…constant self promotion is annoying.
I have a friend that I have known for years. For the sake of this article, let’s call her Naomi. She’s funny and entertaining and I am always glad to hear from her BUT…boy is she great at making herself the star of every situation! We could be talking about Jill’s spectacular garden, Mick’s blind date or my kids and somehow Naomi always manages to make herself the center of the story even though she has black thumbs, is happily married and has no kids.
On the other hand, when Naomi is regaling the group with her own tales, she is hilarious. She can carry a conversation easily and times her punchlines better than Mike Tyson. It’s just her that her constant self promotion is annoying.
A lot of content marketing reminds me of Naomi. Of course, there are times when the company, its products and service should be center stage; articles that focus on the product or the service and give practical information of usage, availability, benefits or what not. But it is as important to establish your company and company representatives as knowledgeable and experienced within the industry as it is to flog your products — maybe more so, depending on your primary tactics like building your “thought leader” reputation.
Be the Go-to-Guy not the Pushy Salesman
As easy as it is to say don’t turn every article into an advertorial, it is sometimes hard to find the right balance. If you are tasked to prepare content for your company’s products then the inclination is to use the product range as the starting point for your articles and content preparation. Don’t do that. Don’t focus inwards because the result is going to be the one-sided and boring. Instead look to your customer, your industry or the general news for your starting point. Here are some ways to do that:
Industry or Trade News and Websites
Depending on what industry you are in there will be trade related newsletters or websites. You may have the key ones already bookmarked. Scan through them and look for items that you might write about which would be relevant to your company and helpful to your customer.
Take solar energy as an example. Here is a screenshot of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency which shows the most recent energy incentives on offer per state.
At a glance you can see that Florida offers a state utility rebate program at a flat rate of $450 towards the installation of a new solar water heating system however systems must be certified by Florida Solar Energy Center and installed by a licensed Florida contractor in order to qualify.
“…it is as important to establish your company and company representatives as knowledgeable and experienced within the industry as it is to flog your products.”
Do you think if you were a licensed energy contractor in Florida that this might make the basis for a good article even though it does not directly discuss your products – hell, yeah!
Customer Questions and Yahoo Answers
You may find that the same questions come up repeatedly from your own prospective customers. If so, these questions should be addressed in your content and in your FAQ but each question can also possibly be the topic of an article.
Another source of inspiration is Yahoo Answers. People are asking questions on all sorts of topics on there. Just typing your industry into the Discover section will throw up some ideas:
That search brought up the following question:
Will Changing Windows Truly Help Control Home Temperature?
I’m starting with the basics. I want to eventually go solar, but I need to cut my power consumption until that is more feasible. I believe changing all of the windows (and other leaks) in my home will be most beneficial, and I am remodeling.
Okay, so would that premise make a good topic for an article if you were in the HVAC, energy or solar energy industries? Yes, yes it would.
Google Alerts is a great time saver for keeping up with industry news, your competitors and mentions of your company in the online press. If you haven’t already done so, then here is a how to set up a few
Make a separate alert for each relevant term you wish to receive alerts on, e.g., solar energy, renewable energy. You can do the same for your company name, competitor’s company name and so on and you can choose to receive alerts daily, weekly or as they happen. A quick glance at the snippets of news that Google Alerts helpfully delivers to your inbox every morning is a sure way to drum up outward focused content ideas.
Now, not to be pushy or anything but if you are having some difficulty coming up with a content strategy please take a moment to review our Content Marketing Services.