No one links to boring pages. Some of the most important pages in telling a client’s story are as dull as dishwater – and without an iota of passion. Yet somewhere hidden within any client there’s a reservoir of passion that can be used to create passion pieces that will attract links.
There’s passion in any business, small or large. Tap into that passion and you can turn it into a rich source of great content.
So let’s look at some great examples and see what we can learn from them.
1. Clif Bar and Company
Clif Bar manufacture a range of cereal bars and their site makes no secret of their passions. Right on the home page, the first words you find are:
Clif Bar and Company started on a bike ride. Our founder, Gary, took a bite of another energy bar and thought to himself: “I could make a better bar that this”.
Today, we still want to make things better. Our food. Our company. Even our planet.
Beautifully clear, to the point and exuding passion. It continues in “The Story of Clif”- definitely not your average boring "about us" page!
And their passions earn them links and endorsements like this from the Huffington Post:
And now for something completely different – welcome to the craft beer revolution from BrewDog.com. Again, the home page leaves you in no doubt what to expect from this small Scottish Company with a mission:
I love the quote on their home page:
“Taste the hops, live the dream. Learn to speak beer, love fruit and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, movers and warriors - the outlaw elite.”
And another great “about us” page can be found at http://www.brewdog.com/about.
Their passion, anarchy and humor brings them great links as in this article from the Washington Post Extreme beers find a following:
3. Kid Icarus
And how about something much softer - the passion of Kid Icarus, a small neighborhood screen printing shop is captured in this wonderful video:
And their passion brings them to the attention of passing journalists as in this piece on the National Post:
Journalists and writers are always on the lookout for businesses that are somewhat out of the ordinary and therefore newsworthy. Not only can your passion please your customers, it can attract free editorial coverage and links.
Bob Moore built his whole grain business from small beginnings into a multimillion dollar enterprise. Now 81, his passion still permeates the company as you can read in their about us page, Meet The Real Bob.
And his passion for his employees was such that he gave them ownership of his company! That got him this story and link on ABCNews.com:
You’d expect a company like GetSatisfaction.com to have a passion for customer service and they certainly showed it last Valentine’s Day with their “Love your customer awards”:
Not only were the awards central to their business, but the timing with Valentine’s Day was a master stroke.
Warby Parker - our story is a passionate tale of a collaboration between four close friends. The name was inspired by the writings of Jack Kerouac and the company was conceived as an alternative to the overpriced and bland eyewear available today.
The passion displayed on this site is one of my favorites.
How Can You Find Your Client’s Passion?
Like the companies above, some businesses are well aware of their passion and what they want to say about it. However, many more are reticent to tell their full story. You’ve got to charm their passions out of them – that takes time and a little bit of skill.
So how can you do this? Here are some techniques:
- Engage your client in conversation – often outside a formal meeting is best. You’ll want to test the water and build some rapport. One of the best quotes I’ve heard on this comes from a Greek philosopher, Zeno of Citium around 300 BC. He said, “we’ve got two ears and one mouth, and we should listen and talk in the same proportions. So practice being a good listener, ask questions and don’t be afraid of silences. Many people find silences awkward and if you occasionally stay silent for a second or two, your client will want to fill the space - and you can get insights into their passions that you otherwise would not have got.
- Check through your client’s website and company literature – read as much of it as you can and pick out clues as to what their passions might be. Draw up a list and introduce the items into casual conversations.
- I like to use this casual approach first, but then I might get more formal. So go through the trade press, read blogs and news sites on your client’s industry. Draw up a list of say the best 12 topics you can find and arrange a meeting to explore them. Handle that well and you can get a vibrant discussion going – great material on which to base passionate content.
- Ask to see customer service questions, testimonials, praise or criticisms. Explore them with your client. Find out what they love most about working with customers. Ask why customers love doing business with your client? Look for customers that have been with them for years. Suggest you’d like to interview some of these loyal customers or even conduct a customer survey. This creates fantastic opportunities for passion to shine through.
- Ask your client, “if you were going to be interviewed by a top industry journalist or blogger, what questions would you most like to be asked?”
- Have a creative session with your client. If you’ve liked these examples, share them with your client and use it as a basis of discussion. Even better, collect your own examples of good practice and share them.
Initially, it will likely be difficult to get clients talking about their passion. But if you succeed you’ll find it hard to shut them up. And that’s great for your content creation plans.
Have you managed to create great passion pieces around your customer’s stories. If so, please share them below.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!