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It’s that time of week again for us to review our editorial calendar and plan our next set of blog posts, infographics and other content marketing assets to share with our audience. Here at Curata we always start by analyzing what impact our past content has had on engagement and our marketing and sales pipeline, and then we review our content marketing pyramids to optimize reuse of our big studies and identify new creation ideas.
However, one thought always nags at me: How do we add value to as much of our audience as possible without diluting our content? That is, if we develop a specific piece of content that’s for everybody, then it will be for nobody. Seth Godin captured this concept in expert fashion in a book published a couple of years ago entitled “We Are All Weird”.
Seth’s book was, in his usual fashion, an easy and entertaining read; with many strong messages for digital marketers. First of all, by “weird” he is referring to people that are different by choice versus by nature.
Seth identifies four key forces in our lives today that enable all of us to be as weird as we want:
1. Power of the “pen”
Seth describes this as “creation is amplified.” Anyone can publish anything that they’d like across the Internet; and there’s no doubt that many people look at themselves in the mirror and see the next Ernest Hemingway or Emily Dickinson. Superstar marketers have taken advantage of this opportunity to connect with their audience through business blogs. (fyi, here’s a survey about key success factors for business bloggers with 10,000+ page views)
“Rich allows us to do what we want, and we want to be weird.” We have lots of disposable income and time, and companies have been more than willing to cater to our increasingly eclectic desires and interests.
3. Power of marketing
“Marketing is far more efficient (today) at reaching the weird.” We could be traveling through the desert, far from civilization; however, with a PC and a mobile phone, marketers can still reach us.
4. Availability and impact of community
The Emergence of “Weird”
No matter what your interests may be, you can find many folks across the Internet who will share your passions. As a content marketing practitioner, I see this evident in the number of communities on LinkedIn dedicated to content. In a search for groups about content marketing, I get a list of 1,176 results. (e.g., Content Marketing Forum; Mobile Content; Content Marketing Institute; Content Marketing Group; Content Wrangler Community) If I want to learn about content marketing, then there are a wealth of eBooks, infographics, videos and blog posts published by a plethora of content marketing tools vendors and other industry experts. (e.g., The Ultimate List of Content Marketing eBooks, The Ultimate Infographic of Infographics)
Traditional marketers had it easy. Identify a segment (or two) of your market; put together a marketing communications strategy; hire a great advertising firm; pick a handful of media outlets to buy advertising space; and then start writing checks. Ok, it wasn’t quite that simple; however, there’s no doubt that our options for spending marketing dollars are much wider today with many more media outlets to choose from and an endless choice of digital marketing investment opportunities. But more importantly, it’s much more difficult to identify your target segments.
Seth Godin argues that you shouldn’t even be targeting segments any longer. With everyone being weird, the best way to connect with people is as individuals. There is no longer a concept of “normal” when looking at an audience. I especially like Seth’s depiction of the new, normal distribution curve presented below.
No longer are we all confined to a set of standards regarding what we buy, what we wear or which communities we join.
To be a best-in-class marketer today, you need to throw out any idea about the masses, and cater to individuals. There’s no shortage of examples of this in the consumer space: for example, you can buy a customized bobblehead for less than $200. If that’s not weird enough for you, then envision giving your wife a double bobblehead as part of your wedding gift or perhaps for your next anniversary.
How to Get “Weird”
Here are just a few action items for the “average” (sorry Seth) content marketer to cater to the needs of the weird:
Give your audience as many choices as possible.
Don’t throw out your personas just yet. I do believe that there is still value in segmentation and identifying niches. However, do push the boundaries in your ability to identify a greater number of subgroups amongst your personas based upon interests; and strive to give your audience as many choices as possible. (e.g., beginner, intermediate and expert level content; content by vertical, role and geography; different formats of content)
Bring back “creativity” to the act of content creation.
We need to entertain and educate our audience through content, while also differentiating our offering in an increasingly noisy, content marketing environment. Tap into that right side of your brain to inject creativity into your content. Some ideas include:
- Hire a comedian to imbue humor into your content. (read more in this post about content marketing humor)
- Put your content within the context of a story that will touch the weirdness of your readers, or at least expose your own weirdness through your content. (e.g., an infographic about tchotchkes)
- Use images wherever possible. Here are a few resources to find and create images:
- Sites such as memegnerator.net, quickmeme.com, makeagif.com and imgflip.com to find and create memes and gifs.
- Sites such as canva.com and picmonkey.com to design images.
- Brainstorm with your team new ways to reuse your content in more visual and/or interactive formats. (e.g., infographics, interactive quizzes)
Invite guest posters to share their expertise on your blog: Guest posters may bring an expertise to the table that doesn’t exist within your own team, enabling you to bring value to more weird people. In addition, this relieve some of the burden of producing your own content. See the below graphic to find out how business bloggers are using guest bloggers:
Curate third party content.
Sharing the best of what the Internet has to offer will enable you to offer a much wider and deeper set of content for your audience, as well as reducing your burden for content production. The best content marketing practitioners use a content marketing mix of 65% created, 25% curated and 10% syndicated content. (Source: Content Marketing Tactics study) Attend Curata’s upcoming Content Curation 101 webinar to learn more about curation, or see our Resources library.
A microsite is a dedicated site or section of a corporate website populated with created and curated content. Use microsites to provide more relevant and in depth content for your audience. (e.g., IBM’s Big Data and Analytics hub or Verne Global’s GreenDataCenterNews.org)
Ultimately, Seth’s message is that you can either “spend your time and effort betting on mass and the status quo”, or “realize that there are better opportunities and more growth if you market to and lead the weird.”
As you develop and publish your weird content for your weird audience, check out our eBook on content marketing analytics and metrics determine how you’ll measure the impact of this content on your business.