I believe the most common content marketing question I field is:
Barry, how do I make exciting content about (insert dull product category here)?
On one hand, it’s a good question in that the marketer asking it knows dull content is deadly. But it’s a bad question too. Why? Because it’s the wrong question.
The right question is: how do I excite my readers?
Note the absence of “tax preparation” or “kitty litter” or “conference calling services” or any mundane product category. Your readers care about something far more important: themselves.
Again, they care about themselves—their lives, their work, their goals. Your customers aren’t dull. They’re fascinating. And your content can fascinate them if it speaks to their interests and desires.
When you understand this simple idea you understand what it’s going to take to be an effective content marketer. Yes, understanding how to tap into your prospects’ pleasures and pains will require some hard work and diligence. But it must be done. Then, and only then, you’ll be ready to create exciting content and earn your audience’s attention, affection and dollars.
I want to do more than just talk about how it’s done. I want to show you.
I wanted to demonstrate my thesis in dramatic fashion, so I chose what has to be one of the least sexy subjects: going potty.
Yep. We’re going to talk about elimination. But you’re not going to be grossed out. You’re going to be charmed. If you enjoy creative content marketing, grab some porcelin and enjoy.
This brilliant idea hasn’t gone unnoticed by the media. In fact, if you’ve read Jay Baer’s new book, Youtility, you already know a bit about Charmin’s highly helpful SitOrSquat app and website, which you use to find, view and rate public restrooms.
SitOrSquat will guide you to a clean restroom that meets your needs—including changing tables and handicap accessibility. The app’s users are called on to expand the roster of facilities. You can upload and share your opinion regarding the restroom where you did your business. “Sit” is a “like.” “Squat’s” not.
On Charmin’s “Enjoy the go” page they write, “We put public restrooms on the map. Literally. So the next time you’ve got to go on the go, you’ll know where to go.”
Smart stuff. You obviously won’t be carrying a roll of their toilet paper with you, but if finding a clean public loo interests you, you will indeed have Charmin in your pocket.
Love, sleep & play—from Pampers
Pampers’ home online is about far more than baby’s bottom. It’s an encyclopedia-like blog covering every conceivable topic new parents yearn to learn more about.
The rich information resources begin with insights on making babies. (Oh, so I got your interest now?) A clever slider prompts you to indicate your baby’s age. You choose from 5 stages—pregnancy to 24+ months—and you’re in for some age-appropriate parenting treats.
My youngest child is 150+ months, so I chose “24+ months” and without clicking a thing, I was offered tips about children interacting with pets, snacking, creative art projects, air travel with kids, preparing for preschool, and playdates.
The site’s home page invited me to check out additional parenting resources from Pampers on YouTube and Facebook as well as a newsletter and a rewards program where Twitter followers enjoy exclusive offers.
Make Meow a Star—from FreshStep
I thought we’d give our pet poopers some equal time too.
If ever there was a consumer products company in step with the things that trip their customers’ triggers, it’s Fresh Step. Their website is catnip for cat owners. It’s so rich with kitty content and fun for feline fanatics, it was difficult to choose which to feature here.
I chose the charming and interactive “Make Meow a Star” activity. With it you create a movie poster starring your cat. You select a movie motif, upload a photo, enter your pet’s name and in an instant, you’re given your poster. Titles include “The Last Cat Burglar,” “Scratches with Claws,” and “Escape from the Cardboard Box.”
I went with the latter because my kitty, Bojangles, adores cardboard boxes. If I choose, my poster is entered into the “Catdance Film Festival” giving me a chance to win a trip to Park City or a year’s supply of their kitty litter product. Of course, the poster is Fresh Step branded and mine to print, share, email or post wherever I please.
If you’re a cat lover, you’ll adore the Fresh Step website and all the irresistible content the company offers.
Dispenser Adventure—from Earth Rated
Earth Rated makes biodegradable dog poop bags. I can feel your excitement already.
In addition to hosting a blog that answers most questions about dog behavior, the company has 50K Facebook likers and they bring the fun on Facebook and Instagram with a contest called “Dispenser Adventure.” Followers are invited to upload a photo on Instagram of their product “in the wild” and tag it with #PoopBags.
The photos participants post are also featured on the company’s Pinterest and Facebook pages.
Dog lovers will also enjoy the company’s massive collection of dog photos, (courtesy of their customers), weekly caption contests, quote of the day, and fact or fiction series.
Visit Clorox.com and right after the “Products” in the navigation bar, you’ll find “Laugh.”
What a great click magnet. And what a great strategy. Chances are when you go to the Clorox website you have a mess to clean up. You expect to cringe, not laugh.
Clorox recognizes this and surprises you with “Ick-tionary: your wiki for icky.” Your choices there include submitting your ick, watching ick videos, testing your ickspertise, or boning up on your ick-words (such as the poo-nami example pictured).
There’s some very inventive vocabulary words there which smartly feature photos and humorous illustrations. Plus you have numerous opportunities to interact with the content including liking, sharing, submitting your own ick-word and using the ick-word in a sentence (a comment stream). Look closely at the screen shot above and you’ll see someone wrote “We’re still recovering from last night’s poo-nami.”
The Great American Try-On—from Depend
You’ve probably heard of Depend briefs. According to the Depend website, their incontinence products are available in five styles, which means there’s one for all type of bodies.
If you don’t believe it then you need to check out The Great American Try-On.
Look at that. Dance star Cheryl Burke wears hers well as do football studs Wes Walker and DeMarcus Ware. In a backstage interview Cheryl goes on camera with the Depend spokesman to testify how she feels in her briefs. A contest was held for the NFL stars, which resulted in a heap of videos created for the V Foundation.
You probably want to try one on yourself. And you’re welcome to here.
Girls Don’t Poop Video—by Poo-Pourri
Makers of the before-you-go toilet spray, Poo-Pourri, tell you to spritz the bowl before you go and no one else will ever know. Complete instructions are provided on their website, as are Amazon reviews (there are over 1,000 of them).
However, the company took their poo-poo pitch slightly further with a YouTube video that’s funny (or shocking) enough to have earned more than 22 million views.
Sure, it’s an ad of sorts, but it’s not bound for television. The video stars a proper English woman delighted to tell you she just “birthed a creamy behemoth from her cavernous bowels.” However, thanks to Poo-Pourri, she left “not a trace that she was ever here,” and there, and…
With a toilet tucked beneath her bottom, the heroine of the video squats at work, a party, and her lover’s apartment, but she’s never without the spray product that “traps the odors in their porcelain prison.” Skeptical? No worries. The product comes with an unconditional stink-free guarantee.
Have some fun with your content
No subject is out of bounds for great content that engages your audience. My hope is “The Web’s Crappiest Content” delivered a pile of evidence.
Gotta’ tell you… coming up with the headline for this post was a grind. I must have had more than 20 ideas. Most were shit.
And WHERE do you think you’re going now? If you have another minute, I’d like you to go HERE and download “The Plan to Grow Your Business with Effective Online Marketing.” I promise you’ll dig it.