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The Secret to Creating Content in “Unglamorous” Industries

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October 26,2016

By Debbie Williams, SPROUT Content

 

If you work in a traditionally “unglamorous” industry, creating interesting, shareable content can feel like a challenge.  But, even business in the most technical, regulated or typically “boring” industries can create content that inspires their audiences to come back for more, and more importantly, take action.

But first, what do I mean by “unglamorous” industries?
 

  • B2B businesses that work more behind the scenes creating or providing something for another business, relatively unknown to the average person
  • High tech, complex or regulated industries, with benefits that are not always easy to explain
  • Costly items with very long sales cycles or minimal purchasing frequency that require in-depth knowledge and have a layered decision making process

 

A great content marketing opportunity

Most unglamorous industries can actually be the most exciting because of their huge potential for content marketing and inbound marketing success. The more distinct, complex or specialized your business, the greater opportunity you have to share your expertise, educate your prospects and customers, and transcend the competition.

According to Google, 89% of B2B researchers search online during the sales process. B2B, manufacturing and technical industries who are able to develop their own voice, with personality, perspective and expertise, make stronger and lasting connections with people. This relationship is what drives leads and sales today.

 

Taking a Persona(l) approach

Diminish the concept of a strong divide between “B2B” or “B2C” marketing, by focusing more on the person-to-person (P2P) need for information. In order for any type of business, but especially those in technical or complex industries, having a deep understanding of who it is that you’re in business for is essential. Remembering the real person at the end of the line or other side of the screen is the key to creating the right content that helps them understand how you are the right company to help them solve their challenges.

You’re still a person, trying to make a connection with another person. People make decisions, not buildings.

Developing buyer personas is the foundation for creating the type of content that delivers results. Before you can develop personas, you must know who your audience is. And, that “target audience” has likely changed a lot in the past few years.

According to the Google/Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, there’s been a dramatic shift in the B2B researcher demographic. Now, half of all B2B researchers are Millennials (18-34 year olds). The “Researcher” is one of the most important roles in the buying process today, and one that is largely overlooked by companies, who are still too focused on the C-Suite.  Think about it, is the CEO or CFO going to Google to find new solutions to challenges online, reading blogs and heavily active on social channels?  In some cases, yes. But in most cases, a junior to mid level staff member is the one being tasked with researching opportunities.

So, when thinking about your key personas, think about all of the people involved in the sales cycle, from the researcher to the evaluator to the final decision maker or the financial qualifier. Don’t just focus on job titles. Think about all of the people in the process. According to Google, 81% of non-C-suiters have a say in purchase decisions. So, if you're creating content for only the highest level, you're overlooking the people who are actually trying to find you.

 

The right content for your audience

Once you’ve perfected your personas, you are empowered to create a strategic editorial content calendar that meets their needs through every step of the buying process. Every content topic and form should be mapped to your personas’ funnel stage, along with the appropriate keywords and calls to action. 

Make sure you’re being helpful and speaking their language by cutting out the industry jargon in your content. Take this time to answer questions and share your expertise in a relatable way.

For example, if you work for document cloud storage company, your personas are likely office or operations managers. They don’t know what you mean by elastic computing or a virtual private data center.  Use language and terms that they will understand and relate to in your website content or in blog posts.
 

  • Be clear and specific
  • Answer questions
  • Use visuals when possible
  • Remember the person on the other side of the screen.

 

Content marketing works when you’re not just attracting visitors to your site with the hope that they contact you to buy. If you show your prospects that you understand them through content that feels like it was made just for them (because it was), you’re proving that you understand their needs and can solve their challenges.

It all comes down to people helping other people. 



 

 


Debbie Williams is the co-founder and Chief Content Officer at SPROUT Content, a content marketing agency and Platinum level HubSpot inbound marketing agency Partner. Debbie has 20 years of experience developing content, voice and positioning for companies from global brands to start-ups. She is a content marketing expert, agency founder and author who specializes in the areas of content development, content marketing, social media and influencer marketing for both "glamorous" consumer and lifestyle brands and "unglamorous industries" like B2B and tech. Follow Debbie @debwilliams23.

 

 

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