People are savvy; they can spot an advert a mile away. And those who are not using some sort of ad-blocking software are, in all likelihood, suffering from ad-blindness. Content marketing emerged as a way around this issue and fulfills the role of entertaining and educating your audience about your brand in a sneaky, round-about way.
The problem that most people hit early on is that after pushing the basics about the company/product/service, they seem to run out of things to say. If you had to ask these people about this, they’d probably say that content creation should come with a warning: “may cause bouts of doubt, tension and severe anxiety”.
But all it really takes is a little “out-of-the-box” thinking. So, here’s my super simple technique for coming up with new angles for the same old topic.
Know your product
Firstly, you need to know what it is you’re selling. This one is obvious, but for the sake of walking you through this process, I’m going to create a product.
I’m friggin’ starving as I write this, so I’m going to pretend that I own a food truck that sells a fusion of Latin American and Asian street food (think Thai-inspired tacos and Argentinean-style noodle bowls. nom nom).
Know your customer
This one is also pretty obvious so I’m not going to do a deep-dive into customer personas; for more info on why this is important and how to do it, check this out.
For the purposes of my food truck example, we’re going with a broad target audience of millennial hipsters. Think plaid shirts, tattoos, an obsession with old stuff like typewriters and record players, and food trucks (obviously). My kind of people.
The first step is fairly straightforward; I simply write a list of things that are directly related to my business.
- Where is my truck usually located?
- What dishes are on my menu?
- When is the next food festival I’m going to be part of?
- Why is a mix of Asian and Latin American flavours so amazing?
- Who is behind this genius idea (i.e. “about me” – yawn…)?
- How is the food prepared?
Stuff like this is going to work well, but it’s also kinda boring because its easy to come up with (which is why all your competitors probably have the same content as you).
Next I’m going to look at niching down the broad topics by expanding on each idea. For the purposes of this example, I’ve gone with “where is my truck usually located?“.
Once again, I move through the 5W’s/1H process, and come up with ideas related specifically to my truck and the location I usually park it in. So, for example:
- Where is the closest craft brewery to my usual location?
- What type of cookware do I use in the kitchen?
- When certain fresh produce is out of season, what do I substitute these items with?
- Why do I blast tango music played on an erhu from the truck speakers during service?
- Who are some famous people/influencers who have stood in line to buy from me?
- How environmentally friendly is my restaurant-on-wheels?
According to my research*, millennial hipsters are: concerned about the environment, like to know that their food is coming from sustainable sources, and have an unhealthy obsession with late-90’s Jamie Oliver. This means that information based on the questions listed above is in the realm of what they might find interesting.
*In this case, not real research
Adding creativity to the mix
As you can see from list #2, I’m now in a place that makes it easier to come up with an angle my competitors haven’t thought of yet. The final step is to pick one and see how much further we can push the topic in that particular direction.
I’m thirsty now too, so let’s go for the craft brewery angle. We can look at stuff like:
- Best styles of beer to pair with the food from my truck.
- Non-alcoholic beverage options for your outdoor business lunch.
- Coffee shops that are within walking distance from the truck.
- The secret to eating a take-away and holding a drink at the same time (without dropping anything) while standing in a public place.
We started with the same-old, same-old question of “where is my food truck parked”, and ended in a more interesting yet no less relevant place. This style of content is going to be far more interesting to my audience of hipsters than simply telling them the address I’m parked at.
Bonus tip: Taking it a step further
If you’re looking at leveraging your creative list even further, the world is your oyster because you can apply each idea to a different platform or medium. Your ideas even give you the potential for collaborations with other businesses/industry sectors.
- I can run a joint promo for a meal + craft beer with the brewery (post a selfie with my truck to get your coupon).
- I can find research/literature about how eating alfresco results in more productive meetings and then adapt this info into a blog post or infographic.
- I can tag my location on Google maps and my Instagram posts (with relevant hashtags) because I also do breakfast buns that are best washed down with coffee.
- I can create a funny video of the best eat+drink+stand techniques to use – or even push a new product that makes this easier for people to do.
You don’t have to choose between being relevant and creative when producing your content. If you look beyond your product or service and think about what your audience thinks about, the sky is the limit.
Anyway, I’m off to find something to eat now. ‘K bye!