Two of the most important virtues to develop when creating great content for a boring industry are appreciation and observation. Acquiring appreciation and observation of your industry will probably require an immediate change of thinking and a fair amount of research on your part.
What Do I Mean?
First, you need to appreciate that, while you may think the industry is boring, the professionals who live, breathe and drive it probably think it’s sexy as all get-out.
Here’s an example: I thought the work Flash Global did look cornflakes-without-the-milk dry and boring when I initially saw it at 50,000 feet. When I first considered the supply chain and transportation industry and what Flash seemed to be about, I wasn’t interested in the job.
Then I took a deeper look at the industry and spent some time learning more. What I saw was simply amazing. My perspective changed; I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I wanted – needed – to be a part of it.
Turns out, what I thought was simply a box-throwing, a pallet-stacking company was much more. In reality, it is one of the few companies that keeps the world’s digital infrastructure up and running 24/7/365 for some of the world’s largest high-tech original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Does Creating Great Content Sound Boring? Not after I Say It Like That…
Let’s make this about you, your company and your industry. How do you go about creating great content for what you may currently perceive to be a boring industry? Here are a few tips and tricks with which to approach your content strategy.
Where to find the golden nuggets that inform your content writing
First, shift your perspective. That is your entire key to success, and good news, you’re probably a marketer, so you should excel at this. A few places to start:
Get to know your customers at a deeper level by talking to someone in sales. A good salesperson is likely to provide the most compelling reasons why their widget is the best. If they can’t, they shouldn’t be in sales. Capture golden nuggets like this and your content marketing will be on its way.
Look for stories that show how your customer impacts their customers. Get case studies, capture client testimonials, or even talk to clients directly. Getting a 360-degree view of your industry is critical as you create the building blocks for great content.
Read your competitors’ content before you finalize your own content marketing strategy. I’ll bet big money their marketing collateral defines boring and will put even someone with chronic insomnia to sleep. Once you’ve thoroughly reviewed what your competitors are churning out, you’ll know exactly what not to do with your content writing. Be bold, be different!
Creating Great Content when You’re Stumped
Now that you understand how not-boring your industry truly is, the next step may seem a bit counterintuitive. Escape from your office and computer to find inspiration somewhere else. How you do this should fit you.
Some people find that taking long walks or sweating through a SoulCycle class helps get the creative juices flowing. Others prefer vision quests involving copious amounts of peyote. You do you as you find your own special formula for creating great content.
When you return to your workspace, don’t let your creative flow be interrupted. Set aside time to research and brainstorm without distractions such as email, Slack or Instagram. Fortune favors the prepared mind, so read voraciously about your industry, your top competitors, and the latest marketplace trends.
Find the real meaning of the work your company does and how it impacts the world. I guarantee that if you dig deep enough, you will realize your product or service is sexy and special. All this groundwork will help you understand what makes your company special. With that knowledge, your content writing will sing.
Once you cool down or emerge from your vision quest with a headful of inspiring info – write. Write everything that comes to mind based on your interviews, observations, and readings. Don’t overthink it, just get it all out there. Allow yourself to write garbage in this brain dump. Then take a 15-minute break before returning to organize the structure, fine-tune and polish.
Stop Caring What People Think: Flaunt Your Brilliance
Be confident in what you’re doing and know thy audience. It’s easy to write for the audience you think you have – in this case, you may think they are boring too. Guess what, they’re not. Your audience is probably just like you and loves to be entertained or inspired, so you need to get busy creating great content.
Be sure you verify who your audience is by reviewing demographics data in Google Analytics. Get ready to be surprised by the age, gender or location of your readers.
Write like no one is watching. Write for you and all the clever, interesting clients and employees you’ve met along this journey. We tend to get caught up in worrying about what people will think of us and our writing. Lose your inhibitions. That will free you to create great content.
Once you get the first draft on paper, ask a respected colleague to review it. Ask them to suggest points of interest, comedy or analogies to make your content more approachable. Creating great content often takes a village, so don’t be shy about asking for anecdotes, stories, and statistics to make your story truly compelling.
Share It widely with awesome content marketing
Your final step in world domination is here: publish and share with confidence. In many cases, good content does not get published because we think it’s not great. While great is the ideal target, good and done is better than waiting for great.
If you need a confidence booster, just remember that not everybody has the moxie and presence of mind to write about what makes their company and its products/services special and unique. You’ve done it!
Celebrate the work you’ve done and share it proudly, even if you’re scared. Write optimized social media messages for each platform you use and share links to your new great content.
If you get pushback on the style, tone or direction (not the accuracy, you’ve got to be accurate), remind your reviewers that standing out from the crowd is the most effective way to grab attention. You’ll set your company apart from the competition by being more approachable and understandable rather than the white noise of tired industry-speak blah, blah, blah.
Remember, boring is in the eye of the beholder. It’s up to you to shift that perception, in your head and in others. Get out there and uncover the sexy that lies beneath what you originally thought was boring industry business jargon. You’ll be glad you broke the mold and began creating great content.
Ryan Miller is vice president of global marketing for Flash Global, which designs and implements service supply chain solutions for rapidly expanding businesses. He thrives in dynamic work environments and is passionate about working and empowering talented professionals.
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