What do you feel strongly about?
In today’s “cancel culture,” many businesses and other organizations are thinking it might be best to avoid opinionated content marketing. They believe that taking a stand that might offend some people will drive potential customers away.
The hide in their vanilla content cave, their figurative tail tucked between their legs. Take fear out of the equation. What is the number one goal of content marketing?
Our goal is to solve problems for our customers. And to help them navigate a real problem. Sometimes that means you have to bust a myth, take a stand, or share your view.
So go for it! Share your opinions as long as they are informed, based on experience, and seek to help your customers.
- It’s a myth that successful companies should avoid stating frank opinions in their content — many major companies do.
- When your values align with those of your customers, your opinions are more likely to ring true with their world view.
- It’s not your political or moral opinions that customers value most — it’s your opinion about your area of expertise.
- When your opinions result in better health, more happiness or bigger profits for your customers, you transform them into a hero — and earn their loyalty for years to come.
Relax: Lots of Successful Brands Have Strong Opinions
I have shared some strong opinions in a few rants here on what is marketing? (not ads), what is a lead? (not an inquiry), what is thought leadership (it doesn’t have to be a new thought), and why CEOs expect marketing to deliver business results (just duh!)
Here are two brand storytelling examples to illustrate the power of opinion.
Remember the 2018 a campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick? As the leader in the movement of African-American athletes visibly kneeling during the US national anthem, Kaepernick became the central target of a boycott, with many participants going as far as to set their Nike shoes on fire.
But Nike held firm. Whether you favor the protesters who kneeled or the ones on the other side, you’ve got to admire their courage. And their business model.
It might just be my inner cynic, but it’s probably the case that the shoe manufacturer took a glance at its target customers’ data before they made their move. What appeared like a risky gamble to those outside the content marketing field was one of the savviest moves out there. After a bit of a tumble, the company’s stock soared as it won the loyalty of its target customers.
On the other side of the political spectrum, MyPillow founder Mike Lindell has one thing in common with Kaepernick and Nike: a firm commitment to his values. And one more thing: a keen ability to read his target customers. Rather than backing down from his ultra-conservative beliefs, he doubled down, drawing the hearts — and the dollars — of his target market.
Add to those the Ben & Jerry on the left, Chick-Fil-A on the right and many more — too many to count. While these examples focus on the political spectrum, the point remains: It pays to take a side, whether it be political or business-related.
Don’t Like In-Your-Face Opinionated Content? Go Subtle
But you don’t have to shout, as Intercom’s content director John Collins points out. In most cases, the better route is to let your brand voice speak for you.
Look at Coca-Cola. With a subtle dose of positive vibes, the beverage maker expresses its stakeholders’ firm opinion that people are better off when they break down the barriers that divide us. They’ve dominated their market with content that positions its signature drink as the one thing that can bring humanity together.
And Arby’s. They’re definitely not vegetarian — with their “We have…the MEATS!” campaign. But they’re not in-your-face carnivores. They just position their delectable-looking sandwiches, together with a mouthwatering description, and boom! Content that entices their hungry target customers.
Opinions — Your Brand Voice Amplified
To us, opinions enhance your brand voice. You’ll never see us praising companies whose advertisements blare blatant self-promotion.
We’re all about data-based storytelling. Storytelling that shows our clients the way to discover a solution to the problems that keep them up at night. Stories that build trust in your business — that position you as a thought leader in your industry.
And to lead, you need the courage to take a stand. It’s all about authenticity.
Whether your approach is Coca-Cola subtle or Nike’s in-your-face one, you’ll find that whoever your target customers are, they will most likely appreciate your authentic approach to content marketing. Worldwide, only 56 percent of consumers trust businesses. With that lack of consumer trust in most businesses, your frank opinions will be a breath of fresh air.
If you’ve done your due diligence on your target customers’ data — including demographics, likes, pain points and goals, your business model probably mirrors those customers’ values anyway. You just need to adjust your content marketing strategy to reflect your corporate values.
Customers Want Your Advice
Your corporate values aren’t only your political or moral stances. Your most important opinions are those you have about your work.
No doubt, you have strong opinions about your own industry — or the ways that you can help your customers solve their problems. Those opinions need to show up in your content as wise advice that help your customers solve their problems and live better lives.
Let’s take the most obvious example. If you’re a doctor, you wouldn’t be fulfilling your oath if you didn’t recommend the best treatment, according to your expertise and your opinion about the most effective treatment. No doubt you’d deliver that opinion with your best bedside manner, but you would state your frank opinion.
The same goes for whatever business you’re in. Whether you sell generators, guitar lessons or accounting services, your customers pay for your advice.
Without your advice…
- Your generator customers won’t know when to have their purchase serviced.
- Your guitar students won’t learn how to prevent overuse injury when they practice.
- Your accounting clients won’t learn all the areas in which they can save money on taxes next year.
So be frank. Be sure to state the facts behind your opinion and deliver it with tact — but deliver it.
Edgy Content Transforms Boring Blogs into Heroes’ Journeys
When you take a position on an issue, passion drives your communication. It takes a deft hand, as Hal Licino points out, to walk the tightrope between sounding self-righteous (or tone-deaf) and sharing your expertise and opinions.
Channel that passion into well-reasoned content that not only states your opinions but also the facts behind those conclusions. Show how your perspective has helped customers like themselves solve those problems.
But in the stories you craft, don’t fall into the trap of making you — or your products — the hero. Instead, position your customer as the hero, with your product or service as the sword your customers use to slay whatever dragons keep them up at night.
So, break through your fear level and take a stand with intelligent, impassioned content marketing. After all, everyone loves a hero.
But if you don’t have the time or the storyteller’s gift, you don’t need to settle for bland blog posts. Instead, consider a blog writing service that can help you get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently.
Our Content Builder Service can do just that. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today — and generate more traffic and leads for your business.
4 thoughts on “Opinionated Content Marketing: Why Should You Do It?”
Spot on! Thank you.
While you make more than one very valid point/position about opinionated content marketing; it’s your last point that rang the most true for/to me. In fact, I believe it’s the foundation on which your entire piece balances.
Again, thank you, Michael. Please, be safe. Carry on.
Thanks Jessan! Make your customers the hero and you will win every time!
Thanks for the great tips! I couldn’t agree more that opinions are important, but only within certain limits. I strongly advise that brands stay away from politics and religion. Doing so has been known to work in a brand’s favor, but only very rarely and it usually comes with a cost.
Thanks Alison. I mention in the take aways that sticking to your area of expertise and staying away from politics and religion is highly recommended. But there are exceptions. I have stated a pretty strong opinion in MeanPeopleSuck.com on building a culture of empathy. And I infer on some political leanings. But it’s very subtle and I do NOT regret it. So I think it can and should be considered when appropriate.
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