Content marketing generates more leads at a lower cost than traditional marketing, making it a valuable resource in times of crisis when campaigns need to deliver ROI and really engage target audiences regularly. With that said, it can be difficult to craft content for more staid or difficult niches and industries where it is more challenging to attract readers and viewers. Don’t worry though – you can still publish content that really works.
Content marketing is all about solving customer pain points. If you can address a client’s problems and help them to make better decisions, your content will have value and it won’t be considered boring, even if it is sedate or unadventurous in its execution. Content does not have to be flashy or exciting to get the job done.
To start your journey to added-value content, even in difficult niches, first come up with a ‘customer avatar’. This avatar should be based on your core target audience. They are most likely to align with your business and buy into whatever you are offering. You can’t be everything to everyone, so pinpointing a specific buyer persona will sharpen your messages and output.
Create a buyer avatar
To determine the make-up of this avatar, do a deep drive into factors such as demographics (age, gender, income), psychographics (values, interests and attitudes) and goals and pain points. Finding out where your avatar will consume content and access media is also a good idea.
You can then move on to noting down common queries, questions and misconceptions about your service and product offerings. What would this avatar need from your business to achieve professional and personal goals?
If there are forums or communities where people talk about your industry or product types, try to keep track of a few things that crop up regularly. This sort of soft research is not that comprehensive or wide-reaching, but it can throw up a few ideas that can be turned into content marketing pieces.
At this stage, HubSpot also recommends coming up with “exclusionary personas” so that you know the type of customers you don’t really want to spend time or resources trying to court. This will add a bit more clarity to the audience you are trying to engage with, which can aid you in your quest to optimise and improve marketing budget allocations and results in the long term.
You may also want to identify relevant micro and macro influencers on social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Compare these visible industry figures to the personas you have recently drafted. Are there similarities, and would your potential avatar follow and interact with them?
Consider potential format types
Now that you have a defined avatar and a few ideas to choose from, you can start looking at some of the content formats that will resonate in more difficult niches. Recent research by DragonSearch Marketing found that almost two-thirds of customers show a greater desire to purchase something from a company when it has published interesting custom content. Fortunately, custom content can come in a range of guises.
One format that is unlikely to fall flat is a long-form white paper or series of studies based on original research. Google’s algorithm looks very favourably on 1,000-plus-word pieces that go into great detail and answer a number of questions a searcher has. This is also a great way to pack in data, stats and information that can really help B2B and B2C buyers.
The actual content does not have to be boring or presented in a manner that will fail to keep readers hooked either. With the help of an agency, you could create an eye-catching infographic that pulls from several sources and first-party research to present much-needed insights and advice to a target audience.
If you don’t have the capacity to conduct original research straight away, consider running a smaller survey through your social media profiles or by emailing it to readers of your regular blog.
Tell a story
Educational content may be the key to an audience’s attention, but it could also be entertainment, or a mix of both. Storytelling is a great way to keep people engaged over a week or even a month’s worth of content distributed across a variety of platforms. Again, if you don’t have the resources to support a vast video campaign, just adding a short story or compelling narrative at the start of a blog can keep people on the page for longer.
Stories are always a powerful tool when crafting content, especially in difficult niches where driving engagement is an ongoing challenge. Don’t be afraid to mix in a few brand-related stories or some other form of narrative if it can hook people in and ensure that they stay around. Case studies are another more discrete means to weaving in stories that can showcase the benefits of your brand and its offerings.
Partner with an agency
The process of creating content and distributing it is not an easy one, especially if you do not have access to a talented internal team. Partnering with an agency could be the missing piece in the jigsaw if you have recently floated a few ideas for content marketing campaigns but do not have the personnel to make them a reality.
Expert third parties are accomplished at turning small briefs and a limited list of keywords and links into content marketing pieces capable of resonating with audiences, no matter what the industry is. Agencies can also support social media management so that these pieces reach the right people, at the right time.
Content will never be boring to the people who it matters to most. If it can inform, educate or entertain, there will be an audience out there ready to consume it and act on it. If you need assistance to get the ball rolling, contact an agency. After conducting some research and getting a buyer avatar or persona together, you should be able to quickly snowball ideas into a campaign that will hit all the right notes, engage audiences, and drive traffic and sales without significant investment.