Unconventional content marketing: How to stand out

There’s a lot of content out there. So, it’s no surprise that people around the world are embracing unconventional Unconventional content marketingcontent marketing techniques.

42.5% of companies increased their content marketing staff levels in 2016. That’s almost double the amount of marketers churning out content as this time last year. So we really need to find a way to stand out and grab our audience’s attention!

Back in the day, if you wanted to get your content noticed, you’d do these things:

However, most content marketers have cottoned on to this, so we must start thinking outside of the box. More unconventional content marketing techniques are emerging, and they’re proving super-effective.

We’ve taken a look at some of our favourites that have hit the headlines in the last year or so. Hopefully they’ll get your creative cogs whirring and generate ideas for your content marketing strategy.

Why is unconventional content marketing so effective?

Before we get to the nitty-gritty, pause for a moment and think what you can do with 60 seconds.

Not a lot, right? Pop the kettle on, check your phone, maybe wolf down a chocolate bar (if you’re really hungry).

Now compare that with what happens online in 60 seconds: 3.3 million Facebook posts, 1,440 WordPress posts, 3.8 million Google searches – and they’re just the highlights!

Makes munching that chocolate bar seem a little less impressive now …

*Image courtesy of Smart Insights

Unconventional content marketing will help you stand out in this vast sea of content and attract the attention of your target audience.

By using an unexpected or exciting format, you can engage your audience and get them talking both in person and online.

Unconventional content marketing breaks the mould, giving you a competitive advantage as no-one else will be running the exact same campaign. All you need to do is make sure you bear in mind the three things that make content effective when creating your unique content:

  1. Audience relevance (58%)
  2. Engaging and compelling storytelling (57%)
  3. Triggers a response/action (54%)

However, you can’t use unconventional methods all the time because they’ll become … well, conventional. Use them sparingly, or you run the risk of them becoming passe and boring.

Examples of unconventional content marketing

Here’s a quick round-up of the top unconventional content marketing campaigns we’ve spotted recently. We’ve even thrown in a bit of Write My Site Wisdom (WMSW) to show you what you can learn from each case.

RJ Metrics

This B2B SaaS brand wanted to get their webinar content out to a wider audience, but was stuck on how to get people involved. They tried using an iPad giveaway to one lucky attendee, but it didn’t have the desired effect.

So, some clever person suggested a cupcake give-away – it had worked well for a survey they ran at Christmas, so why not now? Guess what? People loved it!

RJ Metrics had people emailing in and tweeting about the campaign, mentioning what a great idea it was and how much they wanted to win.

The lucky winner who got the cupcakes tweeted pictures of themselves and their co-workers devouring their prizes, and this gave RJ Metrics a bump in followers on all their channels. It also gave them a boost in webinar views the next time around.

The positive response was completely out of proportion with the $50 cost. This unconventional content marketing technique was deemed a success by all involved – especially the winners.

WMSW: Everyone likes a bit of competition, and involving scrummy baked goods makes it really exciting.

The key thing with this technique was selecting the right prize. RJ Metrics had seen that the iPad offer wasn’t working, so decided to go for cupcakes instead. Here are the key reasons we think this was so successful:

  • Achievable: People feel like it’s more realistic to win cupcakes than an expensive bit of tech.
  • Quirky: Most companies have done an iPad competition – it’s old news. Cupcakes aren’t a big part of marketing (more’s the pity) so it’s a great novelty that will attract attention.
  • Communal: While an iPad is nice, it’s quite a solitary prize. However, if you win a pack of twelve cupcakes you can share them with the office (if you want to). They bring a sense of community and warmth that an iPad doesn’t.

So, add a sense of competition to your content and pick a prize that’s a little ‘out-there’ to gain interest. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a little different.

Monsanto

Monsanto, the agricultural company, came under fire recently after appearing in the viral documentary Food Inc.

Social media and forums lit up, claiming that the brand was evil, disgusting and poisoning the planet. Now, the conventional response to this would be to complete a series of press releases, corporate content and mass advertising to drown out the bad press.

However, that’s not what happened. Dan Holliday (a company rep) crafted a killer well-reasoned defence of his brand and published it on the forums that had slated it.

This response went viral and hit over 118,000 views! And we’re pretty sure people thought twice before talking about Monsanto again!

WMSW: Unconventional content marketing isn’t just about your website and social media channels. It’s about maximising your audience and taking advantage of your opportunities.

If people decide to talk about your brand on discussion forums, Facebook groups and other blogs, write a kick-ass response and you’re bound to get noticed.

(Don’t be rude though. That will do nothing for your brand’s reputation.)

Fruit of the Loom

This company has the troublesome task of marketing plain white t-shirts. It’s a tough gig as there’s not really much to say, so formulating interesting content around them is difficult.

So, the marketing department thought up something wacky and wonderful that started turning heads. A micro-site called “The Tuck Effect”.

It promoted the plain white Ts by showing a video which explained men who tuck their shirts in have more income, better relationships and a happier outlook. Newsletter recipients also got lots of quirky content sent straight to their inbox, depicting the importance of their new shirts.

The campaign encouraged men to take photos of their tucked shirts and tag them with #TheTuckEffect – a great source of engagement for the brand.

WMSW: While the product may be a little dull, Fruit of the Loom managed to create a buzz around its brand by appealing to people’s egos and sense of humour in a weird and wonderful way.

This sounds like traditional content marketing, but they took the product, pushed it to the extreme and created farcical, nonsense content that attracted attention. See if you can think of any strange links or concepts to help build up your brand’s reputation.

Unconventional content marketing is a great way to get your audience hooked and interested in your brand. The more wacky and unusual your ideas, the more interest you’ll get.

Don’t be afraid to put your business out there and unleash something different into the world – it may be the thing that gets you noticed. Give it a try today!