Content Strategy Makes “Boring” Industries Come Alive

Content strategy is a hurdle that a lot of organizations struggle with. I’ve met with quite a few business owners who ask me: “But how much web content can we realistically create around our business? Our industry is pretty boring.” To which I answer:

“Look, your product solves a real problem. It may not be glamorous, but it sure isn’t boring to the people struggling with that pain.”

Exciting content doesn’t depend on what industry you’re in or what products you sell. It depends on having the right content strategy — a plan that aligns your blog posts, web pages, videos, social media updates with your business objectives. When your content strategy is well formulated, your content will zing.

Creating exciting web content really boils down to one thing: being passionately helpful to people experiencing a problem that only your product/service can solve. If you can do it in a funny way, it helps too.

The truth is you can make any industry and any product exciting — anything from soap (think Old Spice) to blenders (BlendTec) to cloud computing (Salesforce) to file storage (Dropbox) — with the right content strategy. Anyone who is able to communicate the passion they possess for their line of work is immediately interesting. Passion is infectious and seeps out of everything you do. The trick is to channel it into your content.

Here are a four more examples of companies in supposedly “dry” industries creating interesting and engaging content for their blogs and social media channels:

TriNet’s Content Strategy: Humorous HR Videos

Can you think of any industry more old-fashioned than human resources with all its paperwork and tax reporting and payroll statements and year-end parties and (shudder) layoffs? And yet, HR outsourcing firm TriNet recently took to social media and came up with a series of web shorts of what NOT to do in HR. The series is called “Don’t Be a Terry” and proves that you can make even HR exciting for the common person. Check out “Double Mondays” below:

Eloqua’s Content Strategy: Gorgeous e-Books

Eloqua is a marketing automation company that gives businesses the ability to create self-running email nurturing campaigns among other things. That means they give you the ability to turn a web visitor into a sales prospect by sending them pre-configured emails that you set up. Maybe not too exciting for non-marketers? And yet, their content strategy revolves around creating a high volume of really well-designed e-books and marketing collateral PDFs that are just screaming to be printed out and passed around. They provide a huge library of interesting web content — everything from how to use their platform to thought leadership pieces on topics such as email and social media, as in their Social Media ProBook 2011/12 at the top of this post.

E*Trade’s Content Strategy: Hilarious Talking Babies

When you think of stocks and bonds, you typically imagine serious men in business suits losing money on the trading floor. So E*Trade turned the idea on its head by making cute babies dish out the stock advice in their series of hilarious ads which spread virally on social media channels everywhere. After all, there are only three things that can be considered viral web content: babies, cats and… um… unicorns, right?

Gorilla Glue’s Content Strategy: Tough Stories from Users

Gorilla Glue is a seriously tough glue that asks users to submit “Tough Stories” of how they use Gorilla products in their daily lives and their special projects. This has resulted in a large repository of web content generated by the users themselves (the best kind!). And below is one example of a customer testimonial which prompted the company to visit and film a proper video. Their idea? Let the users prove the product’s effectiveness, and then film the best stories.

Other Companies
Do you know of other companies rising above their competitors using exciting content? I’d love to learn of more. Hit the comments and share.

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