The energy sector is known for groundbreaking innovations. From wind turbines to solar panels to off-grid renewable energy, the industry is constantly working to find new ways to supply the world with energy as efficiently and effectively as possible. But that spirit of innovation isn't always evident in the way energy companies market their products and services.
The industry is inundated with text-packed product descriptions and dense info sheets that are next to impossible for the typical consumer to comprehend. And even when organizations want to pursue other forms of marketing, many are daunted by the legal review process, don't have the expertise or time to create high-quality content, or fail to fully understand their customers.
But content marketing can help energy companies more effectively reach their audience, bridge the knowledge gap, and explain their products and services in an accessible, informative, engaging way. On top of that, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs a whopping 62% less.
Whether you're marketing geothermal energy, hydropower, solar electrical energy, or anything in between, content marketing can help you reach the members of your target audience in a way that amplifies their interest in your services. Just look at these examples of energy companies taking advantage of the power of content marketing:
This multinational oil company wants its reputation to be rooted in protecting and preserving the environment by creating programs and technologies that minimize greenhouse gas emissions. So the company launched Eniday, an online magazine that discusses innovations in the energy industry, as well as the people who do the hard work of transforming natural resources into energy. This on-site content is made up of a mix of written content and visual storytelling to educate and inspire its audience on its position that "energy is a good story."
Eniday is chock-full of informative content, but one article that I found particularly interesting is "Inside an oil clinic." This content is educational and fits Eniday's mission of informing its audience about the environmental impacts of the energy industry, but it also gives its audience a closer look at what Eni's oil clinic does — complete with photos.
The takeaway: Especially in industries that might be somewhat foreign to consumers, like energy, giving your audience members a look behind the curtain can boost their trust in your organization because they feel like you're being transparent and authentic.
Stream Energy was named the "Most Innovative Marketer of 2016" at the Energy Marketing Conference for Retailers. The company found an innovative way to reach customers: selling energy by word of mouth. Stream Energy encourages current customers to refer new customers in exchange for discounted — even free — energy. This approach taps into customer-created content to reach a broader audience of potential customers. Plus, the company consistently publishes content to educate its audience on how to cut costs and make more decisions that benefit the environment. All of these efforts build Stream Energy's credibility and enable the company to keep its audience informed and excited about what the company is doing.
Stream Energy's short-and-sweet content provides its audience with sound advice in quick, easy-to-digest posts. "Six Ways to Keep Your Energy Resolutions in 2020" is an example of timely content marketing that's informative and provides value to readers that they can apply to their lives right away. This post gives readers ideas to help them keep their energy-related New Year's resolutions, and it even ties one tip to the Weekly Energy Report, one of the tools Stream Energy makes available to its customers. Doing so allows Stream Energy to help its customers make the most of what it offers while also helping them achieve the goals they've set for themselves.
The takeaway: Providing valuable, educational content for your audience is priority No. 1. But when you can tie in your services in a helpful way, it allows your current and potential customers to make the most of what you have to offer.
Georgia Power has really embraced social media. This Atlanta-based energy firm has a social media center that's located close to the Georgia Power Storm Center and is meant to facilitate accurate, timely social media communication with customers during inclement weather. Even when weather isn't severe, the firm engages with its customers more than 6,000 times a month on social media, answering service questions, helping with payment options, offering up energy efficiency advice, and more. This focus on sharing content with customers on social media allows the company to help its customers become more informed about energy consumption and gain confidence in Georgia Power as a trusted voice in the energy sector.
In addition to its social media posts, Georgia Power regularly shares press releases so media outlets can stay abreast of what the organization is doing. "Power to 112,000 George Power customers restored following Saturday storm" is an example of a press release that provides updates while also serving up valuable information Georgia Power's customers can use. After explaining the power outage, damages, and the fact that power was restored for 112,000 customers, Georgia Power goes on to list tools customers can take advantage of to stay up-to-date, including outage alerts, an outage map, and the Outage & Storm Center.
The takeaway: Keeping your community and your customers posted is important, and press releases can be an effective way to do that. But it's equally important to provide them with information on how they can tap into your services and access the information they need when they need it.
A key component of content marketing is authenticity. And part of that is admitting when you're wrong and doing what you can to make things right.
Duke Energy experienced an ash spill in 2014, as a broken stormwater pipe located beneath an ash basin carried nearly 40,000 tons of ash into the Dan River. When the company rolled out its new website, Illumination, one of its first orders of business was to acknowledge the mistake and let consumers know how Duke Energy was rectifying the situation and moving forward with higher standards for safety than ever before. Today, the site's mix of human interest stories and how-to guides from Duke managers and employees further establish Duke Energy as a trustworthy energy provider.
Duke Energy's Illumination platform aspires to offer up "stories that enlighten, inform, and inspire." Some of the articles on the site provide more in-the-weeds information on energy, but "Tim Hayes protects wildlife while keeping the lights on" is a great example of content that can humanize an energy organization. While readers still want to learn about updates in the energy industry and how to take advantage of Duke Energy's services, they also want to get a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make up the energy organization and actually make those services possible. This article provides an insider's look into a day in the life of a wildlife biologist for Duke Energy Renewables, complete with photos and a video.
The takeaway: Don't shy away from getting personal! Readers want to learn more about the people behind the scenes. Seeing faces and learning more about real people's stories helps customers feel like a part of the organization's mission and makes the organization come across as more authentic, personable, and deserving of trust.
These companies prove that you don't need to be in a "trendy" industry to see the value that content marketing can provide. When companies in all industries find the right content marketing mix for their unique businesses and goals, they can reach their audience in an authentic, engaging way and see the marketing results they're looking for.
I'm a content-obsessed word person with a passion for finding the coziest coffee shop in town. By day, I'm the director of content at Influence & Co. In my downtime, you can find me reading a book, sipping a latte, drawing, hand lettering, or watching "The Office" for the zillionth time.