Solar energy and content marketing go hand in hand. With a wide variety of content assets to choose from, solar companies can easily create strategic campaigns to engage targeted customers in the business-to-business, business-to-consumer and business-to-enterprise sectors.
But don’t take our word for it – take Thom’s.
Senior Writer Thomas Murtagh counts himself among the many Brafton creatives who have produced content for solar energy companies over the years. Currently, Thom serves two clients operating in the solar energy space. One is a solar panel manufacturer headquartered in China, with offices spanning the globe. The other is a U.S.-based solar energy distributor concentrating on the American Southwest.
“Solar industry clients are among my favorite to write for,” Thom said. “It feels like there is a purpose behind what we’re writing. We’re making a difference beyond helping our clients grow their business and build brand awareness. In the end, the people who [do business with our solar clients] are contributing to a better world, at least in my opinion.”
Of course, client needs come first when determining the direction of content. While one of Thom’s solar clients is big on sustainability, reducing carbon footprints and the corporate advantages of eco-friendliness, the other is focused on regional visibility and the benefits provided to end-user consumers.
The former is concerned with thought leadership and becoming a go-to resource for solar information. The latter is laser-focused on search engine optimization and boosting organic traffic.
Seeking solar SME
Thom actually came to the table with his own solar energy knowledge, having studied sustainable urban development in college.
However, as is standard practice at Brafton, he spent his first few weeks getting better acquainted with both clients and the solar industry through an in-depth kick-off process that includes interviews with company stakeholders, reviewing existing client collateral and performing research regarding the solar industry as a whole.
From the beginning, Thom knew his biggest challenge would be writing about an inherently technical industry in a way that engaged and interested audiences.
“Solar panels are durable and reliable, and once they’re put on a roof, it’s pretty much out of sight and out of mind, but there are still a lot of technical aspects to discuss,” Thom said. “From energy conversion to construction and how they’re made. Making those things engaging [while still focusing on technical accuracy] is always the hardest challenge.”
Along with having different goals and audiences, Thom’s solar clients also differ on their approach to content marketing.
“For one, we just worked closely with the client to develop a robust content calendar that went throughout the year,” Thom said. “Our day-to-day at the company had a very clear idea of what she wanted and when she wanted it. We made sure we were hitting all their verticals and delivering all the content they wanted, engaging commercial and residential consumers as well as industry thought leaders.”
However, his other solar client was seeking something a bit more free-form.
“While we base the writing on specific keyword research, [this client] just likes anything that’s fun and engaging,” Thom continued. “We’ve been doing blogs and video content. They love the engagement opportunities of video.”
Beyond blogs and video, Thom has also seen firsthand how effective graphics can be for the solar industry.
“Visuals are great,” he said. “Showing the process, how it all works. Solar systems lend themselves very well to visual representation.”
Swimming with the current
Ask any Brafton creative what they like about their job, and you’re sure to hear about the chance to learn about so many different industries through content marketing. Solar is no exception.
“[Something I learned right away was] how popular solar is,” Thom said. “The solar industry now employs more people than the coal, gas and oil industries combined. It’s growing so quickly. People who have lost jobs in other energy industries, the skill set is easily transferable.”
Brafton writers, designers, videographers and account managers must also become experts in what’s trending in any given industry.
“There’s a lot right now about how the solar industry can subsume lost jobs,” Thom continued. “How cheap solar is becoming. The price of solar per megawatt is dropping exponentially what seems like every quarter.”
Thom has even uncovered research showing the psychology behind some of solar’s growth.
“I came across a study that shows solar panels are contagious,” he said with a laugh. “People who see panels in their neighborhood are more likely to get it for their own house. They get to see how it looks, hear about it from neighbors. It also adds to that ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality.”
Based on Thom’s research, one thing is certain: The solar energy industry will not be running out of news to write about anytime soon. From technological advancements to increasing adoption rates, solar represents the future, not just a trend.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the coming years,” Thom said, smiling.
“Interesting” is an understatement.