How to Use Content Marketing For a “Boring” Industry

boring

You already know content marketing is effective, and you’ve seen thousands of businesses use it. It allows them to get thousands of visitors to their site and outrank you in the search engine listings.

So, why aren’t you leveraging it? It’s because you’re in a boring industry, right?

I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as a boring industry. There are just bad writers who aren’t creative.

So, instead of making excuses, let’s go over how you can use content marketing for any industry…even the so-called “boring” ones.

Lesson #1: Ugly industries have bigger opportunities

It’s not hard to leverage content marketing for topics like health, dating or politics. But it is much harder to do for topics like finance, dental or insurance. For this reason, you don’t see too many people in those spaces using content marketing as a core part of their strategy.

Yes, those spaces are competitive, but with content marketing, you’ll be able to compete. Best of all, it will be really affordable to compete due to the fact that creating content doesn’t have to be expensive.

So, no matter what space you are in, don’t worry because you’ll be able to come up with some strategies and ideas by the end of this post.

Lesson #2: Solve problems

Who is your ideal customer? You already know who it is. I bet you even know the problems your ideal customer is facing. And I am sure your knowledge of your customers’ problems goes beyond those that are simply related to your product or service and extends to any common problem they face in their personal or business lives.

For example, for KISSmetrics, our core customer is a VP of Marketing or a Director of Marketing at a software-as-a-service company. Our goal is to help them solve their analytics needs.

Although KISSmetrics only sells analytics solutions, we help solve all of our customers’ marketing problems. We do this through our KISSmetrics blog, where we write content on SEO, conversion optimization and even general marketing.

Topics like SEO don’t have to do much with our analytics software, but they help our ideal customers solve their problems. This helps us get more eyeballs. Eventually, a portion of those people will want to learn more about KISSmetrics and what we do.

If you solve your customers’ problems, you’ll experience the same results as we did at KISSmetrics: over 50% of our revenue comes from our content marketing efforts.

Lesson #3: Relevance is more important than traffic

I remember when linkbait first started to become popular… all of the marketers out there would write on any topic just to generate links.

For example, when I worked with a company called Life Insure, which sold life insurance, its previous marketers would write on general topics like computer hardware or general business advice. They didn’t pick these topics because they felt they were relevant. They just picked them in hopes that it would boost their backlinks.

Although they were successful with this tactic, it wasn’t effective, and Life Insure saw little to no improvement in revenue. So when they hired me six or seven years ago, I brainstormed content marketing ideas that were relevant to life insurance.

As you probably can guess, I couldn’t come up with a creative content piece about insurance, but I quickly realized that people bought insurance because of their fear of death. This led me to come up with a content piece titled “19 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Death”.

The article was a big hit because it had interesting facts like:

After being decapitated, the average person remains conscious for an additional 15-20 seconds. Talk about a way to go.

It generated hundreds of inbound links that were relevant, and, most importantly, it helped Life Insure move from the 5th spot on Google for the keyword “life insurance” to the 3rd spot. This helped the business generate more revenue.

You can do this in any industry too. For a drug rehab company named Passages Malibu, I created substance abuse chart. In it, I listed all of the common drugs that people abuse, the symptoms that each drug causes and even included a picture of what each drug looks like. This chart was so effective that it generated over 70 links and helped Passages Malibu rank for the keyword “drug rehab” on page 1 of Google at that time.

When creating content for your own site, don’t take the easy route by writing on anything that will go viral. Write content that is related to your business that helps your ideal customer.

Lesson #4: People love data and advanced content

Content marketing isn’t just about making people laugh or showing cute pictures of cats. It’s about creating content that is educational and useful.

Some of the most successful pieces of content you can create are:

  • Infographics – showing data rich stats in a visual format that is easy to understand will usually generate thousands of visitors and hundreds of links over time. At KISSmetrics, we generated 2,512,596 visitors, 41,142 backlinks from 3,741 unique domains, 41,359 tweets and 20,859 likes from 47 infographics. If you want to learn how to create a viral infographic, follow these instructions.
  • Data – people love data, even if it isn’t in a visual form. Just look at OK Cupid’s blog post on intercourse. They were able to generate 26,000 Facebook likes and 4,285 tweets from that one blog post. If you are able to collect useful data and share it with others, you shouldn’t have a hard time gaining any traction.
  • Blog posts – they may not seem sexy to most people, but people enjoy reading blogs. If they didn’t, Tumblr wouldn’t have sold to Yahoo for over a billion dollars. The key to writing blog posts that generate traffic in the long haul is to create evergreen content. “Lists” type of posts and “How To” guides are good examples of this. Those types of content pieces are typically still valuable to read even if they are five years old versus news-related content that is only hot for a week. If you want to copy my approach to blogging, just follow my steps here.

Lesson #5: Don’t forget to guest post

Content marketing isn’t just about publishing content on your site. It also involves leveraging all of the blogs in your space.

Twenty percent of your time, you should be focused on getting your content published on other blogs. This guide will teach you how you can get guest posts published.

And if you are wondering how to spend the rest of your time… 40% of it should be spent on creating content for your own site, and 40% should be spent marketing the content on your site and your guest posts.

When guest posting, keep these 3 things in mind:

  1. Only guest post on relevant sites – this will help drive relevant backlinks and relevant traffic back to your site. Those visitors are also likely to turn into customers.
  2. Don’t use rich anchor text – only link back to your site when it makes sense and don’t stuff the link with rich anchor text. When in doubt, put yourself in the readers’ shoes. If you think the link to your site will benefit them, then add it.
  3. Link to your internal pages – most people use guest posts to boost the link popularity of their homepages. If you analyze popular content sites like Wikipedia, you’ll notice that they all have one thing in common… the majority of their links point to internal pages. For Wikipedia, only 6% of their links point to their homepage. If you want to increase your authority, link to internal pages as this will help increase your long tail traffic.

Lesson #6: Tools will help you generate ideas

Last but not least, you are going to have to come up with some content marketing ideas for your business. But don’t worry, I am going to teach you how you can easily find ideas for any industry.

The easiest way to come up with ideas is to leverage a few tools and sites:

  • Title generator – Portent has a neat little tool that will generate blog post titles for you. Just put in keywords related to your industry in this tool, and it will spit out potential titles you can use.
  • Twitter search – the easiest way to see what people are talking about in your space is to go on Twitter. It’s in real time, and there are millions of users that talk about all sorts of topics. Go to Twitter’s search page and type in keywords related to your space. If you start seeing people tweet about the same thing, you can write on a topic related to it. This will increase the likelihood that your content will be tweeted.
  • Quora questions – there is a good chance that your customers are using Quora to learn. Search Quora using keywords related to your space to see what your target market is trying to learn. If you see any good questions that can be turned into a blog post, feel free to create a blog post. You can even link to it from Quora, which should help drive you traffic. ;-)
  • Blog search – from Google Blog Search to Technorati, you’ll be able to find all of the popular blogs in your space. Dig through their sites to learn which content pieces are getting the most engagement such as social shares and comments. This should give you an idea of what people want to read in your space.

Now that you know how to come up with content topics, you are ready to use content marketing.

Conclusion

There isn’t such a thing as a “boring” industry, so you should be able to use content marketing for any business. It’s not a hard thing to do. You just have to be willing to invest the time and energy.

And when you start leveraging it, make sure you give yourself at least six months of creating high quality content before you judge your efforts. You won’t see results right away, but within six months you should see enough results to continue moving forward.

Lastly, writing good content isn’t enough. If you don’t market it correctly, you won’t see great results. So, spend 40% of your time marketing your content.

What do you think about using content marketing for “boring” industries? Do you think it will work?

P.S. If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas for your business, leave a comment with your industry, and I will do my best to come up with an idea or two for you.

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Comments

  1. “When creating content for your own site, don’t take the easy route by writing on anything that will go viral. Write content that is related to your business that helps your ideal customer.”

    So true. The goal is to really help those people looking for a solution. I am a firm believer, as you are, in the power of infographics. You can grab people’s attention much easier and you can maximize their reach with all of the marketing platforms out their today. They might be expensive but then you have quality content for a FB post, Tweet, Pinterest post, Tumblr, blog, Instagram, etc. and it is engaging which is key!

    Also enjoyed your thoughts on coming up with different ideas to create your content around that will cater to your target customer.

    • Jason, you are right on the money with that assessment. I think that quote really defines this whole blog post. You really want to find content that personifies the brand and promotes conversions. Thanks for your feedback!

  2. Great post Neil and this is a common objection I do get when talking with business owners. I know you have ad great success with infographs and plan to implement them for my business and my clients as well.

    I’ll throw out an industry, as I have a few ideas, but would love your thoughts…

    Construction – Heavy equipment (sales, rental, repairs)

  3. Online Marketer :

    Hey Neil,

    thanks again for a great piece of advise. Do you have any unconventional ideas for potential content marketing topics in the field of job search / recruiting (both job seekers as well as companies)? Would love to hear from you, thanks a lot in advance!

  4. I have a client who runs a double glazing company. If you can please give me a couple of ideas for that.

    Thanks Neil.

    • You can do a blog post on 10 simple ways to reduce you electricity bill. You can include stats like how windows help, or lowering your shades, or using solar panels… etc.

  5. Great article, thanks!
    Funny that you mention kiss metrics because it seems that every time I search for something SEO-related I seem to run into a helpful article from you guys :)

  6. I’m doing blog posts for a fasteners nuts and bolts company. Any post ideas thst add value

  7. Hey neil!

    nice hints, but i’m gonna challenge you with even harder industries :)

    – extruded plastic shapes
    – plastic boxes for electronics
    – bags sealing machines

  8. Hey Neil,

    really great post!

    Would love to hear your ideas for the industry “translation” (target B2B)

    I only come up with B2C ideas.

    Best regards

  9. Neil,

    You mentioned that this article: http://www.lifeinsure.com/the-19-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-death/ was a huge hit and got hundreds of links.. I’m not seeing any links in OSE, or even any shares on the page itself. Can you explain?

    I find that Content Marketing, especially for boring industries, is something that people try to do a lot, but fail because they think they can just release some sub-par blog articles, and 1 infographic.

    I think boring niches can be challenging, but the most challenging are boring niches that are also technical. Take for instance http://www.mactechonsite.com which does Oil Rig Decommissioning and On-site Machining Repairs for the oil industry. They can’t just go make a “how do oil rigs work” type of content, because they’re target market includes engineers and people who know the industry very well. They also have a hard time doing it in-house because the people who know the content don’t have time to write it. And for outsourcing, the topics are often too technical.

    What’s your advice here?

    • They changed around the URL. You won’t see links and social shares as they messed it up. It got popular because it hit the Digg homepage back in the day.

      You can write on content like “how do oil rigs work” because a lot of normal people are interested in the content and will link to it. That will cause your overall rankings for “oil rig” related terms to go up, which will cause the right audience to find you.

  10. Neil,

    One additional tactic when dealing with boring verticals (I deal with lawyers and even a company that makes laboratory testing vials!) is to move a few layers away from the explicit need of the target audience.

    For example, a lawyer offering bankruptcy services might exhaust topics quickly if he/she blogs about bankruptcy and chapter 7 FAQ’s. However, by understanding the target audience is a local father in his 40’s with 2 kids, this lawyer could draw a circle of interests, with bankruptcy being in the center” bankruptcy > saving money > local family activities on a budget > family stuff

    This would be better visual, but hopefully this makes sense. Many brands beat their audiences to death with promotional, boring content. But by looking at the deeper avatar, countless content opportunities reveal themselves.

    Great article.

    Aaron

    • Aaron, thanks for sharing this. These are great tips for anyone working in an interesting vertical or very niche market. I think the idea about drawing a circle of interests is very useful. If you can’t find something industry specific you can definitely find things that are very similar. Looking forward to hearing more from you :)

  11. I was wondering if you could help me out with the plumbing industry, heating and air conditioning, and cabinet and flooring remodels. It can be hard to find new stuff all day every day!!

  12. Neil,

    Love your insight. You continue to push me – keep up the good work!

    My market is credit repair.

    Let me know what ideas you have.

    Thanks, Matt Sullivan

    • I would do factual and data rich posts on “how to repair your credit score”. You can talk about the three different credit agencies and give stats on the simple ways to boost your score.

  13. So many sceptical people here… and for good reason. I especially loved the examples from andrea “gareth jax” scarpetta and Corey. It’s not so easy after all. Not at all :)

  14. Hey Neil, Really great post
    Can you write a blog post on profitable niches in blogging for starters?

  15. Hey Neil,

    Another awesome post. :)

    I was really motivated by the good results KISSMetrics generated from those great infographics. So, I decided to leverage an infographic to get some serious links and social shares.

    In the end, I ended up creating a huge content piece spanning over 10,000 words containing tons of actionable tips and advice. I created an infographic version of that and placed the infographic within the same article.

    I did get a few quality links (including one from Search Engine Land) and a couple hundred social shares, but that’s pretty much all. It got like 2K unique visitors so far (it’s been 6 days since I published it here: http://techtage.com/2013/11/how-to-increase-domain-authority/).

    I leveraged, both personalized and non-personalized (large scale) email outreach, and social outreach. I’m not particularly very happy with the results, considering how useful I think it actually is. What do you think? Where did I lack when it came to promoting it?

    • You did a good job overall. I watched what you did… you just have to be patient. Your blog is still new and you can’t expect big things yet… give it some time.

      You also need to guest post more as this will help boost your overall traffic.

  16. Excellent article. Thank you. Do you happen to have any ideas about e-learning industry that will increase the revenues of Cultus?
    All the best.

    • For the e-learning industry I would give stats through an infographic that compares that space with the offline learning space. From dollars spent, to output, to number of students, etc.

  17. David Leonhardt :

    Greta article Neil. So what I got out of this article is that when you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off, refer back to Neil’s article about death…and realize that you are actually running around like a human with your head cut off.

    Actually I work with a company that bends metal. It is purely industrial and technical – not very interesting to most people, not even 1% “viral”. But I write about the end products, the beautiful curved structures that result from the metal bending (sort of like focusing on benefits rather than on features in sales copy). That gives us at least something interesting to post.

    • David, haha that’s an interesting way to put it :)

      I think that is a sound strategy for your metal bending branding. It’s all about capturing a topic that resonates within your community. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Great useful information as usual. How could one leverage content marketing for window washing?

    • I would write resourceful information on how to keep your windows clean without having to constantly wash them. Especially for exterior windows, people want to know if there are tricks to keep windows cleaner for longer.

  19. Hello,
    Neil, Nice post again it is so touchy for those people who just relay on Google or any one network to made some growth of them business, but as you mention in your post content marketing lesson that is all amazing, but one thing i must say in comment your are “Awesome”Thank you for sharing,
    Bye

  20. Hi Neil, I am actually looking into specializing on Digital Marketing training, specially for marketers and communications professionals
    who may not be already familiar with Digital Marketing…So any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks, ana

    • I would just write a lot of content on different digital marketing concepts. From content marketing to social media marketing, break down specific tactics and teach people how they can leverage them.

  21. Filip Nikitovic :

    Hello Neil

    Nice article but Im still having trouble finding content for

    Airport taxi

    I would like to hear Your ideas? :)

    • Would love to see an infographic on “The life of a taxi cab driver”. I think that could be hot. From what they do, how much they make, how to get in the profession… etc.

  22. Here’s one for you Neil!

    Property finding and moving/relocation service.

    Thanks in advance!

  23. We sell leadership development assessments to executive coaches and large companies. They use our stuff as part of their leadership development programs and HR departments make the buying decision…

    We’ve been blogging for years and we see very little by way of results from our efforts. Would love to hear some ideas.

    Thanks!

    • I would guest post on other sites giving people advice… specifically executives. Break down 1 tactic at a time that you teach executives and use it in a guest post. This should drive you traffic and leads.

  24. Neil,

    Awesome article, as always! Would love to hear ideas for a company that currently measures websites adblocking rates. We typically write a lot about the advertising industry, but would love other, potentially more effective ideas.

    Thanks!

  25. We face this issue all the time. Would you have an idea or two for an appliance/furniture store’s blog?

  26. Hi Rahat,
    how about…
    ’10 ways to save energy in your home’,
    ‘how these 5 animals survive on the south pole’ ( pinguins, polar bear, seal, polar fox, google…)
    infographic: countries and their energy savings per capita.
    post: 7 facts about the sun
    15 ways to save money while shopping…

    Good writing!

  27. I’m not Neil, But

    Celebs as part of their PR, do home walk through for mags – you could see if you sell the same kind of thing and do posts on how to get that look for less by shopping with us (even packaging up sets of furniture, so you make bigger sales!).

  28. Hi Matt,

    – kitchen appliances XXL: show the industry size version of kitchen appliances with specs like for instance a bread baking machine,
    – examples of furniture that was popular in the middle ages maybe?
    – 6 beautiful doll houses (pics)

  29. This is an excellent and very practical article. It really is true that by being creative, even a dry subject can be made interesting (like your death post). It is also true that quality of traffic has more to do with profitability than quantity of traffic. I really needed to get my debt paid off so I could focus on other things. Although people told me it was “impossible,” last year I managed to make $250K in six months at a time my site was getting only 1500 visitors per month. That’s because I focused on quality of relationships rather than quantity. Now that my debt is paid off, I can again turn my focus to reaching more people instead of focusing so much on money. I have found universally that where there is a will there is a way. I also find that writing content I truly believe in, even if it’s a bit ahead of its time and not yet super “popular” – feels much better to me and more satisfying than trying to write what we think people want to hear. Cheers and thank you :)

    • Erika, glad you found the post helpful. I agree with your points. It’s all about creating connections. Numbers do not matter unless you are reaching an audience where your message resonates. Conversions are king. Thanks for your feedback :)

  30. Exactly what I wanted to ask as well – I too see a lot of marketers creating generic content using ideas from keyword research tools but without understanding the technicalities of the product. All that does is add to the content marketing deluge, or even damage the brand with sub-par content.

  31. Fabulous Neil. I love this. The best part of the article was your life insurance example. My head is spinning since I’m in one “boring” niche. However, this post applies equally to popular and fun niches … instead of publishing on the same topics as everybody else, go for something interesting. Again, this is really an outstanding article. Thanks.

  32. Love reading these for ideas! First thing popped into my head is what to do when you Strip a bolt or nut.

    Done it a ton of times and video or infographic would be great. Just a thought :)

  33. Great job getting inside my brain about the one thing that has annoyed me. It is actually a question I answered myself recently as my topic is not boring but I need to keep finding new material to write about. Studies are gold for making content!

    • Thomas, glad you found the article helpful. I really was trying to get into the psyche of every marketer out there while writing this post. Please let me know if you need help with anything in particular :)

  34. I always have trouble coming up with my boring real estate blog. I love that you called me out on not writing enough.

    I would love your idea for real estate. You will see it as a post within 24 hours so get creative and I will reply with the link on here.

    I’m about to hire my assistant to start doing market report/stats posts on a monthly basis as I know my readers will love it.

    • I would love to see a post on real estate steals. Like maybe a list of really good deals buyers got in the history of the US. Maybe a list of the top 100 and show the return the buyers made when they flipped it or how they bought things for under market value.

  35. Inspiring post, Neil! Hadn’t heard of Portent’s title maker. Looks awesome- thanks.

  36. Hi Neil

    Great post as always..hard to keep inspired sometimes. We have been writing content for just over two months and are starting to get a small bit of traction.

    Its encouraging to see that we should start seeing results within 6 months – we’re nearly there and have so far published over 71 pieces of content. To date have been generating content for on-site purposes but from this week will try for one guest post per week to measure its effect.

    Thanks Neil

  37. Great article Neil. Im struggling with great content for a California law firm that defends business against employee lawsuits.

    Struggling with coming up with good content and would love to hear some feedback on topic ideas.

    • Posts like 10 Simply Ways to Protect Yourself From Employee Lawsuits can be effective. Just make sure you guest post them on business blogs as that will provide a bigger ROI for you.

  38. Awesome article, Neil! I am in the fitness industry so I have a lot of options to make my content jump out. This was very informative, and I liked some of the tools that you listed for us to use. Thanks!

  39. I am new to the online marketing world and I found this article very helpful. I will be definitely adding this to my bookmarks and trying to implement some if not all of the strategies that were talking about. I love the Content Idea Generator what an amazing tool!

  40. “There isn’t such a thing as a “boring” industry, so you should be able to use content marketing for any business.”

    A lot of people seem to automatically assume they’re in a boring niche because they can’t think of an appealing topic in 5 seconds. The forum has been getting several people asking about this. Good to know we have a great resource to point them to now. :)

  41. I’m in a moving company, we relocate people locally and globally. People only come to us when they have a need, and that solution needs to be tailored to each individual.
    Do you have any suggestions?

    • I would write a blog post about relocation budget and how to figure out how much a relocation will cost you. This is something most people don’t know when relocating.

  42. Another great post from your university..yes soo true ” there is no such thing as a boring industry. There are just bad writers who aren’t creative.”

    We are into software course training ,which can help freshers/professional to improve knowledge and land in that particular technology jobs.Can you give one or two content ideas

    Thanks.

    • Pick an area that you help people improve on, such as teaching them a new coding language and do a post on it. Such as “The beginner’s guide to ruby on rails development”.

  43. Great Nail.

    I was working 3 years before with a very boring website and handled these type of huddles.

    Here you have explained well that how to handle the content marketing even boring industry.

    Good.

  44. Great post, Neil!

    I like the examples you use to show that (with a bit of creative thinking) you can come up with an attractive topic that still drives relevant readers without resorting to link-bait tactics that aren’t relevant to your potential audience…great stuff.

  45. Another inspiring and amazing article.

    I am shocked how you can generate these quality articles so frequently when involved in several big companies like kissmetrics and crazy egg etc.

    Leo

  46. Hey Neil,

    Why you think Finance and Insurance sector as boring? And these are the sectors where webmasters are spending lots of money for content marketing.

    2nly, I don’t agree with your advice to spend 40% time on content creation, and 60% time on Guest Blogging + Marketing. It should be other way around.

    Marketing is important, but you should concentrate more on your core things, or products. In this case it is Content. Why not spend 60% of time creating great product? I mean Content?

    • I am saying they are not boring, while many people think they are. :)

      As for percentages, that is what I found to work. For the overall 100% this is just in respect to the time you spend on content marketing. Most importantly a business needs a good product or service as content marketing can’t help fix that.

  47. Thanks Neil,your article really helpful for me.
    in my words:-
    Content marketing is a popular method makes use to tell their stories and position themselves as thought leaders.

  48. Hey Neil,

    Big fan, Amazing post! This is exactly what I’ve been struggling for a while. I’ve been looking to start a blog for my company but the whole thought of being in a ‘boring’ industry has been deterring me from doing so.
    We manufacture scaffolding products which are used for constructing buildings. I’m not sure where to start. But your idea to write something related to my industry (like about death in life insurance industry) might work.
    any suggestions?

  49. And Neil, you know what your target audience look for. The perfect post for me!

  50. Very nice post. Before I read this post I have had problems to promote businesses from steel industry, but I think you are completely right that there “probably” isn’t any boring industry out there if we look on it like you just did. :)

    I don’t know how you do it, but I love how you create these amazing posts.

    Thanks

  51. Hello Neil
    I want to know is there any post in which you have mentioned about content marketing for Property Marketing

  52. I want to know How to market car washing industry by the way from this article i know little glance

  53. I always find it hard to write something unique and interesting and these tips are like a Goldmine for someone like me. Thanks for sharing.

  54. Such great information! I am really interested in SEO and online business, so this article is helpful for my job. I intend to do a business with guest posts but do not know how to do that. After reading this article, I think I have ideas. Thanks for nice post!

  55. Here are a few suggestions:
    1)Tension free ways to relocate
    2) Infographic on relocation process
    3)Ten things to do for trouble free shifting of residence

  56. Hi Rachel,

    Not sure what ideas you created already, but with regards to cabinet, what about an article about the different hardware on cabinets, and how to match it with colours and styles (e.g. polished chrome handles look good with dark wood).

  57. Hey Neil,

    Another great post, but I had a question. How can you recycle your content after it is out there for over a year without using techniques like spinning?

    It can be hard to create new ideas to write about, so what kind of tips can you offer to recycle old content or even re-promote old content?

  58. I had a professor for Systems and Operations in Business School. She used the plastics industry as a case study in a discussion about the issues that come up to make the manufacturing process more efficient. It was fascinating. She told us about the little plastic balls that they melt in this big tank and how much work it is to change colors. That was years ago. I still remember her example. Why? Because she was so very interested in the topic herself.

    Neil is right. There are no boring topics, only boring writers and speakers! My students have a lot of fun in my programming classes because I think it’s grand fun.

  59. Hi Neil,

    I have worked with many companies that have issues creating solid content. Because of this, I made this social media planner tool. It allows you to put in the keywords you want to rank for and then it generates content ideas for you. I really think your readers will like it. I hope you dont mind me leaving the link here. But its so on theme with this post. http://ignitevisibility.com/social-media-planner/

    Thanks,

    John Lincoln

  60. Bart,

    Thanks for the ideas. I really like the “furniture from the middle ages.”

  61. Infographic bell going off on that idea Neil! :)

  62. Neil… this is a fantastic write up. I admire your dedication toward replying to each comment.

    How would you go about writing content for finance… or more specifically, finance solutions in the commercial, professional and public sectors?

    J

  63. Neil,
    Loved the ideas! I recently started running a online student counseling service in India to help students trying to study abroad. I have small newsletter audience and want to grow the number of subscribers.
    I have mostly written on applications and degree programs so far…what can be something more interesting and relevant?

    • I would actually create a post that is written by 10 different students that share their life when studying aboard. That way you can see the day in the life of a student studying aboard to get a better understanding of what it is like.

  64. Nice article Neil. I think many agencies have a problem in the creative process when defining a content strategy for certain clients in these “ugly” industries.

    I believe it really comes back to understanding the business, the industry, and the user. Too often user research is dismissed that people jump right to the “how to” or “newsjacking” or “list creation” without really first thinking about what the target audience is interested in and what will influence their behavior.

    However I would take it a step further. Create an editorial schedule rather than a disjointed list of one-off article topics. What is the brand’s message? How can you LEAD them from one article to the next while building credibility and trust in the brand?

    I believe content marketing is as much about correctly identifying and planning the strategy as it is about what topic you can write about and how many Tweets or Likes or Shares you can get. We as marketers always look at any KPI that can show proof that something is working but social engagement is only one small slice.

    The bigger question is whether or not the strategy is translating to sales or some other monetization metric over time. It might not be the first article or the fifth. It could be the 20th article that finally builds up enough compounded trust to tip someone over to conversion and THAT is the metric that is the most valuable.

    • Byron, this is a terrific assessment of the industry as it stands right now! I believe if people took the time to ask themselves these questions their efforts would provide amazing results. I think long term success depends on continually working towards an end goal that is well outlined. It’s all about being patient — as you mentioned — as well!

  65. Great post, Neil! I am all for delivering rich, relevant data to readers but I’m wondering if there are any resources out there for making it easy and affordable for small business marketers to perform original research and produce fresh results?

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

    • Sarah, I started off doing all of my content marketing in house. It takes a little more time but it is well worth it and will save a ton of money. You should check out my guides for helpful advice on how to get started :) . Please let me know if you need any help along the way!

  66. Neil, great article. I have a relative with growing locksmith business in NYC. He’s very ambitious and wants to expand. I’m trying to think of ways to use content marketing (and other forms of online marketing) to help him increase revenue. The problem is that its a “boring” industry and he claims none of his potential clients would find him or search for him online.

    He’s ideal customer is not a residential one, but a property manager or a commercial business. For example, most of his clients are jewelry stores and fitness centers.

    What would you recommend to do for a locksmith shop like his?

  67. Yeah, Boring Topics should always have attractive pictures. Infographics are something that always make a post interesting. :)
    Well explained points Neil!

  68. Hey Neil

    Great write up, I agree that there’s no such thing as a “boring industry.” People need to spend some time researching blogs that may overlap with their niche and guest posts in popular and relevant blogs in those sectors.

    The trick is understanding which blog is the best one for your industry and how it overlaps– what sort of opportunities do you have? Is it going to be interesting or relevant? Is it targeting your potential customers?

    For instance if your business is in the health and fitness industry, but you choose a blog in personal finance its really not that hard to make a connection. You could write an article like “ How losing weight is helped me save $500 dollars a month” and then proceed to link how weight loss is similar to saving as its about small gains, consistency and clear goals ect.

    There are many opportunities across blog sectors you just have to get creative and produce quality work.

    Paul Back

    • Paul, I always enjoy reading your comments. These are great suggestions. People really need to lay out a set of questions before moving forward with any long term strategy. Thanks for the feedback I look forward to your continued feedback :)

  69. I totally agree with the fact that no industry is boring, it’s the content and marketing strategy that make it sound boring. I still remember, back in 2006 Google tried to buy orkut ‘coz of its strong network. Unfortunately orkut developers didn’t work hard to drive innovation. Consequently now they are no more in the social media alley. “Content specialization can do wonders with off-page industrial marketing”.

  70. I also run a dating blog where I find tough to rank for the most common keywords because there are some top legendary websites that let not come up any websites. Why does it happen when a top websites have nothing expect short info rank high in search results and the other side a blog post with complete detail still ranks on page 2 or 3 in search results. If content is everything than why it happens. Please answer sir.

  71. Hey Neil,

    These are definitely some great tips. I’ve tried Quora before and it is a little confusing to figure out. I may have to give it another shot.

    As for guest posting, still haven’t done that but I’ve heard so many great things about it. I just seem to keep dragging my feet on it.

    Thanks for these tips, it makes me look at everything a little bit different now.

    • Susan, you just have to jump straight into guest posting. It sounds difficult and tedious at first but once you get a good rhythm it will become second nature. Please let me know if you need any help :)

  72. Neil, great post as always.

    What do you think about involving politics into linkbait? Is it a great idea?

    Also, what is your favorite linkbait in marketing industry?

  73. Great articles Neil, the things you write about have been a great help to me.

    I’m having trouble coming up with content ideas for a car donation charity.

    I’m also not an expert in the field; so once I have a topic idea, how do I get an article together? Do I use research from other articles? Do you post links to articles you have referenced? I almost never see blog posts/infographics that include their works cited. What are the guidelines for this?

    • Talk about how companies are making money from car donation and the business model. Write about when to donate your car and when not to and the right thing to pick depending on your situation.

  74. Yeah, I do need to do more guest posts. I did my first post on Search Engine Journal yesterday: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-authorship-lethal-guest-bloggers/69733/

    And, I’ll keep your advice in mind. :)

  75. Oh man that article is MASSIVE.
    Good job.

  76. we are definitely in an industry that tends to be boring – outsourced contact centers and collections. Neither is a sexy proposition, but both are critical for the overall economic growth in the US. Our contact centers help our clients expand their reach, provide 7×24 customer service; reminder calls to make sure customers pay bills in a timely manner, etc without growing employees / staffing (automation, non-union labor force, etc). And Collections helps businesses nationwide recover $5.5B (billion!!) annually. That’s a lot of money that would otherwise flow out the back door. But it’s still not sexy to talk about either of these… ideas? infographic ideas.

  77. Thank you for this wonderful article ..I have benefited from you so much , thank you … and good luck

  78. What would you recommend for a locksmith business with commercial clients as its target customer?

  79. Thanks Neil that means a lot to me. I look forward to your next post ;)

  80. Thanks Neil..we will use some of the tools you mentioned for content ideas..

  81. Great Idea! Thanks!

    What process you use to come up with ideas like these?

  82. I’m working on developing ideas for our ERP implementation firm – basically we help people fix broken implementations or manage their efforts to success. Content marketing seems very relevant but would appreciate any ideas you might have.

  83. Great ideas! I use the Google blog search frequently and am able to generate strong topics for my clients, which then spawn other ideas.

    I like to include a statistic of some kind on each piece of content, as its easily shareable and great for creating tweets.

  84. Great topic and well written post, HOWEVER I tend to disagree with your approach for KISSMetrics, as your broad focus approach makes the content a bit generic in a way that might hold it back from really standing out among the zillions of other general marketing topics.

    I suppose you can point to the success of that blog/strategy to prove me wrong, but might it not have been even more successful if you had carved out a niche around analytics and provided fresh content on an area that KISSMetrics is best suited to provide new insights around? Wouldn’t that create a more targeted group of followers, that leads to more likely sales opportunities?

    Curious to get your take on this. As an analytics company ourselves this is a question we continually ask ourselves, and lean towards the more Niche approach every time….

  85. Awesome post as always. Will follow your tips. Thanks Neil!

  86. Excellent article as always… I have a challenging time usually as I have my industry about overhead doors and loading dock equippment… =)

    I agree with you, as it is unusual, we’re confident that we will have amazing results in the medium term if we keep blogging quality content.

    Of course any suggestions are welcome!

  87. Neil, You are awesome :)
    these are the best 6 lessons I’ve learned today :d
    thanks.

  88. Hi Neil,

    This article really resonates given that I work in B2B office supplies and more often sell products to people out of necessity rather than desirability.

    Do you have any content marketing suggestions/ideas in this area?

    Thanks!

    • I would do an infographic on office supply wastage. And how much companies waste each year in unused office supplies. Then within it you can break down how they could be more cautious when it comes to ordering new supplies.

  89. I love this post. It’s something that everyone who “gets” social networking understands, and everyone who doesn’t, well, doesn’t.

    We have been talking about this kind of content marketing over on our blog as well.

    Thanks so much Neil – Great Insights.

    – blog.peoplelinx.com/2013/11/social-networks-plumbing-society/

  90. Thanks again for a nice post. I really liked the portent.com/tools/title-maker site. Pretty useful.

  91. Hey Neil,
    Another GREAT article you have here! When creating content we absolutely have to solve readers problems and keep it relevant to them! Here is something else I do when creating my content that is relevant and solution oriented to the customer!

    I engage people without making them feel like they are being sold. Anytime we feel like we are being sold we go to what many call ‘the lizard brain.’ This makes people feel suspicious and in charge of watching for danger and confrontation. Instead we need to get people into the buying part of their brains. When we are in buying mode we are more likely to ask, for instance, “Does this come in my size?” and follow the salesperson eagerly. I call this part of my brain ‘my purring cat.’

    Thanks again for another great article!

    ‘TC’ Teresa Clark

    • TC, thanks for the kind words of support.

      I definitely think what you are talking about resonates with lots of people. Rather than tapping into other parts of the brain it is important to tap into their buying receptor, per se. It’s all about finding your users’ right in the middle.

  92. This is such a great post Neil! Your comments alone provide a wealth of examples of how to think when trying to generate content ideas.

    I’m trying to get a blog going for a network testing and troubleshooting SaaS. I’d love some input on how one should think when deciding who to target with the blog. For example, in our case, the typical buyer would be an IT manager working for a network operator. The users on the other hand would be the network engineers at the same company. Since the content these two types of people would be interested in is different, how do I decide which group to target with the blog?

    Thanks a lot!

    • If you product is less than $1000 a year you can go after the network engineer’s as there are probably more of them. With small dollar amounts, it is not hard for lower level employees to get purchases approved.

      If your product is more than $1000 a year I would go with the operators as it will be easier to close the sale if you are talking to a decision maker.

  93. Hi Neil,

    I’m in one of so called “Boring” industry – Financial Careers and Training.
    I provide online and classroom training programs to MBA, CA, CFA, and other students who want to make a career in finance.

    There are very few blogs in this industry from which I will get an idea for my posts.
    Can you mention some ideas for “actionable strategies” posts for my readers?

    Best,
    Avadhut

    • You actually can do simple blog posts that are detailed. For example if you are helping people become a CPA, you can do a blog post called “The Day in the Life of a CPA”. A lot of people don’t know what it is like to have a career in the financial space and showing it through pictures and words, would be great.

  94. Hi Niel,

    Thanks a lot for your free advice and huge generosity.

    I’m trying to sell an English Speaking Audio E-book online. It’s more directed at Asian English second language learners, teaching them techniques regarding how to speak like native speakers.

    Would love some advice :) Thanks!

    • I would do video and audio blog posts that give language tips. It is much easier to learn through hearing when it comes to another language.

      You can then spread the content through YouTube. This should work well for you.

  95. Hi Neil,

    I enjoy reading your articles so much. I have even become an ardent student of your marketing strategies and tactics here in Nigeria. Do you have any content ideas for a roofing company blog?

    • You can create fun blog posts like “which roofing tiles are the most flammable”. By showing videos and images, you can make posts like that fun.

      Or even “How to fix a leaky roof”.

  96. Hi Neil,

    Fantastic read. I am struggling to come up with ideas for an airline claim app?

    It is so hard to start their online brand from scratch!

    any tips?

    • For this space you would have to go a bit broad like anything airline related. From ways to find discounted tickets, to how to ensure the TSA doesn’t go through your luggage, to the easiest routes to get in and out of each airport… etc. By writing on topics that your ideal users have issues with, they will eventually want to learn about your app and signup.

  97. Yeah content writing for the boring industry very hard, I also faced that issues many times and failed to write. But after read these tips, i got new things that help to me next time. Thanks a lots for these helpful tips.

  98. I have a client who runs a blog on “preparation for death”
    She is a grief speaker & wants people/organizations to hire her for their event.

    I’m doing guest blogging for her on some of the popular self improvement blogs, one of my Guest Posts receive 6000+ likes on stumble upon alone but unfortunately I’m finding it hard to get any sale for her.

    What should I do and what type of content should I use for guest blogging as no body wants to hear about death even the bloggers?

    I’m sure I’m not too late to comment here and will surely receive advice ;)

    Thanks Neil.

    • You can do blog posts about living a positive life and fulfilling all of your dreams before you pass away. Talking about this should work well on those self improvement blogs.

  99. What a quick response! Thanks for replying Neil, I really appreciate :)

    I’m wondering how do you manage to reply to all of your readers! as you have tons of pages on this blog.

  100. Hi Neil!

    I have subscribed and have been receiving tons of great ideas from you for a while now. I got a new task from my boss recently and that is to take care of the social media strategy of the business. We are a start-up Business Process Outsourcing (Call Center), and I absolutely don’t have any idea how to market the business in social media and writing content for the blog as my past experience is definitely far from this field. I hope you can help me with exciting ideas and I look forward to reading great articles from you soon. More power to you this 2014!

  101. At least I’m not feeling bore after reading your cool tips on content marketing lol :)

  102. Hey Neil! Thanks for the great post – super helpful. I just started doing marketing for a hard-core B2B company in the document automation space. Their “audience” is CMOs for mutual fund companies that want to save time producing marketing materials for their sales people. I’m curious to hear what you think might be appropriate blog posts to capture this audience. Cheers!

  103. How do we write content for marketing of a coupon website. As coupon website have only coupons in them.

  104. Hi Neil,

    What do you reckon about the print industry?

    Cheers

  105. Hi Neil,

    First I want to thank you for all of the incredible content you create. It’s inspiring and motivating for me personally and something I’d like to emulate for my boring industry. After reading your guides on “Online Marketing” and “Content Marketing” I feel like I have a great grasp on the type of content I should be creating.

    But since you mentioned you would offer some advice, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Bookkeeping industry.

    Thanks!

  106. Great article Neil.

    Couple of quick questions for you if you don’t mind.

    What about creating content for a company that makes roller shutter doors?

    And what approach would you take to get your ‘awesome’ roller shutter door content in front of people once it had been created?

    This is the area I struggle to understand since most gurus talk about approaching influencers/bloggers to share the content. I just don’t see too many bloggers in these industries or am I wrong?

    • Rob, find awesome content that relates to shutter doors. You can make it very visual and provide how-to guides on installation. The more creative you get the easier it will be to get people engaged, thus increasing traffic overall.

  107. Thank you so much for this helpful article. I am in the insurance industry and specialize in retirement. What would you like to learn about retirement?

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