Kooks, wingnuts, and odd ducks: eccentrics, or your brand’s most loyal champions?
The phrase weird doesn’t have quite the same connotation as it did 25 years ago, before the explosion of the internet. At that time, weird tended to refer to someone who was generally considered undesired and outside the norm.
Today, however, we live in a world where that label has become a far more common, self-applied badge of honor that implies a sense of individuality and independence. What led to this change, and how will it impact the future of content?
A Matter of Choice
In a consumer-driven market economy like our own, the idea of what’s normal has a lot to do with our consumer options and choices. Back when the Sears & Roebuck catalogue dominated the sphere of mass marketing, your options as a consumer were relatively limited. That is to say, most people purchased similar things from similar retailers.
The mediums for selling these standardized products — magazines, newspapers, radio — were all carefully controlled by marketers to dictate consumer taste.
The rise of the internet, however, has changed everything. One of the web’s hallmarks is that there are scant barriers to entry for anyone to produce, sell, and advertise their products and services. With the virtually unlimited options available to the online consumer — especially in terms of online content — we’ve seen a radical democratization of choice.
Items are no longer chosen for consumers, but rather, consumers can choose whatever they want. In this way, choices for online consumption are heavily tied to buyers’ identity — their own brand of personal weirdness.
Strike Boldly and Weirdly
When it comes down to it, the simple truth is that consumers want to be themselves. What this really means is that readers have literally no reason to consume your content, buy your product, or care about you in the slightest unless they actually like what you have to offer — “As a #brand, your #content must resonate with your customers’ own brand of #weird.” your content must resonate with their own brand of weird.
As entrepreneur and author Seth Godin has noted, this appeal to individuality is critical in understanding the difference between more traditional, mass-marketed content and a more specific, niched product, according to Econsultancy.
It’s the difference between generating generic content that’s too bland to be offend anyone (and then coaxing the SEO bots to relay that content to as many eyeballs as possible), and creating highly unique, original dispatches that attract a much more dependable consumer base. Though this strategy risks alienating some consumers, it ultimately appeals to the consumers who will actually connect personally to your brand.
A Brave New Weird
In the rapid-fire realm of web traffic, things change in the blink of an eye. If consumers don’t care about your content, they’re one click away from never engaging with it again. So it’s critical that your consumers’ interactions with your content are meaningful.
How do we make this happen? Here, every company must honestly assess their values and objectives to find their weird. Striking sparks with bold and unique content is obviously challenging, but the rewards are manifold and long-lasting.
Take comfort: there are literally millions and millions of users on the internet, so if you pitch your unique voice into the void, you can be sure that you’ll hear something back.
It’s this conversation between like-minded weirdos that will carry your company confidently through the uncertainty of the web, building sustainable relationships along the way. Relying on SEO alone is like relying on the weather — it’s just not that dependable. Find your own niche in the world wide web, remember that conversation takes active participation, and be sure to make it weird.
Longneck and Thunderfoot offer content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into an authoritative trade publication. Click to learn more about how to produce great content and prove ROI on your marketing efforts.
(Main image credit: a4gpa/flickr)