Eric Wendt

Regardless of industry or aim, the benefits of employing a content marketing strategy are clear.

It’s why 89 percent of business-to-business and 86 percent of business-to-consumer marketers report investing in content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

It’s also why those same marketers overwhelmingly describe their content marketing efforts as either extremely, very or moderately successful in terms of achieving organizational goals.

Marketers in both the B2B and B2C spaces cite content creation as the No. 1 reason for increased business success on a year-over-year basis.

However, not all industries are created equal in terms of content marketing potential. While content strategies can certainly serve businesses of all shapes and sizes, regardless of the market they operate in, specific sectors more easily lend themselves to content marketing success.

Case in point: solar energy.

What sets solar apart?

As seen on CIO, digital marketing specialist Larry Alton outlined why content marketing benefits some industries more than others. The criteria used for measurement included:

  • Consumer problems and questions.
  • Cycles of innovation.
  • Specialized information.
  • Specificity and uniqueness.
  • Online presence.

Alton’s list, seemingly unintentionally, is a perfect fit for the solar energy industry.

Solar consumers have questions. Content marketing has answers.
Solar consumers have questions. Content marketing has answers.

Consumer problems and questions
Whether solar energy companies are providing products and services to other businesses or the general public, it’s guaranteed their audiences will have questions in need of answering. Uncertainties regarding price, installation, environmental impact and more will all be researched online. The company that is best able to answer questions through targeted content creation will automatically be seen as a leader in the space.

Cycles of innovation
The solar energy industry seems to make headlines on a routine basis thanks to continued innovation. These constant breakthroughs breed sustained interest among consumers, and thereby call for content marketing to foster and engage such fascination.

Specialized information
Thanks to these cycles of innovation, particularly concerning technological advances, the solar energy industry is ripe with the type of specialized information that attracts engaged readership and social sharing due to its rarity and freshness. This primes content concerning solar energy for effective audience engagement. Just survey the avalanche of coverage both in the news and on social media regarding Elon Musk’s unveiling of Tesla’s solar roof plans for an example.

Specificity and uniqueness
As Alton pointed out, businesses operating in broad, well-known industries, such as automotive or construction, can be at a disadvantage in terms of content marketing. First, competition is higher, as is the likelihood that a lot of content covering relevant business topics will have previously been created. Fortunately, while solar energy adoption is growing, it is far from on par with other types of product- and service-based industries, making it both specific and unique.

Online presence
Product and service providers, such as solar energy companies, are an ideal fit for cultivating a strong internet presence, as prospective clients are likely to research them online and seek out existing client opinions on review websites. What’s more, solar energy inherently appeals to a tech-savvy market, like the millennial generation, that is eager to hear about new technologies. This audience is quite comfortable engaging with various forms of online content thanks to enthusiastic technology adoption.

“Marketers cite content creation as the No. 1 reason for increased business success on a year-over-year basis.”

The secret ingredient

While solar handily checks off each of Alton’s requirements for industries that benefit most from content marketing, it goes the extra mile with a factor that can best be described as “on the cusp.”

If a product or service is widely used, it increases the likelihood that prospective customers will already have significant knowledge regarding it, even if just by sheer osmosis. And while solar energy usage has seen great strides in recent years, it remains “on the cusp” of full market acceptance. That is to say, while the Solar Energy Industries Association forecasted exceptional growth for the U.S. solar market in 2016, it’s hardly the standard in energy production.

This means that while consumers may understand the basic concepts behind solar energy, they are unlikely to fully comprehend its technology, performance and benefits. Such a scenario creates a market that is intrigued by solar’s potential and very hungry for in-depth content that comprehensively establishes its value and relevance.

Whether through blogs and whitepapers or videos and graphics, the solar energy industry aligns itself perfectly with content marketing. However, solar companies unwilling to invest in strategic content marketing efforts will find themselves missing out on the potential for audience engagement.

Online visibility and outreach is integral to modern marketing. It’s what converts today’s consumers from interested parties to paying customers.

Put simply, even if you’re not taking your content marketing seriously, you can bet your competitor is.