How to Create Engaging Content for Boring Products

The company I work for sells boring products. Dull. Uninspiring. Necessary.

Our products are completely necessary for so many homes, offices, businesses, etc, that I feel fortunate to be a seller of the mundane.

Your company probably sells boring products or services. It’s unlikely you work for Ferrari or Burberry or Nike. Those products basically sell themselves.

No, you’re probably like me and stuck with boring-but-essential.



I’m often tasked with finding creative ways to write about our products. As we all know, unique content that is interesting, engaging, and relevant is what Google wants these days.

But what the hell is there to write about toilet paper, plastic forks, or wall-mounted soap dispensers? How do I engage the audience who is shopping for toilet bowl cleaners?

Your Audience is the Answer

Consider why your shopper is looking for this particular product. Why would *you* look for this product? Everyone needs toilet paper, but who’s shopping for a case of 72 rolls? Probably someone with a small business who’s looking for a cost-effective, non-sandpaper product.

painful toilet paper

Remember that “engaging” is a relative term. We’re not all writing for

To that end, think about what engages your reader as they shop for a specific item. My company sells products from Cambro. Cambro makes kitchen containers, largely for restaurants or commercial kitchens (not the home).

Who is doing the shopping for these places? Who’s the person behind the computer at the 15-seat café that needs some new iced tea pitchers? Who manages the deli with sliced meats and cheeses and needs covered plastic containers for the cooler?

Think about the audience that you want to read this, and try to answer their questions. “Easy to clean? Safe for commercial dishwashers?” “Fits standard food pans sizes X, Y, Z” “Pour spouts don’t splash ice into glasses while pouring.”


I tried to think outside the box when I wrote an article for protective plastic sheeting. I was scraping the bottom of the bucket for ideas when I thought about famous people who use plastic. Like… Dexter!

That gave me the article: Creating a Proper Dexter Kill Room. Satire, obviously, but it ended up being our most-shared, most-discussed article ever.

Creativity is the Hardest Part

Yes, it’s hard to be creative. On my best days I’m only so-so… but that can be enough. Take a step back from your desk and away from the boring widgets you sell. Think about your potential customers and the things they’re trying to solve when they buy your widget. Think about atypical uses for your widgets, whether amusing or pop culture or otherwise.

Literally Everyone Poops, and the guy who wrote that probably made a bundle on it. You can do the same for your company’s widget. Maybe.

“Crappy” Marketing: My Banned Medical Glove Ad

Last year I created (what I thought was) a clever advertisement for Duracell batteries.

The company I work for,, sells a ton of different products and one of them is Duracell batteries. What’s more, we have a co-op agreement with Duracell so as a marketer I have extra incentive to try to sell more batteries.

The wiser heads prevailed and it was decided to not use my ad creative, despite the support I received from friends and colleagues.

Well I’m not one for learning on the first go-around, and I decided to create another ad! This time the product is medical gloves.

This one didn’t win support from the C-suite either, but I’m fighting for it! :)


Also – I know I’m not a wizard at Photoshop. If I’d gotten approval, I would have shipped the concept to someone with a lot more talent!

It was still fun to make, and stay tuned for another one coming soon…

The Duracell Ad They Wouldn’t Let Me Use

I had a really clever idea for an ad for my company to promote battery sales during the holidays.

The trouble is, the ad is a little risqué (prudes!) and draws on some copyrighted images. (Oops! Damn lawyers.)

So while I won’t get to use it in an official capacity, I still felt proud of the concept.

Hit the jump to see the ad, and try not to judge my Photoshop skills too harshly. I had to hack this thing together with my VERY limited experience!

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Why I Would Buy Amazon Stock Today

Nov. 09, 2013 UPDATE: Since I wrote this post, Amazon is up 40%.

I wrote this opinion over on my Motley Fool CAPS profile, and feel strongly enough about it to share here.

Today, Amazon’s share price is about $258. It has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 316, which is enough to at least cause a second glace.

But there’s more to investing than a single metric, and I happen to believe AMZN has a long way to go before it hits its ceiling.

Here’s why:

Long term, they just have too much going on. Ignoring their hugely popular, widely successful cloud commuting enterprise, let’s consider online commerce alone.

US eComm sales totaled $194.3 billion in 2011. It’s expected to grow another 12-15% in 2012.

Guess who’s at the top of the heap (U.S.)? AMZN did $28.7B in online sales in 2011 – a 56% leap from year prior. Think they’ll do even better in 2012? You bet.

Online merchants are CONSTANTLY battling against Continue reading

Marketing Yourself: The Online Dating Challenge

I recently signed up for eHarmony in an effort to kick my dating life into gear. My career keeps me busy, and short of a serendipitous encounter at a bar or the beach, I’m probably not going to meet many eligible women in my day-to-day.

Creating a profile is easy enough…answer twenty million questions about yourself and eHarmony will begin sending you matches. Voila!

While I may work in marketing, I hate marketing myself. Or, I hate marketing the non-professional side of me.

I have my elevator speech down pat if I’m at a conference or networking event. I can wax poetic about the benefits of a tightly integrated CMS for eCommerce marketing, or how Google PLA is killing Adwords, but if asked to name what other people first notice about me, I draw blanks.

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