Let’s face it, there are a lot of risk-averse content marketers out there. Rather than forge a new path and venture into uncharted waters, many of us would rather invest in content marketing strategies that are tried-and-true.
From an ROI standpoint, this makes sense. Stealing the competition’s content marketing strategies is a smart way for organizations to maximize their marketing budget.
Unfortunately, using the same strategies as everyone else comes at a cost. If you don’t take a few risks with your content marketing, you could be holding your business back from making a real impact on your audience.
As the saying goes, with great risk comes great reward. Here are a few compelling reasons why you should be bolder with your content marketing:
Overcome a Crowded Market
Creating true value with your content marketing isn’t easy in today’s saturated market. Users are now bombarded with content at every turn.
But by taking a leap of faith with your content marketing, you can potentially increase your content’s chances of going viral. Take Charmin, for example. The family-friendly brand took a big risk when they sent out a tweet using potty humor. Today, it has racked up 2.6K retweets and 2.1K likes.
Why did it work so well? Charmin tied their potty humor into the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, which helped elevate its exposure to the right audience at the right time. This is called newsjacking, and while it can potentially backfire for some brands, it can also be extremely effective at boosting your content’s visibility.
Humanize Your Brand
As businesses grow, they can begin to lose their human side and give off a cold and corporate vibe to consumers instead. This often makes it difficult for people to relate to their business.
By being bolder with your content marketing, you can humanize your business and make it much easier for your audience to connect with your business. For example, leveraging live video is considered a gamble because unscripted moments can happen. Writing about controversial topics can also be a risky strategy, but it can pay off big time with proper execution.
GAP is proof that writing about risky topics is a gamble worth taking. The clothing store posted a photo to social media showing a mom breastfeeding a child and used the simple hashtag, #NormalizeBreastfeeding.
Brands have taken on the topic of breastfeeding before with poor results. GAP’s content worked because they knew their audience and weren’t afraid to take on a difficult topic.
Tell Better Stories
Robert Frost said it best: “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” If you aren’t surprised by your content, then your audience won’t be either.
Some of the best content marketing risks are ones that shock people. The Dollar Shave Club regularly takes their audience by surprise with their strange and crude sense of humor. In addition to their absurd video advertisements, they regularly use the F-bomb and believe that using it is good for one’s health.
The best stories are ones which take a risk and dare to be different. Allow your creativity to shine through with your content and your audience will gobble it up.
Leave a Lasting Impression on Your Audience
Can you recall the last piece of content you consumed? In the internet age, even useful and entertaining content is likely to be forgotten within a matter of minutes, days, or weeks if you’re lucky.
When done right, taking a content marketing risk can keep your brand message top of mind for years. Consider Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, which is still praised nearly 15 years after its launch!
Although it was a significant risk at the time, Dove’s campaign changed the conversation about female beauty with the release of its 2006 video, “Evolution.” The viral video demonstrated how our perception of beauty has been manipulated and now has just under 20 billion views on YouTube.
Of course, there is the underlying fear that our content will be remembered for the wrong reasons. But this fear shouldn’t hold content marketers back from providing real value to not only their target market, but to audiences everywhere.
Tips for Taking More Content Marketing Risks
To state the obvious, taking risks is scary. Stepping outside our comfort zones is difficult because we are hard-wired to be risk-averse.
But according to research, it’s also true that people who are prone to taking calculated risks are smarter and more successful. The keyword here being calculated.
Ready to take a chance on your content marketing? Here are a few ways to feel more comfortable the next time you take a leap of faith:
Target the right audience. Your out-of-the-box content marketing strategy may target a demographic that differs from your usual target market. Be strategic with who you target to so that the right people consume it.
Add value to the conversation. Risk-taking is good only when it makes sense. Avoid taking risks just for the thrill of it and be sure to always add value to your audience. Before you publish your content, ask yourself how taking the risk will help achieve your goal.
Learn how to pitch your idea. If the C-suite isn’t buying your out-of-the-box thinking, consider how you’re pitching the idea. Few people will take a risk without seeing the connection to your brand. Walk them through your observations and explain how your idea relates to your brand.
Understand why the conventional rules don’t apply to you. How did GAP manage to win big with their breastfeeding ad when taking a stance on breastfeeding is usually a bad idea?
With a target demographic consisting widely of mothers, GAP had a good feeling that this rule didn’t apply to them. They also thought carefully about their execution to best appeal to their audience.
Use the same logic with your own brand to improve your chances of risk-taking success. Why will the risk you take work for you when it hasn’t for other brands? What makes your situation different?
In a world of data and research, trusting your instincts may feel wrong at first. In fact, they might be wrong in some instances—that’s why it’s called a risk.
But you won’t move the needle with your content marketing if you remain firmly inside your comfort zone. Consider making it a goal to invest in new technology, try a tactic not typically used in your industry, or to connect with your audience in an entirely new way. Even in failure, there is value and success.