If you are a solar marketer, you might think you are in the renewable energy business, but on the web, you are in the publishing business. As a publisher, in order to be successful, you and your staff must find ways to keep your customers interested and engaged. This is what content marketing is all about.
You’ve probably heard that fresh content is one way to keep things interesting. However, content is like a diet. Even if the broccoli is fresh, if you serve broccoli every day, it’s still broccoli every day. Fresh content alone will not keep your customers engaged. Variety is one of the best ways to keep a diet interesting, and this applies to content marketing as well.
Variety in web publishing includes everything from social media posts to short and long-form writing to photos and videos. You’ve got to have it all. This is what consumers of information expect. But variety of media is just a step in the right direction. There are other types of variety that must be factored into your content marketing efforts.
Here are a few suggestions to generate content and guidelines to do it right.
1. Show your expertise
Your online presence is your place to establish credibility and demonstrate your expertise. Your customers want to be dealing with a company recognized for its capacity to deliver energy reliably and affordably. Consumers want to feel confident that their energy companies are prepared for any crisis.
Providing this assurance to your customers means demonstrating your expertise or access to expertise. Blog posts from executives, engineers and other knowledgeable individuals within your company are great for this purpose. However, you can broaden your impact by soliciting expertise from outside your company in the form of guest blogs.
Consider partnering with other renewable energy providers to share content on each other’s sites.
2. Report on legislative and regulatory news
Renewable energy has come a long way, but continues to face headwinds on almost every front imaginable. Until renewable energy becomes significantly more affordable, solar, wind, geothermal, and energy efficiency companies will face uphill battles to gain traction.
Customers care about these issues from an environment perspective and from a cost perspective. Showing that you are not only aware of and tracking relevant issues locally and nationally, but are also involved is important to many consumers of your services.
Let your customers know what is going on, what you are doing and how they can become involved.
3. Be transparent
In the face of dynamic changes in price or other market fluctuations, transparency is essential to maintaining solid customer relationships over the long term. If you are thinking about keeping a customer through the good times when everything is going smoothly and the not-so-good times when you are dealing with issues outside your control, transparency is key.
As much as possible, communicate issues in advance. Let your customers know what to expect.
4. Take a stand
Climate change is, for many, a hot-button issue that many people and companies avoid for the simple reason that it is controversial to some. Your loyal customers are likely to be more loyal if your corporate values, philosophy of business and purpose for being in business are clearly stated and reflected in your operations.
Know what you stand for and avoid being ambivalent. Don’t try to please everyone.
5. Feature user-generated content
Get your consumers involved and let them tell their stories with testimonials, videos and stunning photography. There is probably an incredible amount of talent in your user base. You probably have customers who are as committed to your values and philosophy as much as you are. Chances are, they would relish the opportunity to be more involved and contribute content.
Get your customers involved. User generated content is one of the most powerful content categories. There’s still nothing like word-of-mouth marketing.
6. Engage with the community
Telling stories is an important aspect of content marketing, and stories that showcase community involvement are important stories to tell for any business. These stories are even more important for renewable energy companies because of their reliance on customers within a geographical area.
Give your customer a chance to voice their opinions and suggestions. Create public forums and discussion boards to engage the expertise that is resident in your community.
Get involved with the communities you serve and showcase this involvement. Engagement and commitment to the long-term are both two-way streets.
– Ivan Serrano, Guest Blogger, Curren Media Group