Unless you have been under a rock for the last few years, you have probably heard some marketing professionals professing “Content is King” in reference to strategy planning. Even though it has been the center of attention for several years, some writers are still talking about content as a trend to look out for in 2015!

The problem with all the emphasis on content is the growing level of noise competing for the attention of your prospective customers. So what can you to stand out? Just like a bland recipe, you need to spice up your content mix.

While you need to start with solid foundation basics just like all of your competitors, you need to look for new, unexplored areas or modes of content creation where you can develop awesome, meaningful and original messages for your customers. Take advantage of where the content holes are in your industry to  provide your customers with something no one else is offering.

The Basics

With the explosion of content available, your prospective customers have access to so much information you have to be producing lots of new information across lots of different platforms to keep them interested.

You have to start with the basics, blogging, social media and your email newsletter, but look for ways to put your own unique spin on these tools.

  • Blogging – Blogging is a great way to add new content to your website and develop reference materials so you can answer customer questions on the fly. If everyone in your industry is blogging, look for unique approaches. Try turning the narrative inward and write a piece highlighting a hardworking employee. Take the focus off your main product for a day and show your human side. Your customers will thank you and you’ll be offering content only you can create.
  • Inbound Social Media Content – Your customers expect you will have a company profile on at least one social media channel. If your content feels a lot like what all your competitors are sharing you might want to do some experimenting. Test different types of updates, questions, links or little known facts to figure out what if anything gets your customers to interact. Don’t be afraid to scale back and focus on just one or two platforms which seem to be where your customers are.
  • Email Newsletter – Your email newsletter is a powerful messaging tool because it goes to an audience which has already shown they have an interest in you and your products. The bad news is, they probably also receive the same kind of messaging from many other businesses. If you’re afraid your email is getting buried under a mountain of other messages which all look the same, add some interactive elements like video or a survey and experiment with sending your emails at different times of the day.
  • Static Service and Product Pages – These internal pages on your website describe and showcase your products and services. They don’t change very often. To spice things up a bit, consider adding fun promotional contests and contest entry directly on these pages periodically to give your audience a reason to interact with your products.

Under the Radar Media

Every year there are new and exciting ways  for people and brands to share messages and information. Often the brands that most successfully navigate big changes in marketing from season to season are the ones who also quickly adopt and embrace these experimental forms of media and employ them to full effect.

If you’re burned out using the basics I mentioned above, try adding these other, less prominent forms of messaging to offer content in a way others are not:

  • Online Video – It surprises me how few companies embrace online video in the age of the smart phone. It’s surprisingly simple to shoot candid, honest, high-quality video snippets of your employees hard at work providing A+ service or showcasing your best products for the web. All you need is a YouTube account and enough know-how to move video from your phone to your computer.
  • Podcasts – Fancy yourself an expert in your field and a personality around the office? Why not pull out the same phone you use to capture video and start recording yourself giving the 101 about your products and services? If you like it, you can record more episodes and talk about everything from your last crazy service call to the newest methods for quickly installing carpets in the winter.
  • Custom Imagery and Photographs – Everyone has access to stock photo galleries and glossy catalogs. What they don’t have is an inside look at your business, your employees, and your products. Photos of your business are your way to extend an invitation to visit behind the closed curtains and add a bit of humanity to your brand. Take photos of the cool themed party in your break room and post them on your blog with a fun write-up. Don’t be afraid to let your customers know you’re just like them.

Hopefully these ideas get you energized and ready to work on exploring new ways to reach your customers. Don’t forget to simply have fun! Your customers will notice and will respond, all it takes is to build a little trust first by offering something no one else can.

Looking for more ways to spice up your content? Check out my blog on adding rich media to your website for additional ideas.