Getting Creative with a “Boring” Business By Rob Toledo on October 19, 2013
Anyone even vaguely acquainted with advertising or marketing these days would be highly likely to throw something at me if I started spouting on about how “content is king”
You know it engages the customers you have and attracts the ones you don’t, and you most certainly know all the sharing of your incredible content won’t hurt your search engine ranking, either.
Quite frankly, I imagine you’re sick of hearing it. Especially if you’re currently banging your head against a desk trying to figure out how you’re going to come up with some incredible content for a company that sells… tab dividers.
But don’t despair. No matter how boring your subject matter, it is possible to come up with excellent ideas for quality content provide your readers with value.
For some awesome inspiration, just look at the examples below. Hopefully, it will take you one step closer to the ‘Eureka!’ moment you’ve been waiting for.
Simply Business is a British insurance broker. Thrilling, right? They realized that insurance might not be the most fascinating topic in the world, so they spent a little time defining their target audience and thinking about what would be interesting (and valuable) to them.
They decided their target audience (small businesses) would benefit from detailed guides for all aspects of owning a small business. From social media to PPC, productivity to employment law, if a small business might be interested in it, they’ve produced a guide for it. These guides, as well as their blog posts and infographics, are trustworthy, detailed, trustworthy, and well researched—all of which provide readers with value and positions Simply Business as an industry expert.
Takeaway tip: Focus on your customers. Define your target audience, and think what else they might be interested in, other than your product or service.
In-flight safety – I’ll be honest, I switch off when the hosts and hostesses are doing their safety demonstration at the front of the plane. In fact, I’m pretty sure they switch off, too. So what did Air New Zealand do to increase passenger engagement and get people talking? They tried a tongue in cheek approach to getting their passengers’ attention. Body-painted cabin crew, disco dancing 80s idols and try-anything adventurers give a dry subject a new lease of life.
“We’re not in the advertising business, we’re in the entertainment business,” says Air New Zealand’s head of marketing, Steve Bayliss. And that realization helped their campaign go viral.
Takeaway tip: Decide on the character of your business, and use it. Think human, think tongue in cheek, and be adventurous. But be careful, once you’ve done this, it’s difficult to go back. Be consistent, and use personality to convey your message.
When you think of beautiful, visually focused brands, you probably don’t think of GE, right? But GE’s Pinterest presence might cause you to think again. The company shows off a fun and quirky side with boards like “Badass Machines” and “Mind=Blown.”
But GE has also strategically mixed in boards that showcase their products in a really elegant and visually appealing way. Take their “FABULOUS Kitchens” board, for example:
This board showcases elegant kitchens (which is perfect for a visual medium like Pinterest), but it also incorporates GE appliances or kitchens with those appliances. By doing this, GE is able to give their “boring” dishwashers and refrigerators a new, glamorous appeal.
Takeaway tip: Try and show off your product or service’s features in an interesting or unusual way. If using social media platforms, tailor your content to fit each one.
Another insurance firm (I guess you can tell by now I think insurance is pretty boring), but this one approaches their marketing in a manner more like GE than Simply Business. They created an antihero to demonstrate the unique benefit of their product, a tactic once much loved in the advertising industry. After all, what better way to bond with your customers than to commiserate with them over a shared enemy?
Takeaway tip: Again, think of ‘unique benefits’. What can your product do that others can’t? Use inspiration from vintage campaigns to come up with something new and original.
For a more in depth look at how to get creative with a boring business, take a look at this great piece on The Moz Blog, which gives a step-by-step guide to developing a content strategy for ‘boring’ industries. Although after seeing these examples, I’m sure you’ll agree, there’s no such thing.