Content marketing for ‘boring’ businesses

iStock_000008821117XSmall (2)Content marketing can bring a host of benefits for any brand – but some have it easier than others. If you have a fun consumer product, you can quickly engage people with an exciting content marketing strategy (hello Red Bull). For B2B businesses, or brands selling less ‘sexy’ consumer products and services, there is admittedly a greater creative challenge.

However, contrary to popular belief, content marketing isn’t just about hilarious Vines and pictures of cats (much as we love them, of course). Content marketing is at its heart about providing helpful and relevant information that showcases your expertise and gives your customers a reason to buy from you. There are lots of platforms from which to choose, from web and blog copy, through to white papers, videos and social media channels. In all probability, your content marketing strategy will include a mix of different content and platforms. So if your brand isn’t suited to memes or viral videos, don’t despair – here are some ways to make your content marketing more effective, even if it won’t have people ROFL.

Focus on your bread and butter content

We learned this lesson from the lovely Lauren Pope at Brighton SEO, and it’s something every organisation should be doing, regardless of whether or not the brand is ‘boring’. Bread and butter content is the high-level static copy of your website that answers people’s questions: this can include product pages, company ‘About’ sections and any permanent resources you keep on the website. Despite what you might have been taught about the value of a re-tweet or your view-count on YouTube, your bread and butter content is in many ways far more valuable. Make it interesting, engaging and easy to understand, and you’ll have a solid, reliable base for your brand that can pull in traffic and links from other platforms and websites time and time again (bonus point – these extra links are great for SEO!).

Address your customers’ needs

There’s a reason people are reading your content: because there’s something they need. Addressing the questions, queries and concerns of your customers is therefore one of the most valuable things you can do for them. To make the most of this opportunity, invite questions and answer them in the most timely and helpful manner that you can. We have it on good authority – from ex-Googlers at the aforementioned Brighton SEO, no less – that problem-solving content can seriously boost your search prospects.

If you can’t be funny, be interesting

In this real-time world of quick tweets and social sharing, it’s easy to become obsessed with the idea that the only things people repost are a) funny, or b) cute. This is a popular, but false, assumption – even really old studies show that 64% of sharing is based on people wanting, amongst other things, to help, reach out, and provide information. Try to think outside of the box and come up with some creative ways to make your social content noticeable, because if you can produce interesting, relevant content that genuinely speaks to your audience, they’ll be motivated to share it, thereby increasing your total reach.

Speech bubble cloudMake conversation

You wouldn’t believe the number of big name brands who simply load up their Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or other generic scheduling software and let their social media take care of itself – and completely ignore their inbound messages. Although scheduling software can be handy for certain kinds of updates (e.g. links to your latest blog pieces), it’s got to be used in moderation. Social media without the social aspect is just brand broadcasting – and nobody wants to engage with that. Genuine conversation is essential, so whilst scheduling the odd tweet and update is fine, make sure you make the effort to talk to people on a personal, human, real-time level too.

Be really good at what you do

If you really want to stand out from the crowd, use your content to highlight why your proposition is better than anyone else’s. These benefits don’t necessarily have to be clever or humorous to be effective – they simply have to meet the requirements of your customer, and help them to understand why your brand is the right choice. Remember, though, that your content marketing can only ever be as effective as the product or service it’s putting under the spotlight – so do make sure there are no cobwebs! Your brand needs to shine by going the extra mile for your customers and giving them a fantastic experience that they’ll want to tell their friends about. A reputation can go just as viral as a video, so do everything in your power to make sure that yours is squeaky clean.