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No Such Thing As Boring: Cleveland, SEO, And The Power of Content

One of the most popular things to do in Cleveland is hate on Cleveland. I don’t know why, but it’s true — ask almost any Clevelander on the street, and they’ll tell you that Cleveland is one of the worst places in the world. In fact, there’s a series of pretty classic YouTube videos on the subject. The owner has disabled embedding, so I can’t post it right here for you, but here’s a link [NSFW] to my favorite — mostly because it mentions my other hometown at the end.

It’s relevant to SEO because so many times, I hear clients griping about their particular industry or sector like there’s nothing exciting that can be said about it — and just like the people who actually love Cleveland, SEO guys don’t really have a good response to that. They say “My niche is boring, how am I supposed to create exciting content for insert topic here?”, and the response they get is “…”.

That’s awful. I’m not saying that SEO people should be obligated to come up with entire content strategies for their clients (though the ones that can and do are awesome), but you should be able to at least come up with some basic ideas. To that end, here are a few examples of creative content in some really seemingly-awful niches.

Will It Blend is BlendTec’s amazing series of videos that turn what appears to be a ‘mere’ industrial-grade blender into a source of endless entertainment. They’ve blended magnets, cell phones, hockey pucks, marbles, and all manner of other crazy items. Who would have guessed that an innocent kitchen appliance could create so much fun content?

You probably remember these — this series of commercials was so popular that even Sesame Street did a parody of it. The “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” videos completely shook up the cologne industry for a few years and put Old Spice back on top with authority.

I know I’ve mentioned it a couple of times before, but this is an instant classic and it deserves more watching. SHAVING just got sexy. Can you think of a niche more boring than cutting thousands of tiny hairs off of your face every day?

I think you get the idea. So how you do go about coming up with truly cool content like that for a niche that’s truly dry? Here’s a couple of ideas:

Be A Dot Connector
People love to have things explained to them, particularly in ways that they didn’t see coming. Freakonomics was an insanely popular book about (yawn) economic principles because it showed you how you could use basic economics to explain things like why standardized testing was a horrible idea.

Introduce a Mystery and Then Solve It
Once you ask someone a question they find relevant, most people find it difficult not to find a solution. If you promise a solution is upcoming, they’ll find it challenging to look away until the mystery is resolved. Ask yourself why Law & Order was the longest-running TV show in the world, and why CSI has more offspring than Brady Bunch.

There are dozens of other little tricks and tactics for turning a dry niche into clever content, of course — the most important thing you can do is let go of your attachment to the importance of your particular product or service and branch out into content that your audience will love.

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