How to Stamp Boring Content with Personality

Let’s say your company makes a little widget—a little part for a huge machine. It’s not sexy. No one even sees it. “How can I create a content marketing campaign that puts it in the spotlight? How do I give it personality?” you ask.

Or maybe you make software so advanced even Mr. Spock wouldn’t understand its sheer geekiness. How do you explain how it works, let alone market it to potential customers without it turning into a yawnfest?

You might even provide root canals. Or stool testing kits. How can you explain the medical benefits without your content becoming boring and even unpalatable? How do you keep your content from triggering the “eww” factor, let alone give it some wow factor?

Trying to stamp boring content with personality isn’t a new problem. It persists because most marketers focus too much on the product itself. They don’t realize that it’s the stories about what these products do for their customers—not the product—that causes people to click “Buy Now.”

It’s time to tweak your content strategy to focus on your customers and their stories—and light up your ROI. Discover how with these 7 tips below.

Focus on the Why

As public speaking coach Peter Khoury put it so well…

“Your audience is always listening to one radio station: WIFM. What’s In It For Me.”

So, your content planning should always start there. Remember that poor CMO who had to market stool tests? Well, when she looked at the WIFM factor, she came up with content that led with her target 50+ market’s often conflicting desires: to prevent colon cancer yet avoid the dreaded colonoscopy.

She probably gathered her team for a content ideation session, empowered them to think outside of the box, and the rest is history.

With its cute little mascot, its catchy slogan, “Get. Go. Gone.” and ad buys that used content analytics to target the right audience, Cologuard boosted its revenue by 244 percent just in the first quarter of 2016. Its ads still run with little change to this day.

Cologuard’s content campaign didn’t only change the direction of its company. It’s changing lives with early detection.

Don’t whine about your icky product. Put your customers at the center of your content and help prospects understand “why” your product was the best solution for them.

Give Your Product Personality

Not only should you focus on your customers’ needs, but you should also give your product a little personality. If a smart content team could turn a stool sample box into a cheery little character, you certainly can find a way to give your product a little personality.

Remember those 60s Maidenform ads? They turned a practical, boring garment into a magic carpet ride to dreamland. All it takes is some imagination, creative visuals, and customer-focused content to tie it all together.

Tell a Story

Instead of getting into the weeds to show how your product works, tell stories about how your product has affected those who have used it, especially for content in which you’re introducing the product.

Even in content that does get into technical detail, point out how those details have helped customers achieve goals and conquer challenges. Make your customers heroes and your product the magic sword that helps them climb to impossible heights.

When you bring storytelling into the picture, you can increase your product’s value twentyfold, as the Digital Marketing Institute points out. With 92 percent of the nation’s customers wanting brands to use storytelling in their marketing communications, it’s a winning formula.

If you can’t come up with the words to tell your customers’ story, jot down the story in rough form and turn it over to a professional copywriter. Tell the writer what your goals are, and they can do the rest.

After all, it’s not sex that sells, but “you—feeling something” as Mad Men’s fictional Don Draper famously pointed out. Make your audience feel something, and you’ll have their attention.

Segment & Personalize

With today’s content analytics tools, you can dive into the data to come up with various segments of your audience who have diverse interests, demographics, and online habits. Use those characteristics to craft content that appeals to them.

For example, if you’re marketing a widget to a manufacturing company, it pays to create content that addresses each of the company’s decision-makers’ needs and concerns. Perhaps explaining how your widget can eliminate costly steps in the manufacturing process will interest the bean counters in accounting, while the company’s engineers will want more details on how it works. The company’s legal department, on the other hand, will want to know all about your safety testing.

Target the right content to the right people at the right time. When you do, they’ll immediately sit up and take notice.

Use Visuals to Hold Their Attention

A great story and targeted audiences are just the beginning. To keep your audience’s attention, especially with long-form content, visuals are key. They’ll remember it 55 percent more than if they only hear or read it. Here are some ideas:

  • Use an attention-getting image near your headline to draw people in from the outset
  • Use infographics to illustrate key statistics
  • Use videos—that blend sight, sound, and emotion—to drive your point home

Use Vivid, Active Voice Verbs to Communicate

Let’s look at some of the most legendary slogans in the history of marketing.

  • “The pause that refreshes” – Coke
  • “Have it your way” – Burger King
  • “We deliver” – US Postal Service

Notice something about the verbs they use? All are active and vivid. They convey a wealth of emotion in only a few words.

Now put those slogans in the passive voice. Decorate them with a plethora of adjectives, prepositional phrases, and adverbs. You’ll see why you never want to write content like this:

  • The short period of time during which you can be refreshed – Coke
  • Your delicious food can be served any way you desire. – Burger King
  • Your packages are delivered by us. – US Postal Service

Less, indeed, is more. Especially when it comes to content marketing.

Finally, Fall in Love with Your Topic

It’s even truer in content marketing than it is in public speaking. As Khoury observed…

“If you think your topic is boring, then how can you expect anyone else to like it…?”

Look at all the ways your product or service can help others. How does it change lives—other than those in your C-suite? Even if it’s something as mundane as dishwashing liquid or a hidden part in a large machine, you can find something that will make your customer’s day.

Build your content around that—and watch your revenue grow.

For even more tips on how to make your content come alive, we have a blog for that. Subscribe today.