Social media and content marketing sound like a block party all year round. But what if not every industry as colorful and inspirational as Pinterest boards? To do content marketing right, your passion has to show through. What if you lack the passion or don't know where to start?
There are some highly-regulated industries that just restrict the amount of information a person can share publicly, take for example, the financial industry and trade stock exchange. There are also industries that are hailed "boring," examples being construction, materials supply or warehouses. How do you create content that will actually interest people?
First, let's address the "boring" category.
There are industries that sound less "sexy" than others but it doesn't mean that they are boring. Let me put a question this way: if the industry is so boring to you that it numbs your brain, why did you get in it in the first place? Yes, sometimes we have to pick up jobs that interest us little due to financial and other factors.
However, to be really good at content marketing, you need to be passionate about your subject. You have two options here: start looking for a new job or get curious about what you're doing.
Get in the mindset of a passionate person. Find people who love the subject you need to write about and ask them what makes it so interesting to them. What's considered cool in this industry? What type of content would be interesting to them? What kind of headline or tip what make the stop and read an article? Are there any inside jokes people enjoy? What fields need more research? The possibilities are endless.
For example, due to the nature of my work, I have to create lots of content around automotive industry. As a girly girl, who sees the difference between cars only in terms of whether it's a "truck" (everything that is a little higher off the ground is a truck in my world) or a "car" (don't remind me that there are coupes, sedans and hatchbacks), the automotive industry is a bit far from my interests.
It is easy to deem this industry "boring" and get caught up in loans, leases and disclaimers. However, I know that the auto industry evokes passion in a lot of people of both genders. Cars can be compact, efficient, utilitarian, powerful, sporty, sexy and so much more. So, instead of lease terms, I'm publishing lots of sexy modified cars, tips on how to keep a car in its top shape, industry news, questions and an occasional humorous post.
What do you write about?
So, next time you're scrambling for ideas, find a few people (who might very well be your co-workers who are not as gifted with a talent of word) and ask them what they would want to read on a subject. Don't forget the 4 E's of content marketing: entertain, educate, enrich and engage.
- Entertain: everyone enjoys a good joke. Humor is a proven way to stick in your audience's memory. Memes enjoy great popularity. Find related, non-offensive jokes and "sprinkle" your content with an occasional smile.
- Educate: find out what your audience wants to learn by simply asking it through a poll or survey. Perform research to find out what informational gaps exist in an industry and fill them in with your content, so people will be coming back for more information to you.
- Enrich: enrich your audience's lives by solving their issues. Come up with "hacks" that will make their lives easier, showcase how your offering can solve their problem or help with their challenges.
- Engage: If you've done all three of the above, the audience should be pretty engaged with your content already. To further this, ask questions and opinions. Create emotional hook that will provoke an urge to comment.
To further ease your burden of coming up with interesting content, don't forget to recycle it. Take already existing content and reuse it in a different format. You can turn a blog post into an infographic, a video, a webinar, a guide, an e-book or a whitepaper. Even a checklist or a podcast or a case study will work!
What about highly-regulated industries?
Now as to content in highly-regulated industries: to play the game, know the rules. Educate yourself on what you can and cannot do online and just go with it. It's more likely than not that you can share industry news from other sources, such as Forbes, Business Insider or industry-specific publications, because their content should adhere to the laws and regulations.
You can also publish occasional memes or funny images; again, the rule here is non-offensive. You can enrich and educate your audience with general tips, on say, how to evaluate investments, red flags when choosing attorneys or common mistakes people make when purchasing a home. All of these are not a top-secret information, but just be careful with what you publish.
Can you be human?
Another thing to remember when you struggle to find content ideas: be human. Engage in conversations by asking questions and opinion. Share behind-the-scenes of your company, such as company milestones, birthday parties, Christmas decorations or photos from "Bring Your Pet to Work Day."
Create videos that show employees and their human side, because, whether you're in a B2C or B2B organization, people want to deal with people not corporations. Showing your human side should only help you build trust and affinity.
The one and only Gary Vaynerchuk said this: "[this] tells me more so about a specific mindset people need to get out of rather than the difficulty of creating content for your industry. If you think your industry is boring, shift your way of thinking. Immediately. You need to change your outlook in order to change your output."
If you're still struggling, maybe it's time to change a job. That happens and is perfectly fine. You might not be suited well for this company or industry and there might be someone else who'd love your job. However, give these tips a try first.