Marketing’s a tough gig when the brand you’re trying to get people excited about is – frankly – rather unexcitable.
Considering that nearly two-thirds of consumers have better feelings towards a company that makes custom content (plus the fact that content creation was named the most effective SEO tactic) it seems branded content is far too important to sweep under the carpet.
Here are some companies who’ve figured out how to add that ‘je ne sais quoi’ to their online assets. Read on and take notes.
Don’t ignore an overpopulated medium
You may assume that certain corners of social media have been claimed and that there’s not enough room for a company like, well, yours.
However, the brilliant thing about social media in particular, is that if you do it really well, it’s a free for all. Take Instagram – does a ‘boring’ company have any right to a visual, trendy space that’s been taken over by fashionistas and foodies?
If you approach it the right way: absolutely.
General Electric, conglomerate of energy, engineering and technology, has taken a critical eye to find an area in their operations that’s visually splendid, and in turn taken over Instagram. Their account has close to 200,000 followers and their great photographic eye has earned them a top spot in one of the most popular current social media sites.
For another example, see Mailchimp’s Instagram account, which rarely features anything to do with their service but proves that even email service providers have a creative streak.
Forget being professional
Very few customers would choose an informative, fact-filled communication message over something that makes them laugh, or is intriguing, or unbelievable.
As averse as we marketers may be to allowing our product to become a joke, if you let loose – just a little – you may find a much more open audience waiting to be entertained.
The Blendtec YouTube channel has hit that incredible sweet spot – being able to demonstrate how good the Blendtec product is at its job, while having so much fun that you can’t help but watch, and watch, and watch.
Our favourite video (after a lengthy judging process) has to be the glowstick smoothie. Give it a watch.
Remind your audience that your expertise is invaluable
If you want to stick to what you know, then make sure that you deliver it with real impact.
The weekly email newsletters from Money Saving Expert are so packed full of information and content-rich that a reader simply couldn’t ignore their worth – a great exercise in the practice of recognising your company’s USP and making it shine.
Most importantly, the content they include never forgets what users will actually find useful. For example: credit card benefits aren’t particularly exciting. But a list of ways to build your credit rating with credit cards? Suddenly, some fairly dry content is going to tap into a specific market of people who are desperate to improve their financial game.
Remember: customers don’t care what you do
All marketers know that customers only care about their own needs, and so why would your company’s online asset/s reflect anything differently?
If you’re considering starting a blog, avoid self-centered content. Instead, write about something your customers need – whether it’s tips, expert advice, reviews or entertainment.
Opus Energy, an energy company primarily serving SMEs, made ‘Gift’, an online business magazine that gives readers tips dedicated to small businesses and their varied needs. With little to no mention of energy, the asset responds to the customers and is a lesson in keeping customers hooked when they don’t want to listen.
Tell your story differently
If you can’t make a written feature about your company interesting, turn it around and try telling it from an entirely different angle or with a fresh, different medium.
Burials and funeral services are an ideal example of a tough industry that can’t rely on being ‘fun’ or flippant with their content. Green Acres Woodland Burials got around this hurdle by presenting their information in easy to absorb infographic – see their visually compelling explanation of how affordable their service is.
It’s easy to read, entertaining on the eye and relies on an informative angle that gives a sense of authority. That’s a gold star for reinventing the overdone blog format.
Sarah Musgrove is a digital content creator and internet-procrastinator extraordinaire. Sarah is a staff writer at B2B energy supplier, Opus Energy, and a blogger at Metro.co.uk, as well as having contributed to a variety of online and print publications. For insightful tweets (and a large amount of inane observations), follow her on Twitter here.