Are you an underdog or an unsexy brand that thinks content marketing is not for you?

By Charlotte McCleary

Do you think that you have nothing much to tell? Are you worried that you do not have enough budget to sustain your marketing campaigns? Think again. Content marketing can work for anyone. You need a proper strategy and an awareness of what your brand stands for. It does not matter whether or not you think your industry is boring. With a little creativity and proper strategy, you will find wonders in your uninteresting brand

So, what is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing Institute provides for this formal definition:

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. 

Content marketing simply means the constant creation of content that interests your audience. It is popular among leading brands because it works. It can be challenging at times since there will be days when you have nothing to say. You need to keep an eye on changes to your target market’s behaviors. These changes will help you create fresh content.

Why do underdog or unsexy brands need content marketing?

It is because the appeal of underdogs is strong to the public. Anat Keinan, a professor in Harvard Business School, explains the appeal of the underdog narrative:

Through a series of experiments, we show that underdog brand biographies are effective in the marketplace because consumers identify with the disadvantaged position of the underdog and share their passion and determination to succeed when the odds are against them.

Underdog brands are not the only ones using the underdog narrative. Even industry leaders such as Apple, Google, and Adidas have used this narrative to their advantage.

As a brand from a not so popular industry, you should not be discouraged from engaging in content marketing. You should fight hard and show your market you are the best. Remember that you are fighting against giants that are also using the underdog narrative. You have to define your purpose for and identify the target market that will best benefit from you.

As an unsexy brand, the key here is for you to understand that you need to gain your target market’s trust. You can do this by providing them relevant information. By doing so, you will make them comfortable with you.

With that said, do not be too afraid of the competition. Every brand started small. Since you are from an unpopular industry, there is more need for you to make some noise. You have to be heard, and there is no better way of doing that than by creating relevant content.

If you are having difficulty getting started, there are different tools that can help you. There are industry-specific platforms such as Mediaplanet. This can help you if your brand is too technical or specialized. On the other hand, Clearvoice can give you the opportunity to generate ideas by collaborating with writers. It will also give you the chance to interact with influencers. Another tool, MyBlogU, will help you grow your network by giving you a platform to collaborate with other businesses. You can also contribute your opinion on a topic and get the chance to be cited.  Finally, Mailshake is a great place that provides a lot of tools such as tools for researching influencers, scheduling outreach emails, and templates for content promotion and lead generation.

What are some unsexy brands that have championed in content marketing?

A lot of seemingly uninteresting brands have been championing in the content marketing arena. If these brands were able to succeed, it could also happen to you.

Here are some of the unsexy brands that can inspire you to get that content marketing started: 

  1. Ajax. If you would think about it, there is nothing too sexy about cleaning brands. But in 2014, Ajax introduced a tool, Ajax Social Wipes, which offered users of social media to clean their pages. The tool helped clean out unwanted likes and spambots. What is more interesting is that Ajax does not have its own social media page. Now, isn’t that genius?
  2. Nuffield Health. Nuffield Health is a healthcare service provider which runs over 31 hospitals and 111 fitness centers in the United Kingdom. It is the largest non-profit healthcare service provider outside of the UK’s National Health Service. For some people, choosing health care providers can cause them anxiety. However, Nuffield Health took a different route by taking advantage of the video format. They have a Vine channel and a YouTube channel dedicated to providing quality healthcare information. They also collaborate with different healthcare experts to lend authority to their videos.
  3. Allstate Insurance. Nobody will think of insurance brands as sexy given the high premiums policyholders have to pay. Allstate Insurance begs to differ. It uses humor through a fictional character it created called Mayhem. Mayhem demonstrates funnily how insurance can help you in certain situations. Allstate Insurance is an insurance provider based in Northfield Township, Illinois.
  4. Sharpie. Sharpie is a brand of permanent markers, and nobody would think of writing tools as sexy. It used Instagram to build relationships with its customers by posting artworks created with a Sharpie. By doing this, Sharpie demonstrated how far its marker could go into creating beautiful artworks. As of writing, Sharpie has 187,000 followers on its Instagram account.
  5. Staples. Another unsexy brand that uses humor and audience engagement is Staples. Staples is a huge American store chain selling school and office supplies. It is more focused on user engagement than selling its products. Staples build consumer trust by being funny and conversational on Twitter. It currently has 323,000 followers on its Twitter account.

From these brands, we can learn that there is no such thing as a unsexy brand. Every brand has its unique charm. You only need to identify your strengths and magnify them in the right way. Use proper strategies in telling your story so you too can win the content marketing game.

Charlotte McCleary is a message-centric brand strategist who works with the marketing teams of start-ups and young companies to streamline their market positioning and message. When not crafting blue prints for marketers she is a key note speaker and personal branding coach. @itsCharlotteMCL Facebook 

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