In fact, no industry is boring itself, but being content strategist or a content developer you may encounter a situation where you find it difficult to engage your audience with useful and value creating content.
Normally startups in pre-launch phase when the actual product is not readily available in the market are found to be “boring”, but besides that there are various stages in any business model when it may sound ‘boring’ for anyone.
I posted this question to a Linkedin Group of Content Marketers. Each answer discussed a different dimension. I summed up all the answers according to my understanding and came up with this detailed guide on creating useful and engaging content for boring industries under various scenarios.
1- Define What Actually is Boring and For Whom:
Holly Martin(Industrial and Scientific B2B Content Marketing Expert) explains that “boring” is in the eyes of the beholder. For example, someone with an engineering background, such as myself, would actually consider creating content for a high end mechanical equipment company interesting, maybe even exciting. But many editors I’ve worked with, who may not have a technical background or perspective, might think, “Ugh!” They seem relieved when I’m happy to tackle such subjects for them.
2- Put Yourself in Customer’s Shoes:
Ruth M. Trucks(Marketing Specialist- German & English) recommends listening to your audience first and try to understand what makes their hearts beat faster and what will give them goose bumps.
She adds, “It is more important to understand what they need and what’s in the product for them”.
3- Involve Non-Content and Other Employees Who Have Interest in the Subject:
Brian Acton(Marketing Consultant at Vocus) says, “Chances are, even if you (the Marketer) find the subject dry, some people at your company find it fascinating; find these people!”
4- Get the Higher Management & Sales People Involved:
Stephen Tamlin(Head of Digital Marketing at Your Digital Spark) recommends working closely with the directors or high management as it helps understanding the company’s value proposition. On the other hand information from the salespeople that helps understanding the customers.
5- Take Your Time to Understand What You Are Selling:
Annalisa Soldani(Marketing Manager at EIC Limited) is of the opinion that you must do your own research on the product/service that you are selling. There is always an audience you just need to find out how they are and what their ‘hot buttons’ are. Granted, B2B products and services often aren’t sexy but if you take the time to understand the product and the problem it solves you’ll rarely find it boring.
6- Make Sure it is Equally Engaging for You:
Annalisa Soldani further says that if you can’t engage yourself with the product/service you will never produce engaging content about it. Once you have a better understanding of the value proposition and the target marketing, adding your own research will bring a clear picture of what type of content is needed and for whom.
Alex Chaidaroglou(Digital Marketer & Web Entrepreneur) has written a detailed on writing engaging content for boring industries!
7- Result Oriented Content Strategy is a Must:
Strategy is most important, as it defines the roadmap for your content. Michael Arellano(Marketing & Sales Professional from Mission Medical) explains it all in few easy to follow steps:
a-) Research your product;
b-) Research your audience;
c-) Determine your strategy;
e-) Provide viable solutions to industry issues;
f-) Do not get discouraged – the journey can be slow and arduous, especially in a new industry, but the rewards are great as you increase your knowledge base.
8- Let Customers Speak for You:
Sandra Stewart(Principal, Thinkshift Communications) recommends including customer experiences. She insists on writing customer stories and incorporating them in other pieces as much as possible. She further advices to use scenarios and first-person experiences because real people and real-world experiences are always interesting to those in the same boat.
9- Execute Your Strategy Realistically:
Steve Maurer(B2B Writing Professional) adds some really practical ideas:
- Get as much of the data about the product/service by reading about it.
- If you have questions, ask them.
- Find out what makes the product/service special and different from the competition.
- Discover what needs it fulfills for your client’s prospects.
- Know why is it important to the audience and what problems does it solve.
- Include features in the copy; but concentrate on the benefits more. If the feature doesn’t solve a problem or address a challenge, it’s not meaningful. For example, one feature might be its color. If there is no reason this is important, it’s a sideline feature.
- For every benefit, go deeper. Once you state a benefit, then ask, “So what?” Drill down until you hit the absolute core benefit. That’s your copy.
- As for previous copy, both that did and didn’t work. Find out why and improve from there.
- If they have videos, particularly online, watch them over and over until you thoroughly understand the product.
10- Segment Your Audience and Develop Content for Each Separately:
Knowing your audience is not enough, you need to know them very well. Keeping customers’ profiles and research in diverse directions can help you categorize your audience in different segments. It is very important because, in B2B marketing you have to be very specific to the audience’s needs and one type of content which is attractive for a particular segment may not appeal the other group.
Tamara De La Fuente(Content Specialist at Nolan Real Estate Services) says, “Develop a buyer persona or several, for your brand. Then you write and develop the content based on the needs of your buyer persona, and for each stage in the buying cycle”.
11- Think Out of The Box:
Honestly, you cannot step ahead if you keep your thoughts within the box. No matter how much information is readily available, but you cannot engage your customer/reader with same old repetitive stuff!
Christopher Berkley(Freelance Digital Marketer) says that one should not expect every piece of content to “go viral” especially when you are writing for a small audience. If you’re looking to make content that appeals to a larger customer base, then look outside of the industry and see how you can author content more relevant to the average Joe. Are there any recent trends you can piggyback on?
I hope after reading this detailed guide, your industry is no more boring!