The age-old war between cheerleaders and nerds reigns supreme, and not just in the lunchroom: it’s present in the content marketing world. Consumer-facing companies, especially ones in leisure, snacks, travel or entertainment industries, just get to have more fun. After all, they’re trying to sell fun, which perhaps a company with B2B communication software or sales automation products might not be able to do without jeopardizing their reputation.
When exploring marketing inspiration for small businesses, it’s easy to get bombarded by rustic logos, twee explainer videos, interactive web experiences and sassy tweets from members of a cooler, hipper crowd. But there’s no reason certain industries should get to own all the fun. Opportunities to delight your audience abound, and you can capitalize on them while retaining the trust and respect crucial to your business. Here are a few practical tips to get started.
1. Diversify your content offerings
If you’re a pharmaceutical startup and your content strategy consists of cranking out case studies every quarter for other businesses in your industry, get creative with what else you can offer to a reader (especially if you have access to research or useful and unique information to others in your field). Some of your audience will be able to connect better with a bite-sized article than a 70-page case study, so try repurposing the information in your case study into a Cliffnotes, blog-friendly version, using more down-to-earth language.
Who’s doing this well: Linkdex, an SEO platform, houses case studies and explainer videos on their main website, but has a whole content experience that’s more widely appealing at momentology.com (memorable name!). Here’s a post on video marketing tips from Buzzfeed -- something that couldn’t live on their main site.
Takeaway: Find out how to share the same information in more accessible ways.
2. Partner with the “fun” guys
Reach across the aisle to a “cheerleader” -- perhaps not in your industry, but neighbors to your industry -- and form a mutually beneficial content partnership. For instance, a wholesale solar energy panel distributor (“boring”) could pair up with an electric car rental app company (“fun”) and do a series of lightly humorous videos on how consumers can make more energy-efficient everyday choices.
Who’s doing this well: Twilio, a cloud communication platform, runs a podcast called Twilio Radio on SoundCloud. In their most recent episode, they spoke with Wedgies co-founder Jimmy Jacobson on his polling service. Wedgies is a more naturally light-hearted brand, so hosting him and facilitating that conversation on Twilio’s podcast serves both companies well.
Takeaway: You don’t have to generate content in your own corner 100% of the time.
3. Be a champion for the other “nerds”
In the same vein, leverage your relationships with others in your industry to collaborate beyond merely following each other on Twitter. Podcasting is perfect for this. For instance, if you’re in the automation software field, connect with the CMO of a company in the same general wheelhouse to yours to discuss trends in tech, have a little friendly banter, and host other interesting guests. Even a simple social media shoutout can accomplish the same thing on a smaller scale.
In the short game, hanging out with competition may seem counterintuitive. In the long term of growing your company successfully, employing a “we’re all in this together” mentality with knowledge sharing and community in your field allows you to be less guarded with, and have more fun with, your content.
Who’s doing this well: Sourceeasyhas the cheerful-est Twitter feed in the B2B game. Retweets, thank-you messages, and cheering on others in their industry builds a community necessary to the work they do.
Takeaway: Be the friendliest person at the lunch table; they win the long game.
4. Test the goofy waters
Who says you have to be serious all the time? Talk with your team to determine some loose humor parameters, then go for it and see how your audience interacts with a slight change in voice. A well-timed meme, subtle movie quote references tucked into a tweet, What would delight your audience without throwing them off? How can your company be a little playful without undermining your authority? Through trial and error, you’ll find a voice that’s consistent with your brand.
Who’s doing this well: We’re loving RevBoss’ blog lately. They make sales acceleration software, and recently shifted their marketing voice from “regular” company-speak to something much more personable. They’re using gifs and memes to lighten up their helpful posts.
Takeaway: Being funny might not be as risky to your image as you might think.
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