‘Boring’ is a word that gets thrown around a lot in content marketing. It should be banished to the fiery depths, because there should be no excuse for it, and certainly no place for it, in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s film, online videos, blogging, podcasting, morris dancing, or anything else.
There have been a number of clients over the years who have mentioned their industry or business using this term. It’s great when it happens, because we get to show them exactly why there is no such thing, and then pitch the client ideas that are fun, creative and engaging, that (with any luck) will make them excited enough to hire us, and show them that what we believe is true:
There is no such thing as a boring niche or industry.
A perfect example of this comes from the world of film, and specifically the 2010 David Fincher/Aaron Sorkin collaboration The Social Network, which grossed over $200 million worldwide because Sorkin (who adapted the screenplay from Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires) and Fincher (Seven, Fight Club) didn’t make a film about people Poking each other in university dorm rooms, they created a Greek tragedy that focused on issues of class, sexism and betrayal, all contributing to a masterful example of high drama.
Now imagine being a film executive being pitched a film about the invention of Facebook…
That’s a boring subject to anyone outside of Mark Zuckerberg’s lawyers and anybody outside of the Sorkin/Fincher circle, who had done their research and realised there was an incredibly powerful, dramatic and important story to tell.
“It really didn’t have much at all to do with Facebook itself. I wasn’t on Facebook. I don’t spend a lot of time on the Internet, and social networking wasn’t really part of my life. But the story itself! There are elements of it that are as old as storytelling: friendship and loyalty, class, jealousy, betrayal — all those kinds of things that were being written about 4,000 years ago. It struck me as a great big classic story. And those classic elements were being applied to something incredibly contemporary.”
– Aaron Sorkin in an interview with TIME, September 2010.
And that’s what you need to do to erase the word ‘boring’ from your content: Find the story within your business, industry or niche and tell it in the best possible medium. You don’t need Oscar winners and a Hollywood budget to achieve it either, so don’t panic.
Now let’s focus on how you can do just that, in relation to creating online video content for your business:
What’s Your Story?
Your business didn’t fall from the sky one day (although that would make an amazing online video), you built it, your family built it, maybe you and your best friend built it. Regardless of how it came to be, your business has a story, and that’s where your online video journey begins: Finding the story. Once you start to do that, the word boring slowly fades away.
For example, you could be running a store that makes wooden signs for home and business, and on the surface, you might be scratching your head as to how that becomes remotely exciting on screen. Here are some questions that will instantly change that perception:
- How did your business start? Is it family owned? Did it start here? Have you moved to where your business hails now from somewhere else? If so, why?
- How do you make your signs? Is everything hand-carved and painted by hand?
- Where do you get your materials from?
- What kinds of signs have you made?
- Who have you made signs for?
Once you start asking these questions, all kinds of interesting stories will reveal themselves, including:
- The story of the business
- The hard work and craftsmanship that goes into creating your goods
- The relationships/friendships of the people who work there
- Showing off just how great your good are, of course
The next step is to discuss ways in which your stories can be told. These could be through interviews, short form content, an online advert, tutorial films and more. There are no end to the stories that can be told in any industry or niche, but one thing is for certain…
They should never be boring.