Pinterest board:
It’s entitled: “Badass Machines.” Yep, you read that right. I’m not sure about you, but when I think of General Electric, I don’t think of a cool, hip, “badass” kind of business. They’re doing something right, because they have 18.1k followers for that particular board. And, for those with more of a chick-flick mindset (and as a take on the famous Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” memes):
GE stays culturally relevant while staying true to their brand. Even people who wouldn’t normally follow GE are likely to follow at least one of GE’s Pinterest boards because they are funny and culturally Trevelyan.
Exhibit #4: Tell a Story
People love a good story. Most commercials and successful marketing campaigns tell a story, because everyone can relate. it also allows the brand to communicate exactly what they want to communicate. Take ZenDesk, for example. Zen desk has an exceptionally difficult task: They sell software for customer service and support tickets. Yeah. Pretty boring stuff. But, the creative folks at Zendesk realized something – they work with people, and thus there is a story to tell:
We all interact with customers as we do business. Tell that story. We understand the Zendesk example is a bit over-dramatized, but our point is this: Take your story and share it. This leads us to our last example.
Exhibit #5: Be Real
This exhibit really speaks for itself (click the image to read the full interaction):
Obviously, this Amazon support specialist is a creative asset to the company. But, whoever took the time to share this interaction realized something: People love to know that the businesses they use are human. If you have a good interaction with a real client, share it!
5. Answer Questions
One of the best ways to create content that people will actually read is to answer their questions. Find out what they’re searching for and answer what they’re asking.
A Practical Way to Come Up with Exciting Content
It can be difficult to “think outside the box,” or come up with engaging content on your own. We have found the best ideas come from brainstorming sessions. Have a meeting with friends, coworkers, family members, and even clients, and discuss ways to make your business more exciting online. Some of the best marketing ideas come from brainstorming sessions. Below is an example of the outcome of one such session:
One of the employees who works at 4theweb grew up in a family who owned a clothing store in a small town. They wanted to do something special for Christmas that would really contribute to the family-friendly, quality customer service brand they wanted to represent. They were discussing this around the dinner table, when someone mentioned the free gift wrapping the store provided. Why not expand it to include gifts purchased at other stores? That year, the store advertised they would wrap ALL Christmas gifts, regardless of where they were bought. It brought much more traffic to the store and perfectly captured the spirit of giving the store wanted to represent.
This marketing event made it easy to create exciting content – online, in print, and over the radio. The idea came from a brainstorming session. Get your employees together and try to come up with some unique marketing opportunities which will help you write more exciting content.
Life Isn’t Boring – Neither Should Your Content
To sum it all up – life isn’t boring. It is full of all kinds of crazy situations, funny people, and real events. Be relevant to your culture and your audience, and odds are – people will relate to your business. To recap:
- Cut the Crap
- Be Succinct
- Own It – Be the Expert
- Think Outside the Box
- Answer Questions
- Brainstorm – Constantly