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The power of opinionated content

John Collins shares one quick strategic tip to help you break through the noise.

Most content today avoids having an opinion—and suffers for it. Many companies are opting for the path of least resistance by consolidating information that's easily located elsewhere on the web instead of offering something more useful, more memorable, and harder to copy.

John Collins explains how opinionated content can help start a conversation to break through the noise and competition. 

Video Transcription

Hi there, I'm John Collins and I'm the Director of Content at Intercom, a software company that has a suite of conversational tools that helps you build stronger relationships with your customers.

Since Intercom was founded in 2011, content has been one of the primary ways that we've built our brand and attracted new business. I made the transition from journalism to marketing at Intercom back in 2014. And I want to share with you one quick strategic tip that stood by me ever since then, and has really helped me make sure that we get the returns on our investments in content marketing.

It's deceptively simple, have an opinion. What do I mean by that? Well, creating content, as we all know, whether it's blogs, podcasts, white papers, whatever your particular business creates, it's expensive. The tools and the platforms are usually cheap and often free, but your time and your team's time, isn't free. It's a labor intensive business.

So, how do you actually make sure that you break through the noise and all the competition and make sure that expensively produced content is actually consumed? Well, despite what the thought leaders and influencers will probably have you believe, there isn't one quick hack or silver bullet, that's going to make mediocre content resonate with your customers. But if your content is opinionated, it will start a conversation and suddenly promotion and distribution of that content becomes a hell of a lot easier. How do you test for opinions? Well, very simply an opinionated piece of content is something that not everyone else in your industry or sector is going to agree with.

Now, just so I'm not misunderstood, having an opinion isn't about being angry or contrary all the time, but it does mean that you're not creating saccharin safe content that everyone in your industry agrees with and can be read in a hundred other places. That simply won't cut through the noise.

A final word of warning, these days I see a lot of brands producing this kind of edgy content, that's tangentially related to their actual product or service. The whole content is so brand strategy.

Now I think that's really, really high risk. You might get the clicks and you might get the reads and the viewership for your content, but are you going to attract people who are in the market for that product or service? It's good publishing, but it's not good content marketing. Thanks for listening.



John
About John Collins
John is the Director of Content at Intercom, the customer platform helping internet businesses accelerate growth. He is a former journalist and editor with over 20 years experience covering technology and business for publications such as The Irish Times, where he held positions including Assistant Business Editor, Assistant News Editor and Health Editor. He now leads a team of 10 who produce Intercom’s award-winning blog, podcast, books and social media.