The Originals: Introducing Nonconformist Ideas to Content Marketing

Does crafting another blog post feel cumbersome? Are you pushing the same message over and over on social media? The pressure is on for content marketers to produce the next big thing, but your company’s strategy might be ripe for recalibration.

Interest in content marketing is ever growing. Curata reports that 92% of organizations view content as a business asset. Overall, it is seen as a necessary, if not a top, means to drive sales or leads; engage customers, clients, or influencers; and boost brand awareness.

But there are also signs of the audience getting weary of the information glut. Aside from the staggering amount of blogs, customer satisfaction surveys, pop-ups, etc., they find it difficult to derive meaning and conclusion when these content types are coming from all sides.

As you evaluate your content marketing strategy, you may struggle to find things that have not been said or thought or done. Now, what if you can?

Divergent thinking, or what organizational psychologist and Wharton professor Adam Grant calls original thinking, may hold the key. In this regard, you as the marketer must “fight group think and know when someone is on to a valuable, original idea”.

How do you cultivate this kind of thinking in your team? Here are a few ways:

Slow to get things off the ground 

Do you have a team member who starts late when creating assets, like copy or graphics, and still comes up with some of the most creative and compelling outputs? Do not label this person quickly as a chronic procrastinator.

As Grant puts it in his book named after this type, a lot of Originals are quick to start but slow to finish. While others see it as procrastination, these people see it differently. Delaying tasks is part of their creative process. While that sounds counterintuitive by how productivity hacks go, it points out that something is going on behind the scenes.

It took Leonardo da Vinci 16 years to complete the Mona Lisa. During those years, he diverted his attention to other things. One of those was optics, his knowledge of which transformed the way he modeled light and in turn made him a much better painter.

Now, it is unreasonable to let that team member spend days on a single task. But in brainstorming for your new strategy, it is best to ask him or her for input. This creative turtle may have stumbled upon something while gathering bits and pieces to add to his or her work.

Not everything is set in stone 

Sam Ovens, a 27-year-old entrepreneur who is included in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2017, did not start where he is now. Instead, he grew toward it by going down the path less traveled. He began a consulting business through offering an online course. Later, he also launched a property inspection software startup.

After several years, he realized he had to let go of the software business and focus on the consulting service, which was performing better. Ovens found out that most small business owners in the US are baby boomers who have little to no knowledge of how digital marketing works. So he chose to concentrate on that area. This capacity for flexibility is rooted from his belief that not everything in life is set in stone.

Sometimes, a marketer must welcome this kind of flexibility. You have the responsibility to find the balance between espousing creativity and making decisions that positively affect the company’s bottom line. At its core are the customers who will receive the message and influence sales and revenue trends.

Doubt the default 

There was a study that could predict how people would perform in their jobs based on their browser of choice. According to the results, those who use Chrome and Firefox outperform those who use Safari and Internet Explorer. The first group also stays in their jobs 15% longer.

The point here is not that Safari and Internet Explorer are crappy. It is since Chrome and Firefox are not default browsers, one has to have a bit of resourcefulness to look for and download them onto their computers. “It’s about being the kind of person who takes the initiative to doubt the default and look for a better option,” Grant said.

You will not run out of pre-determined ways to present your content marketing. But to make it original and unique, you should practice doubting the default more. In other words, learn to take apart the dished-out strategies from guides and case studies. And then put together your own.

It sounds easier on paper. Your team will have to combine its brain power as well, and that does not always summon a pretty picture in one’s head. But as you encourage your members to think like nonconformists, you may be able to create content that is imaginative, innovative, and bold.