Why does your content look the same as everyone else in industry?

It’s a question that really puzzles me. Along with ‘why do some businesses try to mimic the market leader?’ or, ‘why do B2B companies continue to use awful stock photography of people pretending to be businesspeople?’ or, ‘why do travel companies persist with blue filters?’.

At the risk of sounding like my five-year-old daughter: why, why, why?!

The thing is you should not be doing any of these. Let me explain. Last year, immediate future undertook a research paper for the travel industry. We discovered there are 70 million travel posts annually. Wow, that’s a lot, you might say – that’s really noisy! We would counter its noisy opportunity. The reason being few of those 70 million posts actually standout. They’re typically washed with blue filters. You cannot depict one location from the next. In fact, we were so confident in this finding we grouped a collection of images together and presented them during a pitch to a travel company. The prospect thought we were showing a case study for a single location. In actual fact, the images spanned South Africa, America, Caribbean, European waterside City Breaks and Asia. Moreover, each image was from a different travel brand. They all looked the same.

Why is this important? No one was ‘tilting their content’. No one was standing out. No brand had explored a point of difference or uniqueness to focus on, to be different from the 70 million-strong crowd. Unlike our school days, it’s not good to be ‘down with the kids’ or whatever phrase is ricocheting around home-school gardens.

By standing out, your garner attention. You pause thumbs, you entice clicks. Clicks lead to destination discovery, which in turn, leads to a brand purchase. By having the same old content as the other 70 million publishers, you’re effectively paying to say “move along. Nothing to see here.”

This problem is not unique to the travel industry. I focused there as it’s the easiest way to paint a compelling picture within a short blog. The B2B industry is equally bad. For some reason way back when someone thought it great to dress up a load of models and get them to pretend to be businesspeople. More worryingly, businesses thought this brilliant. Disclosure: pictures of people doing a cheerleading huddle in the boardroom, or people staged pointing at devices won’t garner attention. You won’t sell your product or service. I mean, do you think these are interesting images?

A content tilt is your band’s way of presenting its content uniquely. It’s ‘tilted’ in a way that is recognisable to industry and prospects. As the marketing playbook would say, by tilting your content you can attack your category, with the ultimate aim of owning the category. And it’s true. You just need to figure out what your point of difference is.

To show you we’re not preaching without helping, how did we crack the travel challenge? Well, we had lastminute.com focus on authenticity. Rather than showing typical tourist eateries in Madrid, we sought to find the most authentic Tapas Restaurant – the place you would only find if a local took you there. We tilted their content to be #NoFilter and authentic. It worked too. Award wins aplenty and bookings galore. Win, win.

B2B is a simpler nut to crack. Don’t use stock images. Ends. Ok, so what can you use? Break from stereotypes for starters. We use a lot of video content with Fujitsu. Video featuring their staff in an interview. If you go and check out any of the live broadcasts we’ve done, you’ll see how we’ve used events to capture compelling and newsworthy content, in an evergreen fashion, so that we can use it throughout the year. A quick edit and it’s good to go. A 10-minute long-form video can give us 5 or 6 short edits. The brilliance of this is it features real people who are showcasing their smarts. Fujitsu helps industries solve challenges – thought leadership – and in doing so, they showcase the smarts of their people. Here’s that phrase again: win, win.

So, let’s loop back to the start. Why are you trying to mimic the market leader? Why does your content look the same as everyone else? Why are you using stock imagery?

Here’s to standing out, and not being down with the kids!

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