Although we don’t like to admit it, not all areas of business are overly interesting – at first glance anyway. Whether it’s because they’re drowning in jargon, seemingly irrelevant or just difficult to get your head round, these industries can find it tough to engage customers and get their message across. If you work in an area deemed to be “boring”, getting people sharing and talking about your content marketing can be a real challenge.
However, with a little bit of effort and a splash of imagination, even the greyest areas of business can be brought to life.Click To Tweet By employing a few clever techniques and encouraging your marketing team to think a little differently, your content marketing strategy can be transformed, engaging and exciting your audience in the process.
Create an event calendar to boost your content marketing
It’s hard to break into the news when something major is happening, or due to happen, like a film release, major sports event or award ceremony. This is why linking your content marketing strategy to current events can help to ensure your output is relevant and timely. Sit down with your marketing team and create a calendar of upcoming events. Next, try to brainstorm ways of linking your industry to these events. Although this might require a little creativity, in most cases you should be able to find an angle that allows you to take full advantage of the media coverage and interest generated by the news story.
As well as events that can be plotted in a calendar, it’s important to be able to respond quickly to breaking stories. Use a technique called ‘news jacking’ to repurpose a story to your own advantage.Click To Tweet Google Alerts, Hootsuite, and BuzzSumo Trending are good tools for monitoring the web for terms that are relevant to you and your industry.
Industry events are another opportunity for adding creating attention-grabbing content, especially if you add input from other attendees or speakers. For a great resource on how to get started check out, “How to Attend a Conference and Take It Over.”
And, if you need help finding an event, check out Curata’s list of marketing conferences.
The 6-3-5 brainwriting process
When you speak to other people in your industry about news and events that affect you all, you probably don’t consider that these stories are unlikely to break out of your industry and hit major publications. Identifying the areas that have a natural cross-over with the mainstream can help you to gain larger levels of coverage and success. Click To Tweet
A good way to garner ideas from others in your organisation is to utilise the 6-3-5 brainwriting process. Developed by Bernd Rohrbach and originally published in German sales magazine Absatzwirtschaft, the technique asks for six people to write down three ideas each on a specific topic. They have five minutes to complete the task before exchanging pieces of paper with the person on their right and repeating the exercise. After just half an hour you should have 108 ideas, at least some of which should be good enough to run with.
If you don’t have six people handy, the exercise can also be done with four, five or seven participants. Groups that are any bigger can become unmanageable so it’s important to keep your team small, agile and productive.
Skyscraper Content for better content marketing
If you work in content marketing techniques, you’ve probably already come across the term ‘skyscraper content’. It’s a unique method of generating content, which has been eagerly taken up by people within industry. This is largely due to the proliferation of content marketing which has left the internet saturated.
For those working in sectors where it feels like every topic has already been covered, this can be a tempting route to go down. In essence, the technique involves scouring the web for content related to your industry. If this has been well received, look at ways that you can re-use it, putting your own unique spin on it in the process. BuzzSumo is excellent for this process as you can search historic pieces or trending pieces of content for any term using their ‘content research’ tab.
Once you’ve created your new and improved piece, get in touch with the publications that used the original article to let them know about your content. Ideally, these same publications, bloggers or influencers should be interested in using your content, giving you a ready made set of prospects who would be receptive to your new piece.
You can combine an influencer technique with the skyscraper technique for even more impact.Click To Tweet Instead of re-writing a skyscraper piece alone, collaborate with others in your industry. As a team you will be able to distribute the content more widely than if you worked alone. Andy Crestodina offers a great how to guide on collaborative content. Collaborating on content has tangible and intangible benefits. Click To Tweet
However boring your particular niche may seem at first glance, there are guaranteed to be some aspects of the industry that capture readers’ attention. Finding out what these key elements are can help you to tailor your content and make your marketing more accessible to your target audience. It’s also important to look at other industries and see what’s been successful. Could it be applied to your own industry?
As previously mentioned, one of the best ways to do this is to use a content research tool like BuzzSumo. The service will track web content from competitors as well as shares across a range of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. By identifying the content that gets the biggest response from your target audience, the service can help you to create interesting content of your own.
The tool allows you to run keyword searches around a certain topic, analyse your competition’s output and identify the top influencers in your industry. This should give you a good idea of the subjects, talking points and events that are getting people most interested in your industry.
Here’s an example: London Underground Map is a relatively saturated content topic. Google shows 72 million results in a search for the term.
But we were able to branch out and get a significant number of shares, particularly on LinkedIn for our “London Underground Map – Property Value Over The Past 10 Years” post.
Speak to people outside of your industry
If you only ever speak to people working in your industry about your content, it will be difficult to get a realistic idea of how interesting your output will be to those not involved with the sector. Speaking to people who reside outside of your industry could help you to get a better understanding of what they actually find interesting in your content and what could potentially bore them to tears.
Moreover, research popular publications that you see as ideal target that you’d want to see your own content in. Find journalists in different fields from your own, but are writing about a similar topic. For instance, a story such as “the greenest place to live in London” will appeal not only to environmental publications, but also home sections in London nationals and regionals where they’ve come top or bottom. It’s crucial to see how these journalists in different fields are talking about the topic. Pitch your similar story back to them in their language, which they will clearly understand. It’s the quickest route for them to see if the story has legs, and whether it is relevant not only to them, but their audience as a whole.
Ultimately, speaking to people outside the industry helps you to find winning formulas in other sectors. This is turn can help you fine tune your content and figure out what’s going to work in mainstream media.
Whatever industry you’re in, there are guaranteed to be a few topics that most people will find interesting. Start brainwriting, planning and discussing today and transform your boring industry into a fascinating niche.
We’d love to hear how you have made your content more interesting–whatever niche you are in!