It’s too easy to fill social channels and email newsletters with what we like to call “crap” or Content Rarely Accommodating Pleasure. In other words, useless information that seldom adds value to the lives of your audience. Why would anyone take the time to publish crap online? The answer is simple, when “content is king” the need to publish content on all of our social channels has a high priority, but time may often limit the quality of what we can put together.
If you’re guilty of publishing crap (I’ll admit that we’re guilty of it sometimes too), it’s time to get your butt in gear and start thinking about the Big Ideas that you really want to share with your loyal (and soon to be loyal) online followers. The truth is, when you publish crap, very few of your followers are likely to engage, therefore defeating the purpose of publishing something online in the first place.
I’m thinking about a few different businesses that may have their owners thinking, my industry is boring and it’s difficult to come up with ideas for content that is actually entertaining and adds value. I’m glad you might have been thinking that because I was too. To combat that line of thought, I’ve put together a few creative ideas for boring industries. (No offense if your business falls into one of these categories.)
- Insurance – Even the best marketers in the world know how hard this is and while Geico seems to have more money than you-know-who when it comes to television advertising, their approach to content marketing is very different, yet still very interesting. Scanning through their Facebook feed, you’ll notice a great deal of content that is published by others like BuzzFeed and MentalFloss, but they still take the time to get in an occasional promotion or contest. Their blog highlights real people in real life, for instance a mother who owns a car dealership with two daughters who work for Geico – all women working in male-dominated industries. You’ll also get a glimpse into what Geico is doing in the community.
- Commercial Real Estate – Not many people are out there every day looking for commercial real estate to buy or lease, but someone is looking, CBRE wants you to think of them. For their own efforts to utilize the Internet to get their brand promoted, CBRE turned to Instagram. Browsing their feed, you’ll find countless beautiful photos of city landscapes and unique architecture. Each post generates 100 to 200 likes and several comments from followers. While CBRE is big with a big following, they turned a seemingly boring business into a social feed that generates real interest and helps to keep their brand on top of the minds of their audience.
- Taxes – Thank the heavens that tax time is over (unless of course you filed for an extension)! while many people cringe at the thought of taxes, the folks over at H&R block have amassed an enormous following online and the content they share scores ultra-low on the crap meter. From valuable tips about making the most out of your business travel to thoughtful articles about how to prepare for college, H&R block has all but taken tax out of the conversation. They’ve tapped into the idea that it’s really all about money. How to spend it, how to save it, how to get the most out of it.
We’re constantly tasked with crafting content that peaks the interest of our clients’ audiences. It’s rarely easy. To give you a leg up in thinking about the content that might peak the interest of your audience, try centering it around some of these ideas:
- People – When we are born, almost instantly we are staring into the eyes of another person. It may not seem extremely evident, but people are all about knowing what’s going on in the lives of others. Whether it’s complaining about the driver in the car in front of them, gossiping about the neighbor’s affair or bragging about the accomplishments of a friend, people love to learn about (and talk about) other people. Try writing articles introducing your unique employees or shoot videos that shows the fun and close-knit culture your employees share while at work.
- Dreams – We spend a great deal of our lives dreaming. Whether we are asleep or awake, our minds are constantly wondering “what ifs”. It never hurts to be the catalyst for someone’s day dream by sharing a photo of a fun summertime activity or publishing a strategy for stress-free vacation planning.
- Problems & Solutions – Often in business we provide the solutions to our customers’ problems. Your customer or potential customer may not be ready to buy right now, but if you can constantly feed them kick-ass solutions to perhaps minor problems they have, you’ll look like a superhero before you know it. The key to succeeding with this method is taking the time to truly know what their problems are. Don’t just “put yourself in their shoes”, ask your existing customers what they are annoyed by, what they struggle with and what they wish could be easier in their lives. It may just give you some new ideas about how you run your business too.
- Food – I’m not suggesting that you start taking pictures of your dinner halfway through eating – or even before you start, but the reality is, the idea of food elicits a very primitive response from people. One solution might marry the three ideas above into one: people dream about great experiences, but suffer with the problem of eating healthy when they go about their lives. Perhaps you can publish a series of recipes that pack well on trips, but don’t carry a load of calories.
This is by far the end-all list for getting creative with your content, but hopefully it will help you put an end to publishing crap. So next time you’re about to hit publish on your blog article or press share on your Facebook post, run it through the crap meter once and think about whether your audience will find true value in your new content or if they will think it’s just a waste of time.
Will Melton is a co-founder of Proximo Marketing Strategies and currently serves as the lead digital strategist. From crafting effective websites to designing communications plans that tie web, email, social and search all together, Will has a knack for finding solutions to all types of business problems, not just marketing ones.
Previously at the head of Computer Concepts, Will has a true understanding for the struggles a small business owner has in promoting their products and services. Borne out of an epiphany when trying to market his own company, Will realized the power of digital marketing and set out to share his knowledge and passion with other small like-minded businesses.