If anything is expected to take off in the 2020’s, it’s renewable energy. By 2025, experts are expecting the sustainable energy market value to top more than two trillion as more countries invest in solar and wind power.
But this kind of growth isn’t without challenges, especially when it comes to helping people educate themselves about these new technologies. Content plays a huge role in the future of the industry, but it’s not always simple to make that content shine.
That’s why we decided to test the waters and see what industry experts are doing right now to adapt and head toward a brighter future.
What they shared definitely helped shine some light on where the industry is headed, and how you can keep up with your content.
Insight #1. Sourcing High Quality, Niche-Specific Content Is Key
“In our work with solar companies we have provided both on-site content in the form of blogs and whitepapers as well as off-site link building campaigns. One of the more difficult aspects, particularly for solar is finding quality niche-specific publishers willing to take our guest content for their publication with appropriate links back to our clients’ websites.
Finding quality writers at reasonable rates to create on and off-site content is perhaps one of the easier aspects of content marketing. Sourcing quality, niche-relevant sites at scale for solar clients has proven to be the biggest challenge. We can always write the content at large scale, but when performing outreach to relevant sites where have a solar-related article published our outreach teams can often run into issues with finding enough publishers to create enough backlink distribution. for the sites.
The solution to this is establishing better systems and processes for outreach and then playing rinse and repeat to acquire them. Then we have to continue to create quality content for them so as to keep them for future client use.”
“Writing this type of content has two main challenges. The first being that, the way different energy products and plans can be implemented vary broadly across different counties and cities. So, sometimes it’s near impossible to write an exhaustive article informing readers of any use of a particular method.
On the one hand, this means that you can have an endless supply of articles to write. On the other, I always worry about how the tone of these articles come across — full of qualifiers and wishy-washy — and how they might direct readers away from your website to find out for themselves if the information applies to them.
The second challenge is writing content that is informative and in-depth but not dry. Hitting the tone of the articles is, therefore, very difficult, as it is a delicate balance between what may make for a dense read — full of stats, figures and calculations across a variety of fields — and comprehensible enough for a large swathe of the general public to read.
Another small challenge that’s related to this is that the content you’re writing about might not necessarily be one that the writer is themselves knowledgeable about. Thus, bringing a new writer to your team, or hiring an agency to write the article, might require some work on your part to train/inform the staffer fully of the topic and to fact-check the articles before publishing to ensure that they have not misunderstood any numbers or jargon.”
Rhea Henry—Digital Content & Communications Specialist for Energyrates.ca
Insight #2. Find Affordable Writers Who Understand Complex and Highly Niche Info
“I run an SEO agency that works exclusively with contractors. Some of our clients are solar panel installation specialists.
Our number one issue with getting content written for the solar industry is that we need it in a very specific niche of it that not a lot of people know about, or are at least knowledgeable enough to confidently write about.
Since our clients don’t particularly want non-work-related solar content on their websites and look for things specific to solar panel installation content, we’ve found it hard to find writers that can meet these needs. We don’t specialize in this specific niche either, so writing the content our selves can be difficult at times.
While we do work with our clients to write it, sometimes they’re so busy that it isn’t possible to do this on a scalable level. We haven’t found a correct solution to this issue either. While we could consult with someone that does this work to do it at a scalable level, the high cost they would charge would more than likely outweigh the benefits.”
Mark Soto—Founder of Contractor Sprout
“The biggest challenge with creating content is that solar is a pretty complex topic. It’s tough to find people who not only know the science, but can also write for our audience.
Also, for the products we talk about, there are not always easily accessible data points showing what types of solar cells they’re using, how long it takes to charge the device, etc., so we often have to estimate or run tests to find the missing information.
For this site, we’ve stuck with a couple of writers who have knowledge of the industry and who have done a lot of research for us already.
A couple of tips:
We got our writers to do some research-intensive posts at the start, so they would have a broad understanding of the basics of how solar and renewable energy works, that they could apply to the other articles.
We created a content calendar that had multiple months of content on it, and then drip-fed pieces to our writers, usually 5 topics at a time. That ensured that they would have constant check-ins with the editorial team as they progressed, but also gave them enough time to work on their own without needing to give them a new topic every day.
We also set up a very comprehensive brief and SOP process, so the writers were almost writing from a template by the time they had gone through our processes and briefs.
Again, fact checking has been the biggest issue, but we’re confident in our team now, and it’s paid off sticking with our experts, rather than using a variety of different writers for this project.
We’re currently on a brief content hiatus as we focus on promotion and outreach, but we posted about 30-35 articles over 5 or 6 months. Not a huge amount on this site, but we’re also managing a few other projects, so we’ve done probably 100+ pieces over the past 10-12 months across our portfolio.”
Insight #3. Keep Up With The Fast Pace of the Industry
“I’m in charge of the marketing at Spirit Energy, a UK based installer of solar PV and battery storage systems. Content is the core part of our marketing efforts – it’s how we communicate with new and existing clients, and demonstrate our expertise..
We publish at least one blog post per week, alongside keeping our knowledge bank and downloadable whitepapers up to date. For me the main challenge in our industry is that things are always changing so rapidly – particularly the technology and government policies. But this also sustains a steady stream of fresh content and keeps us on our toes!”
“I am the Chief Executive Officer of Energy Seek, and as a small business owner who has an in-house team that consistently develops energy-based content, there is one challenge which they face on a regular basis.
In my experience, producing great content in a limited time period is a constant challenge. It takes a considerable amount of time to research a new topic enough for my team to feel confident enough to start creating quality content. This is the same across newsletters, landing pages and social channels.
By building relationships and communicating with others in the field, we have cut our development time in half, amplified our reach and dramatically increased the numbers of people using our service. Give it a try – it works!”
Insight #4. Build Reliable Sources of Data For The Industry
“We create content for Solar Energy based blog for our client where we share everything about Solar & Sustainable Energy. Encouraging users to use more of Solar energy-based products.
We face issues in collecting data and information about solar energy-based products. As of now, we don’t find much content on the web about the same. We take user opinions and feedback regarding Solar Energy usage and why they don’t use it? Based on it, we create and curate content.
Sustainable energy is the future and we believe it everyone will shift towards solar energy and other forms of sustainable energy.”
Insight #5. Win Stakeholder Engagement And Keep Content Production Up
“Our agency, Benson SEO, has worked for years with a large Engineering, Procurement and Construction company and recently with a Geothermal Heating and Cooling company for residential homes.
In our experience, the challenges with creating content for sustainability topics is less about the content creation process, and more about the stakeholder engagement and hurdles of working with a larger company — so more traditional challenges with larger teams.
With our EPC client, they have a long history, and quite frankly, a lot of red tape in the way of getting new content created efficiently. Lot’s of sign-offs from many stakeholders.
For our smaller Geothermal heating company, we haven’t had challenges at all. They are a more digitally savvy and agile company, and since their industry is fairly new, they don’t have to find new ways to convey the same messaging, much as you would at an older and entrenched company. We are able to focus on what we do best — researching the content topics their target audience is turning to Google to search for, and optimizing content to match that behavior, while the client can focus on writing the full content pieces.
We prefer to let the experts write the content based on our research, as that’s been a much better method than trying to write on their behalf, and certainly better than outsourcing. We’re able to write content outlines and optimization for their audience personas at high (What is Geothermal heating?), middle (Geothermal Tax Credits), and low (How much does [Brand Name] heating cost?) funnel levels, and engage with the client on why that matters for content marketing, SEO and conversion optimization.
So really, it comes down to the flexibility and understanding of your client on why content marketing is important for delivering real business metrics like sales and revenue versus just rankings and clicks.”
Start Creating Powerful Content For The Solar & Sustainability Industries
Successful content for Solar and Sustainability businesses is a key part of the industry’s bright future, and now’s the time to start thinking about how you plan to contribute.
If you’re in the market for a content solution and your business is part of the sustainability industry, we have some good news:
Seriously, just check out some of our writers’ samples for your industry, and start imagining all the content you can start creating with us:
- The Solar Technologies That Will Change Your Home
- Why You Should Winterize Your Sprayer
- Teaching Kids About Sustainability With Handmade Crafts