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How to Create Compelling Content (With Riveting Examples from Boring Industries)

Compelling content sells. That’s great for those marketing for the so-called sexy industries like food, travel and leisure, and skydiving.

For insurance brokerages, accounting firms, and plumbing repair services, getting people excited about your brand isn’t as simple. Yet, with creativity and some thinking outside-of-the-box, you can make any industry interesting, engaging, and worthy of being shared on your audience’s social media sites.

What will make your visitors share your content?

In a survey of random internet users, when asked what drives them to share, the number one response is to entertain. There’s your answer – produce content that is entertaining. While 44% of survey participants listed entertainment, another 25% share to educate their social media friends and followers. 20% share content to express their identity. And, another 10% want to show support for a cause.

With the unstoppable power of inbound marketing today, you have to be able to come up with riveting content in order to get people interested in your blog and talking about your brand. Otherwise, there’s no way you’ll stand out from the competition.

Content marketing at its best will draw you in without you even realizing what hit you. Nowhere is the power of good content more apparent than in the unsexiest of industries – finance. It’s not overly challenging to make fashion brands or vacation destinations appealing. But tax accounting? Now that takes skill.

So if you want to build up awareness of your brand through your website and get people interested, talking, and buying, you’ll need to put on a good show. How?

Have an Exciting Storyline

How do you feel about the industry you are marketing for? If you believe it’s lackluster, then that is going to come through with your marketing, leading to dry-as-a-bone campaigns that no one wants to pay attention to. The first step to creating content that others will love is to shift your own perceptions.

You have to know why and how your ‘dull’ industry is important if you are going to convince others that it is worth their time.

Here’s a set of questions to ask yourself to get those inspiring juices flowing.

  • If your product or service was a hero – what would be its heroic tale? For example, a plumbing company saves homes from water damage – and customers from serious financial destruction. Home insurance swallows risk for breakfast, so customers can live with peace of mind.
  • What would life be like without your brand’s product? Where in the world would we all be if locksmiths didn’t exist? One word: out-in-the-cold. No waste management services? Swimming in germ-infested, putrid garbage. Yuck.
  • How has your brand evolved in order to become the hero? This is where you look at what sets your brand apart from others in the industry. It is the ability to change, transform, and become something more – the personal brand transformation. For example, a financial firm may have started to fill a gap in the local market, but has evolved in response to both company vision and client expectations to trail blaze with sustainable investment methods.

Think Local and Relevant

Marketing expert Joe Friedlein shared a great tip in a recent podcast on creating content that will go viral. When marketing for an air conditioning rental company, an industry dominated by spec sheets and who-cares comparisons, he suggested looking for a creative geographic angle in order to engage potential leads and to make the outreach process easier.

His team researched temperature control in the workplace throughout the UK, and came up with a really fun campaign – the ‘thermostat wars’. They used their findings to get people interested in the office air conditioning rentals by demonstrating that thermostat control is a constant source of warfare in the workplace. It was humorous, engaging, and a relatable way to present a traditionally boring subject – who hasn’t gotten into an argument at least once in their life about turning up/down the thermostat?

Use Entertainment to Entertain

Want to be entertaining? Then play around with popular culture in your next marketing campaign. This does take some degree of sophistication. You don’t want to just throw in a few celebrity names or hitchhike with this summer’s blockbuster to generate leads. The trick is to identify what your target audience is interested in and where popular culture intersects with your brand.

Arby’s genius @Pharrell tweet is one of the best examples of masterful use of pop culture in marketing. It’s brilliantly playful. It also doesn’t feel forced. That means to use this tactic, you have to be able to recognize opportunities when they arise and use them quickly. Perfect for your social media marketing.

Give Your Audience a Way to Interact

It doesn’t matter how ‘boring’ your industry is. If you have a cool app that will help people to track something relatable to your market, an interactive video, or a game or contest, then you’ll get the attention that you want. Of course, that attention will be short-lived if your interactive media doesn’t strike a balance between entertaining and being truly useful for your audience.

A small, Texas-based oil and gas drilling company, Payson Petroleum, found a creative way to establish themselves as an industry leader to potential independent oil investors. They developed a branded app that doesn’t just bridge potential investors with their brand, but with the entire industry, providing market updates, investment calculations and expert commodity predictions.

The app, which is regularly updated and comes with a professional look along with its wealth of insights, adheres well to the company’s ethos – setting themselves apart by prioritizing ‘transparency, honesty, and integrity’. Their stated focus is in building relationships with their clients. Unlike countless other brands that make this claim, Payson Petroleum has delivered on their promise with an app. Nice touch for a traditionally unremarkable industry.

Think Outside Your Industry

And finally, get out of your brand’s box. Just because you are marketing for a laundry detergent, doesn’t mean you just have to talk about laundry. Spread your net over the entire home lifestyle industry, covering topics ranging from interior decorating to fashion and always tying back to keeping your laundry, from throw pillows to evening wear, sparkling clean.

You can expand your topics, yet still be useful to your audience with any seemingly bland industry, such as wellness topics for life insurance, productivity and career advice for office supplies. Marketing with tributary topics also gives your brand a way to express more character through the visually appealing, educational, value-driven content on your blog.

Make it informative as well as fun to digest and imbue with plenty of personality to help your audience define their own, and you have the winning formula for creating engaging, totally share-worthy content, even if you are marketing for a sewage company.

When marketers can make car insurance and debt consolidation sparkle, they’ve proven themselves to be masters of their trade. Here are a few B2B content marketing examples from the finance industry that truly shine out.

Example 1: Progressive Insurance with the Perfect Brand Persona

Outdoing even Geico’s strangely adorable mascot, the Geico gecko, Progressive Insurance has created a masterfully appropriate strategy led by the company’s helpful and insurance-loving brand personality, Flo. They’ve projected an over-arching theme of friendly, flawless service. It starts with Flo, but it resonates through every piece of content.

  • An Instagram account filled with examples of corporate social responsibility.
  • A clean website design with minimal text, just plenty of clear CTAs and Flo with her trademark starched white uniform and cherry red lipstick smile.
  • An easy-to-use app for customers, with intuitive features and Flo’s smiling face
  • Video marketing featuring ever-perky Flo

There’s a clear message woven into the entire Progressive content strategy: Relax, Flo’s got you covered. She (and by extension Progressive) will get you perfectly tailored coverage because of a sincere passion for risk-reduction, nothing else. It’s pure, simple, and unobtrusive.

Example 2: Accredited Debt Relief with Seamless Social Proof

Accredited Debt Relief, a debt consolidation company, pulls all the stops with social proof and influencer marketing techniques to build confidence and trust with their content. They even offer a free calculator to spell out exactly what a customer’s experience will be when using Accredited’s services.

And, like Progressive, even the brand name hints at the experience a customer is supposed to have.

This content message addresses their target buyers’ pain points of anxiety and uncertainty: Not sure how to get out of debt? Don’t worry. Here are the industry awards, client testimonials, proven results, and even a Shark Tank TV star to tell you Accredited Debt Relief is your ticket out of debt.

Example 3: Discover Financial Services with Customer Focus

Discover’s content strategy is very people-forward. You won’t find UVPs and a run-down of the company’s philosophy with this financial company. Everywhere the customer runs into Discover, they are met with nothing but benefits for them.

  • A blog for ‘your financial well-being’
  • Free FICO credit score – even if you aren’t a customer
  • Free personal data security alerts
  • A brand Twitter account where users can have their customer service issues resolved
  • Even the brand’s credit card design puts the customer first with metallic pink, purple, gray, or blue credit cards – who wouldn’t want to carry one of those?

This buyer-centric content model positions Discover as a trustworthy brand that is setting the bar for giving customers more. That’s brilliant marketing for a credit card company. Why think about high interest rates when you’re getting so much love?

Example 4: Deloitte Accounting with Customer Delight

You wouldn’t necessarily think of a business tax and advisory firm as a leader in delivering customer delights. Deloitte’s marketing team are masters at customer relationship building. And they do it the hard way. Their strategy involves in-depth, informative content, not loyalty programs and discounts.

If you want to know how hard you could be working to convince your existing customers and qualified leads your brand is worthwhile, explore Deloitte’s content.

  • Real-time industry conversations
  • Webcasts by thought leaders
  • Subscription email newsletters – they have several to cater to varying customer interests
  • A free online accounting library
  • A free standalone website dedicated to covering accounting news
  • A useful blog fittingly coined Deloitte University Press
  • Active social feeds across all the company’s social media accounts, including a great example of  B2B LinkedIn marketing in action, as well as direct links to the company’s leaders’ Twitter accounts, a subtle tactic that fosters a sense of community with the brand while also establishing the management team as industry experts

Example 5: Ally Bank with Fun and Engagement

Ally Bank went the fun, make-the-customer-smile route with their content marketing. As a leading online bank, Ally caters to budget friendly banking for customers who are comfortable managing their finances without the traditional brick and mortar experience. They veered on the (relatively) untraditional side with their content.

Their website still follows the conventional professional bank format with service overviews, free financial calculators, rate comparisons, and plenty of CTAs, but Ally has thrown in quirky purple headlines, paired with images of similarly quirky people to add an edge of fun to the brand. By standing out, even slightly, Ally instantly becomes more interesting than its competitors, while still conveying a professional, dependable banking service.

The fun really begins when you branch out to Ally’s social media channels. Customers will find an Instagram page filled with images of employees having a great time joking around at work, metaphor-rich Facebook posts, and some of the funniest marketing videos of 2017.

Example 6: Morgan Stanley with Brand Community

You could spend an eternity in the world of Morgan Stanley. This financial firm has created an immersive brand community with its content marketing. Consumers won’t just find helpful articles on investing and saving. The Morgan Stanley website and social media platforms connect customers to videos, podcasts, and blog posts on the current global zeitgeist.

Technology, the environment, business, energy, healthcare, behavioral economics, global trends, and of course, wealth management – it’s all laid out for their audience, providing curated insights for people who want to know what’s going on in their world to better manage their money. Their whole strategy, from the Ideas podcast to the Twitter feed, screams thought leadership. Want to be in the know? Join the Morgan Stanley camp.

No Brand Has the Excuse to Be Boring!

These content marketing examples show what can be done with imagination, an understanding of the market, and wise usage of the tools in a content marketer’s toolbox. It doesn’t matter what the industry is, but rather how creative and relevant the marketing is. Even accounting can captivate with the right content.

Whoever said numbers were boring?

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Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of “Mean People Suck” and “The Content Formula” and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

How to Create Compelling Content (With Riveting Examples from Boring Industries)