Although certain industries may be conceded as dull or ho-hum, many of these industries lead our economy in capital growth and demand. Insurance, finance, and telecommunications for example, have flooded the marketplace with day-to-day products and services that each of us consume.
With such a lucrative opportunity to target the masses, how do these industries create captivating content that is interactive and conversion driven?
Understand & Engage Your Audience
It is vital to understand and speak to your audience in a way that is personable and actionable. Take Esurance’s unofficial Super Bowl 50 ad campaign for starters. They were able to generate more Twitter mentions than any other company without even launching their ads during the heat of the game. How? They did something no one else thought of. They ran a contest. A contest in which they gave away just over $1 million to 17 people.
Their contest was successful for various reasons, but most importantly, they understood what it took to engage their viewers. Sarah Evans, Esurance social media communications specialist, describes why they chose to target an audience through Twitter. She said, “No one these days is just watching the TV. We’re surrounded by technology. We know the only way into somebody’s house, into somebody’s life, is not just through the TV screen, but through handheld devices and social media.” This strategy exemplifies their ability to understand the demographics and common trends of human behavior. Within your industry there will be ways for you to do the same. Before launching a campaign, be sure to analyze your target markets, different demographics, and cater your message to their specific behaviors.
Diversify your Content
Quality and diversification of content will help define your value as a product or service in your given space. Take the time to make your content visually appealing, reader-friendly, and backed by credible sources. Contests are just one way to add that value, but there’s more to it. Use infographics, testimonials, reviews, customer service portals, video content, and press releases to stand out as an expert to the rest of us. If you’ve started a business or belong to an existing business, ask yourself, “Why do you believe in the product?” What makes you different than your competitors? Answering those questions is the easiest way to ignite your creative juices and deliver a message that’s unique.
Fall in Love with Video
If you’ve been following the transformations of social media, and digital media for that matter, you already know video content is the next big thing. YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, Periscope, etc., have all focused their UX on video production. Gary Vaynerchuck, entrepreneur and owner of VaynerMedia, is an avid believer in the rise of video marketing. From the words of Gary, “No matter what you’re selling, no matter what your company does, if you don’t have a video marketing strategy for the biggest video platforms, you are going to lose.”
Video marketing is personable, more entertaining, and continuously progressing. Just like any publication process, it is important to follow a plan. Strategize your video campaigns to help tell your story. Keep your videos short-form and concise to appeal to the fast-paced marketplace of social media. To create personal connections, turn you online FAQ pages into video interviews. Share daily tips and tutorials to help simplify customer experience. Even sharing video testimonials is a great way to create a stronger online reputation. Lastly, the creative video you produce is pointless without a call to action. Don’t forget to invite your viewers an opportunity to learn more, shop now, or share with a friend.
Research & Compile Data
As content marketing becomes even more ubiquitous and competitive, unique content can be differentiated by using high-quality and reputable resources. No matter the topic, your ability to express correlation and causation can entice a reader even if the content seems lifeless initially. While working with Clearlink, I’ve played part in launching a content series about the “Best and Worst Commuter Cities in the U.S.” for Obrella.com. Our reports were generated from a national survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. We were able to compile the data and create a ranking system of recognition for the best and worst cities around the U.S. With an online badge of recognition, infographics, and compelling data to support the ranking, city officials and news outlets were highly receptive to our research and analysis, so much so, they shared the report with the people in their community.
If you’re struggling to find sources for compelling and data-driven content, spend time delving through government agency or state department sites, research organizations (Pew Research Center), think tanks, Census Bureaus, etc. This will help you compile data that is generated from demographics similar to your target audience.
We’ve all tried solving a Rubik’s Cube. It requires a repetitive process of trial and error, but awards a great amount of satisfaction when solved. This can be said for digital marketers working in the so-called “boring” industries as well. When Progressive launched their ad campaign with Flo at the helm, Allstate was hit with a two-year drop in market share. To recover from the continued downfall, they had to find a way to solve the puzzle. Nina Abnee, Executive VP, said, “Nobody wants to sit around and talk about car insurance. In order to combat that, we needed to entertain. We need to get people’s attention.” The birth of actor Dean Winters as Allstate’s Mayhem man was the solution to their downfall. The campaign blew up nationwide. “I saw Mayhem walking down the street trick-or-treating,” said Abnee. That’s when she knew they had been noticed.
Find ways to implement new avenues of success. There’s no perfect way to execute your content strategy, so start by finding and filling holes in your current process. Create a list of what has worked and what hasn’t. From that list, you can start executing projects related to what has worked, and continue to brainstorm new ideas to be tested for success in your market.
Learn From Others
Allstate’s mayhem campaign has been a huge success—one of the company’s great highlights. Nevertheless, their idea was based off of similar campaigns that their industry competitors also executed. Geico has their gecko, Progressive has Flo, Allstate has Mayhem, and State Farm has Cliff Paul (and many other famous NBA star alter egos). Do you see the trend?
Insurance companies have used a colorful spokesperson to spice up their marketing campaigns and create more excitement for their audiences. This worked for the insurance world, but your approach might be different. You might learn from others within your industry by analyzing their logo design, site layout, and voice/ tone of copy.
Listening and adapting to common trends will benefit your content strategy and keep your business up-to-speed with your competitors. Esurance’s contest campaign was very unique, but their launch time was very similar to what Newcastle Brown Ale did during their “If We Made it” campaign.
Don’t be afraid to hop on the band wagon!
Create Disruptive Content
If you’ve seen the movie The Big Short you’ll know exactly where I’m going with this. Director Adam McKay said, “I’m just a big believer in you do what you need to do to tell the story.” He did exactly that. Actress Margot Robbie lies in a bathtub explaining complex mortgage bonds and Selena Gomez talks about phantom blackjack hands to create an analogy for synthetic CDO’s. I’m not saying everything you do needs to be provocative or sex related, but it’s the principle I’m highlighting here. Understanding what the people want and pay attention to is the simplest way to make a dull industry exciting. You may enjoy reading about mortgage bonds and CDO’s on Investopedia, but let’s be honest, the majority of people you try to engage will not be geared that way. All in all, your ability to disrupt the norm will determine whether or not someone clicks on your content or lets it disappear in their feed.
(Note: Try not to disrupt your audience too much though! Nationwide can vouch for that.)
To find ways that may disrupt the norm in your industry, you can think along the lines of outbrain advertising. Everyone needs health insurance, but did you know you can get coverage for alien abduction?
I would suggest not exhausting yourself by questioning every piece of content you produce. Consistency and variety are all a part of the ingredients. True value and development takes time, but that’s the beauty of being a marketer—there’s always room for improvement. Turning your boring industry into a hip and relatable topic demands out-of-the-box thinking. And with enough effort and brain power, you’ll be able to harness creativity in a way that generates a more profitable return for your business or project.