There’s no such thing as boring
One of the things I’ve discovered in two decades of journalism is that there’s no such thing as a boring subject or a boring business. I’ve written on some pretty dry topics over the years: industrial tribunal decisions, tax law, IT. What I’ve learned is that hidden inside just about any topic are some interesting stories. It’s a matter of doing enough work and enough research to find them. It’s also true of content marketing. A business or an industry might appear boring and producing content to engage potential customers can seem a daunting task. But there are a few things you can do.
Know your audience
First, know your audience. This is one of the key precepts of content marketing and can’t be repeated often enough. How can you produce content that will appeal to a group of people if you don’t know who they are, what they’re like and what their interests are? In some ways, the more narrow or specialised your audience, the easier it is to appeal to it. An accountant would be keen to hear about the technicalities of the latest rulings from the Australian Tax Office. Getting the general public interested would be more difficult, though of course, not impossible, as you’ll see below.
Know the subject
This is the crux of producing interesting content. The content producer has to immerse themselves in the subject in much the same way as a journalist. Give them all the information you can, spend some time explaining your business, and make yourself or expert staff available to answer their questions. If they know what they’re doing, the writer will be able spot interesting stories and angles to underpin engaging content.
Know how to present
Don’t forget there are different ways of presenting information. People love stories about other people. They bring information to life. Take the earlier example of the tax rulings. The story of the person who either lost their argument with the ATO and had to pay more tax or who won and got to pay less is going to grab the attention of the general public. A story on the technical aspects of tax rulings won’t. So look out for opportunities to present your information by telling stories. You could focus on a staff member or a customer, for instance. You can also develop case studies. Another approach (and one taken in this post) is to offer practical advice. Don’t just give people information, give them advice and tell them how to use that information. Package it up into a list: five ways to do something, for instance. Finally, don’t forget graphics. If you’ve got information that’s based primarily around numbers, a well conceived and well executed graphic can present the data in an engaging and digestible form.