A common mistake people make (and understandably so) is, believing that to create interesting content that strikes someone’s attention, you must talk about fun topics – like what’s the new avocado toast or your latest vacation to Croatia.
It’s not what you’re talking about. It’s how you talk about it.
Think about it this way:
If you went to see an improv performance, they would (or should) start the show by asking for a single suggestion. They may ask for a location, a piece of dialogue, or an object you would find in a kitchen to begin the show.
The uniqueness of the suggestion doesn’t matter because over time, improvisers get a lot of the same suggestions (e.g. McDonald’s, Starbucks, a kitchen towel, etc.)
What matters is what said improviser does with that suggestion. That’s a telltale sign of a gifted performer.
The same is true when creating content for your business. You’ll come across similar topics over and over, or you may even be afraid that your industry is just snooze-city and no one will care.
Well, no one will care if you don’t think they will, or if you don’t give them the opportunity to care.
Don’t believe me?
To get those creative juices pumping and to give you some encouragement, here are seven content marketing examples of “boring” companies making “non-boring” material and what you can learn from them.
Cabinetry may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about engaging content. It’s just a cabinet, right? How much could you possibly talk about?
A lot, actually.
Maybe you’ve skimmed the aisles of Home Depot and didn’t think twice about the mechanics of cabinets. But if you were trying to do a cabinet installation on your own or searching what you needed to buy, you might be completely lost. Until now.
Barker Modern doesn’t focus on pricey design features, but rather ready-to-assemble, high-quality cabinetry to keep costs low for their customers.
What Makes Barker Modern Stand Out Is They…
… Use content to further their overall mission. Because they don’t ship assembled pieces, a barrier for buyers could be the assembly. With a collection of online tutorials, Barker Modern gives the DIY home-owner everything they need to put their cabinets together.
… Set up dream possibilities for products, so potential buyers can visualize how it works for their space. Sometimes, you can’t imagine how a product would look in your life. Barker gives tips for how to map out your space including what size appliances you should consider and what pieces may need to be stacked on top of one another.
… Use different environments for their video tutorials. Barker Modern doesn’t feel limited or give the impression that they think, “I don’t have a large workspace, so I can’t do that.” From a truck bed to the store entry way, they experiment with where they film, which leaves you more engaged as a viewer.
You don’t have to make dramatic videos online to catch people’s attention. Barker Modern is a great example of taking a simple product and creating a library of content around it. By digging deep into one thing, it’s a signal to customers they’re a trusted authority.
And that makes audiences come back again and again.
You probably break out into sweats at the thought of moving, and who could blame you?
Whether you’re moving across town or the country, the logistics alone can cause you to have an anxiety attack:
- What boxes do you need for your art pieces?
- How much packing tape do you really need?
- What’s better for glassware — bubble wrap or packing paper?
- Should you just pack everything into as few boxes as possible?
Thank goodness for moving companies who handle the details for you.
Sure, NYC’s Roadway Moving isn’t the first moving company to pack you up and move you across town, country or even globe.
Why Roadway Moving Got Our Attention
Creative Use of Keywords
With rankings for over 5,000 of them, you might assume that some search terms would be “movers nyc” or “moving company New York”. Don’t get us wrong, those phrases exist.
Where Roadway stands out though, is with their content for moving out of New York City. Stealing phrases like, “Brooklyn to manhattan” and “moving companies New York to Florida”, enables them to take advantage of being in the most expensive city in the country — not everyone can afford to live there anymore.
With posts about what to expect after a move to Arizona and Atlanta, Roadway doesn’t have to include terms specifically about leaving NYC. They also rank for terms like “how much does it cost to live in Florida”, which not only increases their reach, but allows them to promote additional services like their premium white glove or international moves.
Using URLs for Keywords
If you’re searching for a moving company, you’ll most likely use the term “movers near me”. So, Roadway took that phrase and used it as the URL for their free quote and consultation page. That term alone has a search volume of 38,000!
They easily expanded with separate sections for adjacent keywords like “professional packers and movers near me” to capture 20 keywords on that page alone. While that may seem like an overload of sections, potential customers will want specifics. Can they move my grandmother’s piano? With the section “Piano Movers Near Me”, you’d likely click for a free quote.
Not Using a Lead Magnet When They “Should”
Who doesn’t love a good lead magnet, right? But there are some instances when the content for a lead magnet is better served as a standalone page.
Case in point: Roadway’s New York Moving Guide.
The name alone makes you think it would be a great way to capture emails, but unless you’re in a handful of professions, like the military, you’re probably not moving that often. And if you are, it’s highly likely that either your employer will swallow the moving costs or you have a trusted method of packing up your life. Not to say that you couldn’t discover a new company to help you with the transition, but you don’t need a weekly or monthly email about “3 Tips to Pick VIP Movers”.
So, Roadway created a page (with the URL “new-york-moving-guide”) about planning, hiring and executing your moving day in NYC. The 26 keywords and 2,600 search visitors make it easier for Roadway to capture new eyeballs rather than trying to get someone to sign up for a onetime email they’d probably delete instantly.
In another trip through Home Depot, you might stroll past the appliances. Beyond home improvement shows, you’ve probably given little thought to them — until you have to buy.
How would you even know where to start?
Well, Yale Appliance created an entire collection of videos comparing models, materials and highlights of their products to take the guesswork out of your next purchase.
You may not care about materials used on a fridge, but you would care if your kids could easily scratch your brand-new kitchen appliance. And what better way to do that than to have the good folks at Yale scratch an entire collection of fridges with a key?
That’s not the only thing to love about this family-owned business. Here are just some ways Yale makes buying home appliances unique.
Yale Appliance’s Content Works Well Because It…
… Uses specific models of products to improve the 201k + keywords they rank for. Sure, a blog post may not seem like the place to go into detail on model dw80k7050us. However, the 4,000+ people searching the Samsung StormWash™ 24″ Top Control Built-In Dishwasher in Stainless steel every month will want to click a story link for that exact edition.
… Includes similar content that you wouldn’t think of initially, like a free cooking guide as a lead magnet. If you’re looking at kitchen appliances, you might be interested in what to use them for or how a piece of equipment could advance or prolong your time in the kitchen.
… Utilizes the hub and spoke model for content with their blog. Each post leads you to a buying guide or a separate section of the website which increases keyword usage, unites content and resources organically, and creates a greater chance of users staying on the site longer.
… Educates home cooks interested in specific features or techniques of appliances.
… Captures FAQ’s driving content creation. Find any product online and undoubtedly, consumers will have questions. Even if customers aren’t asking many questions, there are ways to pull out questions someone might forget to ask. By going straight to the source, Yale Appliance can serve their audience and turn content around quickly.
Moral of this content marketing example is to be innovative. Even if your product or service is straight-forward enough, there are plenty of opportunities to be creative with content.
Real estate may be one of the hardest industries to come up with new content for. Yes, with shows like House Hunters, you know that people love looking at houses, but what can you do differently than every other realtor out there snapping photos of homes similar to yours?
If real estate agent Chip James of Choosing Dayton is any indication, there’s a lot you can do to set yourself apart from the real estate competition. From focusing on your specific location to expanding your reach with a worthy cause, here are some.
How Choosing Dayton’s Content Sets Them Apart
Leads with Benefits; Not Features
Look at any home or city, and you’ll most likely be bombarded with all the features of a place:
- New granite countertops
- Close to the freeway
- Top five school district in the state
- Safest neighborhood in the city
- Within a ten-minute drive of downtown shops and restaurants
These features are great, but they don’t directly communicate how a property or city will improve the overall life of you and your family.
You don’t move to a city or house just for how pretty it is or how close it is to the best new restaurant. There has to be something to gain or something you want to invest in.
With Chip James’ New Dayton podcast, he walks you around town meeting community business owners and local officials who share why they chose Dayton — and why you should too.
Episodes about a cool downtown yoga studio or city development plans may seem like a lot of community features, but don’t be fooled.
The benefit is that you meet people active in the community, and who want to have a positive impact with the people of Dayton. From how the city pulled together after a devastating tornado to a revitalized downtown, what’s a better benefit of choosing a place to call home than somewhere that the locals are all in?
Elevated Marketing Materials
Sometimes, a PDF or video filmed on your phone will work just fine. There are times though were you need to step up and have a more polished end product.
In Chip James’ case, he created sleek buying and selling guides in Issuu that feel more like a Pottery Barn catalog rather than a realtor’s home guide.
He also expanded his social channels with sites like Vimeo, where he could showcase stunning properties and personality-driven buyer testimonies on video.
An Intentional URL
Not every website has to be your company name, but there are reasons you would/should default to that method.
It’s not only easier for potential new clients to find you, but it keeps your branding cohesive. Unless you’re rebranding your entire company, there’s little risk in unifying your company name across all channels and websites.
However, every rule is meant to be broken. So, just because you should have your company name as your URL, doesn’t mean you have to.
Chip James’ site is multi-layered with why local businesses and community members are choosing to live in Dayton. Even though, there are mentions of how he chose Dayton for himself, the outward focus makes it clear that he wants to not only to sell someone a home; he wants them to feel pride in the place they choose.
When a client “chooses Dayton” and Chip, they forfeit their closing costs to be donated to a charitable cause, and that’s something to get behind.
If you’ve ever seen an influencer unbox a recent purchase on YouTube, you know how a basic task like shopping can turn into thousands of views.
Packaging manufacturer and one of our favorite content marketing examples, Lumi, makes the boxes and materials for companies like FabFitFun, Casper and Everlane. They also have most of their YouTube channel dedicated to unboxing their own boxes.
How do they even do that?
Lumi will disassemble the packaging and dive deep into box thickness, special printing materials and even placement of shipping labels. It may sound boring or nerdy, but it works.
Why We Dig Lumi:
Their YouTube channel has a cohesive aesthetic. When you think of boxes, you most likely think brown and blah. With clean thumbnails, some prop styling and a font with personality, Lumi creates streamlined beauty in an otherwise yawn-fest topic.
They leave no detail out. There’s no skimming over the instructions on a shipping label or dismissing calls to action printed inside. For the people who want to know about the ins-and-outs of package manufacturing, they’re free to nerd out.
The niche is small. Beyond how-tos, there can be roadblocks with content that might seem basic. However, similar to using FAQ’s for content, making material around their services and capabilities keeps the content machine running. Buyers may not know that there’s a difference in bottle inserts until you show them.
It’s not just about boxes. While the vast majority of Lumi’s content is focused on their product, occasionally they branch out with content that isn’t solely about themselves. A post about Alaskan-based company The Salmon Sisters is Lumi’s second-highest ranked page with a search volume of 29,000, 13,000 more than their homepage. Sometimes, it pays to shine the spotlight on other brands.
While some companies might be afraid to go all in, Lumi fully embraces what they do. It might be easy for people to dismiss a video about boxes. But when you show your audience (and even those not in your audience) just how much there is to learn about a product, it becomes infinitely more interesting.
Succulents and Sunshine
We’re not ones to be defeatists, but if you’re looking to rank for keywords in the succulent space, better luck next lifetime.
The online teaching center, Succulents and Sunshine, dominates the SEO space with 46,700 keywords and their strong domain rating. Comparing the S&S site with their top three competitors, it’s the clear winner with a gap in the thousands for referring domains and pages.
Their 15,000+ backlinks most definitely help, but there are few other things that made it impossible to not include them as a content marketing example.
Why We’re Obsessed with Succulents and Sunshine
Masking a Piece of Pillar Content as Basic Blog Post
Succulents and Sunshine’s highest performing post is a how-to guide of growing succulents. Seems like an easy post the website would need, but with a search volume of 186,000 and organic keywords coming in at 1,164 keywords, how’d a post of only 940 words gain so much traction?
Well, time is undoubtedly a culprit as the post was first published in December 2013. Once you rank for specific keywords, Google gifts you additional keywords that are relevant. Undoubtedly, the 28,000+ social shares and 310 backlinks didn’t hurt.
Also, good on them for adding multiple CTA’s to their cheat sheet lead magnet, many links to similar content and embedded video throughout the post. Those three pieces alone make for a longer and more engaged user experience, which is also something Google looks for when ranking sites.
Listing All Succulent Names for SEO
Another highly ranked page for Succulents and Sunshine is their “Types of Succulents” page where the organic search is close to 19,000 and they rank for 1,600 keywords.
One of their smart moves for this page was having the “text book” plant name along with the layman’s term. That way, no matter what term someone might use, there’s a good chance that Succulents and Sunshine will appear in the search.
Click on any of the plants, and you’ll find a detailed guide of the particular succulent and care instructions, with the keyword used in each section.
Overlapping Content on Main Pages
When you’re mapping out a website, you’re often told that each page/hub/what have you, should be its own entity. It can connect to other pages, but should a single entry point.
Succulents and Sunshine doesn’t abide by this rule, with three separate pages where you can purchase their courses, books and additional gifts.
Maybe, a customer doesn’t want to hit the “Shop” button immediately and clicks over to the courses and books. This piques her interest, so she might head over to the blog to read a little more. After a while, she may even be curious to tap on “Shop”.
A simple page of gifts like planters, mugs and even faux succulents, also has the aforementioned courses and books sprinkled in.
You may click the courses and books tabs if you’re looking for yourself, but if you see those same items in the gift tab, it shifts your thinking to buying for other people.
Southlake Police Department
Recently, police departments have been expanding their reach with social media. From innocent pictures going viral to lip sync challenges, law enforcement groups across the country are improving relations with communities close by and on the other side of the continent.
And we couldn’t talk about the men and women in blue without mentioned the Southlake Police Department.
Community policing has returned to the spotlight with resources like Facebook and Twitter. By using the “language of the people” with memes and other social media, Southlake Police Department bridges the gap between law enforcement and the community it protects.
The Top Reasons Southlake PD is a Must-Watch for Content
1. Outlandish videos, like their commercial for the Season 3 premiere of Stranger Things
2. Delivering public safety with a side of humor (AKA this sick burn on Ford Focus)
3. Going viral on Reddit with a coloring sheet to help a bad parker “staying inside the lines”
4. Sharing important and heartfelt stories such as saving a citizen’s life while he stopped breathing on the highway, and what you can do if you’re ever in the same situation
5. How they fight scammers through text messages
Humor has its place in every organization, but some folks may not think cops have a funny bone in their entire body. Southlake PD humanizes their officers and community so that those who are far away or local know there’s a safe (and hilarious) place in Texas just waiting for them.
What We Love About These Content Marketing Examples
So, you get it now—it’s not what your product or service is that matters. It’s how you present your content to prospects and clients.
One more thing to think about—Barker Modern, Choosing Dayton, Yale Appliance, Succulents and Sunshine and Lumi all use their owners or CEOs in their content. When you hear someone laying out the most minute of product details, you instantly know they’re an authority.
Plus, seeing the people in charge helps clients connect to a brand because it’s seen as more personal.
Over all, when you lean into the tiny details — go deep and not wide — you can end up catching a wider range of prospects or keywords than you thought.