Companies often reach out to us frustrated, feeling like they are spinning their wheels and not getting anywhere with their current content marketing strategy. They already get the basics; they recognize the importance of things like content optimization, answering audience questions and having an editorial calendar. They also normally have a basic content strategy implemented or some combination of elements going for them.
Even with this understanding, it’s not uncommon to feel like producing unique content every week is a huge commitment and an overwhelming amount of work. If you can give ditch the drab, boring content and give readers what they really want, the hard work and effort will pay off.
Distinguishing Between “Drab” and Foundational Content
Drab content does not necessarily equal bad. In fact, it’s a great starting point. There is a certain amount of boring content that is necessary for every content marketing strategy. Product pages, FAQ pages, and blog articles that answer reader’s questions and promote your products/services are extremely valuable. Are they going to get shared and go viral?–probably not—but that’s okay. Having this content is a great place to launch from. When I talk about ditching drab content, this is with the assumption that you have already laid the groundwork and are ready to take your content strategy to the next level.
What is Drab Content?
Drab content has a few qualifying factors and I would think of it like eating toast. You can only eat one kind of toast with plain butter for so long. After a while, if you don’t change up the bread or dress it up with some jelly, it gets boring. Yes, it does the job and serves as fuel for your body, but you can only eat so many pieces of plain toast. Your readers can only consume so much of the same kind of content about the same topic.
- Topics have been continuously repurposed
- Content comes in only one format
- Content refers to only one aspect of your products/services
- Content only serves one portion of your consumer audience
Every business has a responsibility to educate consumers about the products and services they offer. That is one of the key reasons to have a website that serves as a marketing hub. Even a slinky business needs to educate their audience on How does it work? What age group is it best suited for? Can it be submerged in water? Is it safe for my child? These are all great questions to answer and make a great foundational layer of content on a website.
Give Readers What They Want
Create a solid foundation with content that addresses user needs and then branch out. Do not continue to repurpose articles about lawn maintenance in the summer. Your readers are worth so much more than just lawn maintenance and they deserve to be treated like the dynamic, unique individuals they are. Make your content more interesting. Diversify the format of your content by adding charts, quizzes, and screenshots to keep readers intrigued. Include interviews, customer feedback and surveys to mix it up.
What do readers want?
- They want to have access to information about your products/services
- They want to be educated about topics they care about
- They want to feel like they are part of a community
If you can address all of these needs with a mix of interesting formats on your site, readers will keep coming back for more.
Do Your Research
Research your brand personas and find out what kinds of things (outside of your business) interest your audience. Use social media to leverage information about any clubs, organizations, education or themes that connect audience members.
Once you understand your brand personas, a content audit helps determine the missing elements in your content strategy. It pinpoints areas you are lacking in and provides answers to questions like:
- What can I write about that sets me apart from all the other articles in my niche?
- What questions aren’t being answered on my site?
- What kinds of formats should I be utilizing?
- Have all stages of my buyer’s journey been addressed?
- Do I have content that speaks directly to my audience who are evaluating their options?
Use these questions to develop a priority list for enhancing your current content.
Enhance Your Brand
The previous research is helpful to enhance your brand and add content that complements the existing content on your site. If you are a surf board company, create content that aligns with the active lifestyle aspects of your brand, even if the topics may be peripheral to your actual product. Add a book of healthy recipes to interest readers that live a fit lifestyle or show the top 10 surf clothing companies. By offering content that addresses other interests of your audience, you create a holistic brand. This is important for creating a community.
Foster a Community Culture
If you are generating content to enhance your brand, you are creating a community as well. It’s important to show your audience that you recognize their individualities. A great example of a brand that fosters a community culture is Starbucks. Starbucks does a stand-up job of recognizing its audience and sharing photos taken by fans. Starbucks asked a fan who posted a photo on Instagram of their signature holiday red cup next to a Christmas tree if they could share the photo and the fan, of course, agreed. This kind of interaction with their audience has made them one of the most successful brands on social media.
It’s more than just interacting with fans. It’s also important to create an environment where consumers can interact with each other. Starbucks fosters a community by setting up events like coffee meet-ups and community service events sponsored by the coffee giant.
One of the greatest things to see is brands using their reach to empower each other and do really great things in the community. Lay the groundwork, then figure out how you can enhance your brand, diversify your content and develop a community. It’s a lot of work, but this is how to produce content in a meaningful way that keeps readers coming back for more.
Come Up with Effective Content Ideas
Our 29-page DIY workbook will give you the prompts and resources you need to brainstorm content that isn’t drab at all. Download now to bring this to your next ideation session!