Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Content Experiment in Corporate Blogging – Introduction to the IoT Confessions Series

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I firmly believe it’s critical to have a mixture of content styles when it comes to corporate blogging. All too often, companies seem to hang their hats on creating blog content that is either very “marketing-y” or very technical. And, frequently these articles focus on a lot of chest-thumping. They tend to be very inwardly focused, talking about products or services and their benefits and only that. There is a time and place for this type of content. It must be done. But other approaches may be equally successful or even more so.

The other side of the coin is taking more of a customer-focused approach, talking about pain points, providing education and guidance on how to be successful.   This is almost the polar opposite of the previous style. It is more about understanding the customer or reader and writing to help them. Solution-oriented articles are an excellent approach to consider as they are a bit further away from “talking about me” (the company) and more “talking about you” (the customer).

Other tactics are proven to be extremely successful as well. Being personal and telling a story is another example. While storytelling is an “easy” way to do this, that is, easy to say you are going to do, but hard to execute in a way to get good engagement. 

Mix Up Your Corporate Content Style

There is another approach to “mixing things up” that I feel is important to pursue. I believe companies should embrace other types of writing styles. Often, this can be achieved through having a variety of authors, allowing them to explore more creative approaches, and even letting them bend the rules a bit (assuming the corporate and brand guidelines allow for it – but that is another topic for discussion).

Here’s an example of “mixing things up.”

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Towards the end of 2018, the company I worked for launched an IoT solution. We produced the usual content: white paper, solution brief, web page, and some high-level, solution-related articles. It was a good, basic launch plan.

But I started thinking that there had to be a way to cut through the already cluttered content marketplace for IoT.  

Many years ago, I was told that sometimes it is better to zig when others are zagging. Sometimes this approach works. Other times, it doesn’t. But if you don’t try, you can’t grow or improve. Or even know if your idea would work or not.

In terms of IoT content, there is a lot of it. So much so, your eyes will glaze over after a while. I wanted to do something that was unique and different, something that would maybe stand out a bit.

A Script as a Blog Article Format

IoT Confessions Series - example of different styles of content

So I came up with a story concept. And I called it the “IoT Confessions” series. 

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Here is what I envisioned:

  • Each article would take the form of a movie or TV script
  • It would be a 3-part series:
  • Based on the “level” of “actor,” their conversation style would change
  • Starting with the Boardroom script, each subsequent script would build upon the other
  • All characters would be as generic as possible to hopefully allow readers to imagine them in their own company
  • Each article would contain subtle links to products or services while also providing industry-relevant information
  • Based on the success of the series, the “template” could be applied to other product or solution offerings in a similar format

Unfortunately, the series never saw the light of day, until now. I am publishing the first two “Confessions” merely as an example of how you can mix things up in your corporate blog content. While I mind-mapped the concepts for all three scripts, I only wrote the first two. (Screenwriting is much, much harder than I ever thought).

I hope you enjoy these two “scripts” (IoT Confessions from the Boardroom and IoT Confessions from the War Room). Do leave me a comment with any thoughts or ideas you may have.

  • Have you tried similar approaches to mixing up your content?
  • Does the company you work for allow for deviations from the “script” so to speak?
  • Or are you required to follow content style guides?

The point here is that you don’t always have to write “corporate-styled” articles. Assuming the company you are writing for allows for some creativity, try to push the boundaries a bit. It’s not only fun, if successful, it could be extremely rewarding for all parties.

HTD says: When it comes to writing corporate content, dare to push the boundaries and test out new tactics and strategies. Remember, there is nothing wrong with trying and failing as long as you learn from your mistakes and don’t make them again. But if you don’t try, you will never know if you could have been successful.

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