Often it seems like in the digital world of 2016 the best way to get people talking is through controversial content, issues and topics. But let’s not get carried away with this. There are some important things to understand when it comes to controversial content and the way you approach it. There are both pros and cons to a marketing strategy that chooses this direction and this blog post will explore some of them.
Creating controversial content should be done carefully and in a thought out way, in order to be successful. Sometimes it can all go badly wrong and completely lack professionalism. It’s also important to note that as a small-scale e-publisher or blogger, you aren’t protected in the way large publications are, and you do need to be a little more careful about what you say and who you badmouth.
Certain organizations such as PETA make it their policy to constantly espouse extreme controversy (just think of all their dramatic “Meat is Murder” protests and campaigns), but research shows the high levels of controversy can actually cause discussions to taper off. And while there is no doubt controversial content has an impact on user engagement, virality, and word of mouth, research suggests it might be best if marketers shy away from campaigns that are above a moderate level of controversy. So the trick is essential to be controversial enough to be interesting but not so controversial that you offend and alienate all your readers. This is a tricky balance.
A lot of organizations that use controversial marketing techniques simply accept the fact that they can’t please all the people all of the time. And sometimes alienating some individuals can be worthwhile if it means you manage to capture and engage your target audience successfully. And speaking of controversy and shock tactics, we have all witnessed the rise of Donald Trump who seems to rely almost completely on this marketing technique. And while he has alienated and offended many, he also has many loyal supporters.
Since content and marketing is a direct reflection of your brand and even of yourself (if you are a lone blogger or small business) it is important not to miscommunicate your brand by overusing “shock tactics”. Communicating your brand authentically is of major importance and communicating the right message for your target audience is also essential.
If we look at the core of controversial or shocking marketing techniques we find that what really gets people talking is the emotion provoked in readers. Research has shown that readers are much more likely to share something that makes them feel angry or happy or sad or inspired. Strong emotions lead directly to engagement with your content. However, there are ways to create strong emotion other than brash shock tactics.
In any case, once your users are captured, shocked or otherwise motivated by your content, it is important to provide them with the right platforms and widgets to communicate and share content and opinions with. There are some great options out there and many go beyond run-of-the-mill text and emoji based content. And if you do decide that controversial content is right for you, allowing users to express their anger, joy or indignation through voice comments is a great way to leverage this type of content.
Heyoya is a unique comment and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya’s new Receiver plan allows for quick and easy below-the-fold monetization. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content.
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