How “Boring” Businesses Can Market Themselves Better – Using The Content They Already Have!
We’ve all heard it by now: Content is King; the key to online marketing success is producing and distributing high-quality content that will bring new users onto your website organically.
This is an easy sell if you are in an ‘sexy’ industry that people love to talk about – clothing and lifestyle brands, music, or non-profits. But what if you manufacture high-gravity lubricants or sell refurbished biomedical centrifuges? How can you produce content that addresses your industry without putting users to sleep? How can you stay on-topic while attempting to gain (even a little) viral attention? And most importantly, how can you find time to produce this challenging high-quality content while still wearing all the various hats of a marketing professional?
The answer might be right under your nose! The odds are very good that you already have a large amount of technical content already written. These can be manuals, regulatory documentation, product guides or specification documents – Highly detailed and expansive documents providing a micro-level insight into your business, products, and services.
Technical content is already valuable to the non-marketing aspects of your business; they may meet regulatory guidelines, help your customers use your product and guide internal processes. But the big downside is that this content is usually incredibly boring.
It’s hard to imagine using this content as-is for anything other than a sleep aid, but you are in luck! This article will walk you through a few steps to repurpose boring technical content into marketing material and online content that shines.
Why you should repurpose technical content
1) Time: Let’s face it: If you are an active marketer, your limiting resource isn’t ambition, ideas, or know-how – it’s time! There just aren’t enough hours in the workday to execute on every strategy you’d like to explore. Repurposing content is a great shortcut – the heavy lifting has already been done, all you need to do is take the data and present it in a new and interesting way.
2) SEO: More content means more pages, and technical content in particular appeals to highly-specific long-tail searches. As long as you aren’t just duplicating the content over and over again, repurposing will allow you to build more pages optimized for specific phrases and build your internal link structure.
3) Reach: For the average business website in a ‘boring’ industry, the reach is pretty small – Not too many people are going to be looking at your website multiple times unless they are already in your sales funnel. By taking some ‘boring’ data and presenting it in a fresh and imaginative way, you stand a good chance of reaching new users on social media, where your old content would never thrive.
4) Reinforcement: Allowing your users to see the same information in several different ways reinforces your expertise and message. Marketing is rarely a ‘one-touch’ process, so every time you can reach a potential customer you increase the likelihood of a new sale or hot lead.
10 Tactics To Repurpose Technical Content:
The Big 3
1) Break it up: As a rule, technical documents tend to be expansive in scope and microscopic in detail. That’s the opposite of what most people want to see when looking for the answer to a question online. Find as many places as possible to break up the content into separate pieces. Have 100 maintenance tasks that need to be performed on a piece of machinery? That sounds like 10 Top-10 lists and 100 tweets to me!
2) Slim it down: For any piece you are working on, technical guides will give you way more information than you can possibly handle. Learn to boil things down to the few points that will matter to the average user. Remember, in these situations you aren’t writing the Bible (that’s already been done for you), you are writing the Action Bible Kids Comic Book – cut the lists of who begat who and stick with the stories people want to hear.
3) Find a new target: It’s good to have full product guides on your website, but if you make linear actuator systems only two types of people will ever look at them: Engineers and nobody. Now, engineers are an important market, but purchasing decisions often require buy-in from a larger audience. By breaking up and simplifying technical documentation you widen the scope to include a whole new audience, and working with the new audience in mind can give you a big head-start as you repurpose your online content.
The Specific 7
4) Show, don’t tell: The best way to make a brain-melting product guide or data-packed case study more accessible is to present it in visual form. Infographics are a great example of this – and though they can take weeks of data-gathering or design to complete, they don’t have to. Kick things off with a handful of graphs or charts, then use some free tools to make them pretty (Canva and Pictochart are faves!)
5) Create guides: Product guides can be excellent for creating simple “How-To” articles. Narrow the guide down to identify as many specific questions as you can, then create simple How-To’s for each situation. first you post these guides on your site, and then you …
6) Repost on Q/A sites and forums: This may not be possible/feasable depending on how widely-used your product and service is, but Q/A sites can be a goldmine for reaching new users with your knowledge. Using your how-to guides and infographics in this manner will earn you some links, but also demonstrate that your company is thinking about the consumer and going out of your way to help them out. By assisting one customer (in a very public forum) you can earn the trust of hundreds more!
7) Daily Emails: Once you’ve broken up your content into bite-sized chunks, you are set to send out daily or weekly emails. Schedule them in series’ (7 Days of Tips fo
r X, Your Daily Maintenance Advice for Y) and send them to the email list you’ve been nurturing. Remember – these may not appeal to everyone, so make it easy to unsubscribe.
8) Ebooks: These are for your more sophisticated potential customers, but they can go a long way towards closing a potential sale or convincing someone to answer the phone when your salespeople call. Now that you’ve broken up the technical content, start to put it back together with an eye towards answering a set of questions or highlighting a feature of your business that would matter to an interested lead. Keep the writing light and direct and include images, then post on your site or send to your sales team to help them close!
9) Make a Presentation: All of the tactics above can be repurposed again in the form of a presentation – with very little headache! Just distill your main points to a few lines each and create a presentation. These can be posted online via Slideshare, used in sales presentations, or developed further for customer support! If you are repurposing another piece of content, it’s hard to beat the overall bang-for-buck that presentations offer.
10) Video Series: This is the one that will take the most work and investment, but don’t be afraid! Presentations and webinars can be turned into short videos with the use of some easy whiteboard tools, and videos product guides can provide great leverage for making a difficult sale. The thing to remember is that audio quality is key: Great videos fail if you can’t be heard well, and videos with very basic graphics can succeed with well-mixed commentary and music. If you are demonstrating a piece of software, a simple screen-cap video where you walk through a specific process can give you a huge boost!
So there you have it: 4 reasons why you should look at recycling your technical content and 10 tactics to guide you towards success! For more ideas, check out some of the resources below and add your own comments and ideas in the discussion.