Yes, I have a favorite client. I said it. The cat’s out of the bag.
This client isn’t my favorite because he’s zany or insightful or kind (although he is all those things). I like working with this client because doing work for him feels more like a collaboration than a job.
When we first started working together though, he kind of terrified me.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s a very sweet man! However, he made it very clear from the beginning that he was looking for content that changes paradigms. His content strategy vision was to make people think about business topics in an entirely new way.
I was so used to writing within strictly assigned parameters that I wasn’t sure I could deliver what he wanted. I also doubted whether I had the skills needed to create content that could genuinely make people change their way of looking at traditionally straightforward topics.
In the years since, we have developed an enjoyable partnership that has produced highly valuable content for each of his target audiences. What I’ve learned along the way is that creating paradigm shifting content requires deliberate effort from content marketers.
If you’re looking for ways to expand your online content strategy, use these tips to create content that forces people to think:
From an optimization perspective, the days of broad, catch-all content are over. Search engines have adapted their algorithms to give authority to content that’s written for readers instead of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), consistently prioritizing engaging, helpful, and actionable content. So, while some SEO professionals still advise clients to produce mass consumption content, most realize that this is an outdated practice and believe that focusing on specialized topics for niche audiences is far more effective.
Content that goes deeper instead of wider can change paradigms – establishing authority, building brand buzz, and attracting a more loyal following as a result.
There’s very little value in creating content that many people will skim casually. Real value comes from niche content that fewer people will read fervently – devouring it, saving it, and sharing it. Instead of trying to create content that will appeal to as many people as possible by peppering generalized topics with related keywords, dig deeper to craft a message that will resonate with your target audience by:
- Getting ultra-specific about a narrow topic
- Breaking down the nitty gritty details of a difficult task
- Exploring common misconceptions
- Seeking to understand new industry regulations or requirements
- Interviewing multiple experts and comparing their experiences and recommendations
- Uncovering the reasoning behind traditional advice
It’s undeniable – controversy gets attention. Controversial content attracts readers and gets shared, which is reason enough to consider dabbling in this area to spark your content strategy. But aside from the potential to go viral, controversy also forces readers out of their comfort zone to elicit emotions and start a dialogue. Subsequently, controversial content can change paradigms when done tastefully.
Taking a controversial stance is not for every business and may not be appropriate in every industry, but it’s a strategy worth considering for organizations that want to change paradigms. Remember, the goal isn’t to shock or anger people, it’s to kickstart the conversation and bring new perspectives to light that will give readers a different lens use when looking at a topic.
You don’t have to affirm the controversial stance either! You certainly can. But you can also refute it with evidence or expert opinions, or simply explore it among a longer list of possible positions.
Target a Different Demographic
Sometimes changing paradigms isn’t about what you say as much as who you say it to.
Simply taking a topic you already know well or have explored previously to a new audience can result in a paradigm shift. Changing your target demographic can give authority to the underrepresented, staring new conversations, bridging gaps, and creating empathy within and between organizations. This is especially evident in industries where groups are siloed, restricting access to others’ perspectives, pain points, and victories.
Even people in the same professions that are at different career levels can become an entirely new demographic to target. Directing technical content at executive leadership or taking managerial content to entry-level employees adds a twist that can help to alter paradigms as new demographic groups are able to look at topics from a different viewpoint. The same is true across various experience levels regardless of job titles.
Make it Actionable
Perhaps the most overlooked way to change paradigms with your content is to provide some unexpected next steps. It’s always recommended to leave readers with an action plan of what to do next. However, most content publishers simply direct readers back to their own resources or product/service offerings in closing. Instead of writing content solely as a lead generation or sales strategy, use your content to create action. That action may be a call for innovation, partnership, policy change, informal collaboration, or any other surprising conclusion. Provide the next steps and resources needed for readers to be successful in whatever subsequent action should be taken.
Tell us why you want to change paradigms! We want to hear more. What are your content goals? Where are you in your content strategy? What have you tried so far? What kind of success have you seen? Start the conversation with us below or shoot us an email. We’d love to chat with other business owners, copywriters, marketers, and content brains to discuss collaborating!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and two children and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!