Turning a ‘yawn’ into ‘awe’: idea generation and content strategy for ‘dull’ industries
When I first started learning about SEO, I quickly discovered my mates are not that interested in the most recent updates to Google’s algorithm.
That’s because, in some people’s eyes, SEO is a bit boring.
I think SEO is fascinating.
It’s almost as if there is no such thing as a ‘boring’ industry. Only uninterested people.
Every industry has its fanatics, every industry has a community who shares knowledge and discusses their niche with as much passion as many use when they discuss politics, culture or how great dogs are.
This means that every industry can benefit from content marketing, and every industry has an audience which needs to be reached and engaged with.
The challenge can come in finding engaging subjects and creating content which will appeal to a niche audience.
Not every company can be about travel, food and fashion, and that’s okay. Your audience is out there, it’s time to find them and build awareness for your brand.
Are you selling an ‘unsexy’ product or service?
Arguably, there are some products and services which are easier to sell than others.
If you sell radiator valves, insurance, water softeners, will writing services, accountancy services, health and safety supplies, container shipping companies, think of content creation as a challenge, you just need to be a little bit more creative in building your content strategy to excite and engage with your audience.
We look at the ways you can build a content strategy around a so-called ‘boring’ business and turn your content from yawn-inducing to awe-inducing.
Lurk around your niche
Get ready to lurk around where your audience may be spending their time.
Where you can research your audience and your ideas:
There is literally a subreddit for everything. Don’t believe me? There is a subreddit devoted to industrial maintenance. This is a good way to gauge the voice of your target audience. Can’t find a subreddit? Instead of navigating Reddit’s search function, search ‘Site:Reddit.com your enquiry’ on Google to find a treasure trove of discussion.
I have found niche Facebook groups are the fastest growing and most active online communities over the past couple of years. Many of these groups will be closed, but there is no harm in requesting to join and read the conversations happening and the questions being asked.
In content marketing and SEO, it feels like anyone who can write an article is an expert (or, shudder, a ‘guru’). Turns out it’s the same for every other industry too! For B2B businesses, LinkedIn is a hive of thought leaders who are publishing content on LinkedIn. Investigate the groups and even ask to connect with names you may be seeing a lot within the industry.
Read what your competitors are talking about. Better still, find what your competitors were writing about. If they have outdated content, an easy win is to write a more thorough and up-to-date version of that they were originally writing about.
Yes they still exist and there are thousands of active, niche boards out there.
Tip: You can use ahrefs to look at the sites who are linking to your competitors. This will not only help you to build up a target list for future outreach campaigns, but will also help you find new niche blogs and websites to browse when reading around for a content marketing strategy.
Focus on wider topics
When working on a campaign, you are usually creating content around a specific niche. This maybe a dull or limited niche. However, each specific subject will be connected to larger ideas and topics (every component of a computer is probably tedious to read about in-depth, but each of those items will also belong to the ‘computer’ and ‘tech’ topic group – something which many find interesting). It is likely your target audience will also enjoy this wider topic, which can act as a ‘hub’
Tip: Google Analytics lists top-line interests your audience generally belongs to under audience -> interests -> affinity categories. This lists categories such as ‘Green Living Enthusiasts’, ‘Do-It-Yourselfers’ and ‘Avid Investors’, which can be a useful starting point for your plan when tackling wider topics and angles.
If you can’t write to entertain, write to inform
If it is not possible to find an entertaining, interesting or shareable angle for your industry content, then a good approach is to instead write to inform and educate.
An internet search is a question – information is being sought after. Lots of other sites are providing the same information, so you have to present the information needed in a way which is thorough, easy to follow and well-formatted. Make sure your technical SEO housekeeping is in place, so search engines can crawl, read and index your content.
Tip: If you want to look at the questions being asked around a certain subject, the website Answer the Public is an indispensable free tool which presents popular Google searches around ‘how’,’when’,’where’,’why’ and ‘who’ questions.
Avoid being vague
Sometimes the temptation is to write vaguely on a wide subject (for example, a piece on ‘what does a computer do?’ if you manufacture computer parts), but the hard truth is that the top ten Google searches for larger subjects will already be dominated by Wikipedia and your competitors, unless you are working with a lot of budget and time.
If you are looking for your brand to be discovered on Google, the best way will be to aim to pick up traffic on ‘long tail’ searches. These enquiries make up the bulk of Google searches, and are longer, more detailed enquiries.
Wider topics can be covered on landing page copy for the bulk of your website if needed. Your promotional content plan can focus on specifics.
If you are writing on a very broad spectrum, you are basically writing for no-one at all.
Tip: Regularly check blogs and the press around your niche to pick up on any new terms, topics and questions which may start to be asked by your audience. Setting up a feedly stream around your industry which you can check regularly is a good way to stay on top of what is new.
Mix up your formats, including visuals
A great idea can be presented in a myriad of ways and looking beyond simply writing on your subject is a way to keep your audience engaged and informed through your brand.
Useful formats include tools and calculators hosted on your site which will help your audience. This can take time to develop, but if you have built something truly unique and useful, you can let others know about it through a PR push around your content.
Visual formats are also vital. If you feel writing isn’t enough to engage an audience for your industry, dull concepts are often made interesting and engaging through visual information. This can include data visualisation and infographics, short video product videos or explainers and even larger pieces of interactive content such as quizzes or live webinars.
Tip: Infogram is a great free tool for basic data visualisation.
Every brand has an interesting story to tell
Was the brand created to solve a problem? How did that problem affect the world before? Did an inventor or creator have a story around this problem? Is the company a family business? It sounds basic, but stories with a human angle appeal to humans – it grabs attention when revolving around an uninteresting subject.
You may need to reach out to experts and thought leaders from within the company for stories and unique insights.
Tip: Hold a ‘discovery meeting’ with seniors or thought leaders from the brand to really get an idea of what they are passionate about, topics they are vocal about and unearth the interesting stories the brand has to tell their audience.
At Anicca Digital, we have worked with all types of companies. If you need help with attracting and engaging a new audience with content marketing, contact us today.