Forgive me while I step off topic. But, as we are in the realms of tangential content, now feels like as good a time as any.

 

I recently read an article about the benefits of ordering food for your friends when in a restaurant. Not in a “this is what you are going to eat” kind of way. Rather, for when you hit the dilemma of a ‘sharing plate’ establishment – and no-one takes responsibility.

 

It was an anecdote to which I could relate. It made me smile. And it wasn’t until the very last lines that I was introduced to the core theme of the article: Leadership.

 

And even then, there was no overtly-pushed brand; nor any sign of a product pitch.

 

All-in-all, it was an enjoyably informal piece that I was happy to share.

 

The Lost Art of Building Rapport

It is all too easy for companies to become overly obsessed with their mission.

 

  • “You must buy my product because….”
  • “Here’s a story about how my product helped…”
  • “Don’t you hate it when…buy this.”

It’s admirable to be eternally proud of what you are selling. But the truth is, most audiences have limited bandwidth when it comes to reading brand-oriented content. Once is good, twice is fine, but three times and we quickly tire.

 

It is here that stepping back from a focus on ‘what you do’ is the perfect way to break the monotony.

 

In today’s world, people want shareable news, anecdotes – or any content – that makes their day better. And this will rarely fall within the realms of branded content. If something pushes a product, no matter how great the story, the likelihood of a reader wanting to become an endorser is low.

 

Shares = zero.

So, Go Off on a Tangent

Taking an alternative route to content creation is much more effective. Rather than focusing in on precisely what it is you do, why not find an associated area to talk about that offers value or insight beyond your traditional means?

 

Say, by talking about the benefits of displaying leadership authority by ordering food, thus putting others at ease from the start of their dining experience. This demonstrates one such way of loosely referencing your position as a business coach, for example.

 

Tangential content focuses on messages that people want to share – be it for a smile, an ‘aha’, or because it’s just interesting – without ramming a brand down their throats.

 

It puts you in front of a broader audience, opens your content to an array of publishing networks, and may even build a connection with people who enjoy your off-the-wall approach.

 

On-Brand vs Tangential

But that’s not to say there is no use for on-brand editorial – obviously.

 

When you work in a particularly exciting niche, or there are a large number of publishers who cover your sector, staying on-brand can be effective. For those working in technology, for example, staying on-brand can work wonders, as thought-leaders want to affiliate with the best. Plus, your brand equity helps garner credibility, which further encourages shares.

 

So, it all boils down to one final thought…

 

Considering your niche and the weight your brand holds: Could going tangential boost your digital footprint? There’s no harm in trying!

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