If you have a super smart, cut-through technology, the last thing you want is for your targets to think it's unoriginal or 'me too'. So why would you want your content to be? Sure, not every technology is truly disruptive but, if you want to cut through with targets, your content must be. We explore why and how to do it.
Go to the Edge
‘I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.’Kurt Vonnegut.
There are countless technologies that were once disruptive, that we now accept without thinking. Think Smart Phones, Cloud Computing, iPads. At the time,
they introduced dimensions and possibilities we’d never imagined. The best of them stood conventional thinking on its head. Great content should do
the same thing:
- Challenge accepted norms and conventions
- Challenge readers’ assumptions
- Open readers’ minds to new ideas and perspectives.
Great content must hold surprises for readers that make them sit up and take notice. If you can’t add new insights that disrupt their current thinking and make them reassess their position, why bother? There’s little point in producing more of the same, unless you’re baking bread. Even then you want to come up with a new flavour or shape once in a while.
Speak only when you have something to say
If you can’t add new insights to a conversation, your best bet is to shut up. ‘Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove
all doubt,’ was Mark Twain’s advice.
Let’s say your technology is middleware designed for enterprises like banks. What's the point in writing blurb about being innovative, game-changing and easy to work with? Everyone in your patch says that.
To get cut-through, you need to tease out what really makes your software unique - with very specific benefits for defined individuals - and the
more granular, the better. If you can’t do that, it’s time to sit down and look for blue ocean space where
you do have unique, strong benefits. If can't find this uncontested market space where your technology dominates competitors, your technology maybe
competitive but clearly not disruptive. It's time to look go back to your product roadmap and find this space. Then you can talk about it.
True Thought Leaders are Disruptive
Good content must be original, must add something of genuine value, and make readers rethink their comfortable positions. Resist the pressure to:
- Create content because you have a content production schedule
- Create ‘safe’ content because your company doesn't want to stand out.
Of course your content should help, inform and educate, but it needs to do more than that if you want to position your company's CEO or CTO as a Thought Leader in your industry.
Thought leaders are transformative: they change the way we think, make us see something we didn't see before, show us what’s around the corner. Thought
leaders are often confronting because they drag us out of our comfort zones.
It follows that your CEO or CTO can’t be a thought leader if your messages are whitewashed in your corporate laundries of PR, Legal and Investor Relations. The messages may come out squeaky clean and wrinkle-free, but they’ll never grab anyone, because they’ll be just as bland as all the other corporate speak. Thought leaders don’t have to be provocative, but they must at least be thought-provoking.
Publishers should be disruptive
Think of Rolling Stone, starting with the front cover. Good publishers are always on the lookout for fresh talent, a new voice and a controversial
story. Good publishers aren’t interested in publishing the same stuff their competitors dish up. Good publishers, like good chefs, look for content
that is fresh, exciting and presented in a novel way. Like good chefs, good publishers are willing to stick their necks out and take risks.
Everyone is a publisher now - marketers, bloggers, copywriters et al – so you need to think like one. You want your content to stand out of the ocean of mediocre stuff, so your company stands tall above the ordinary.
Most of our politicians talk in platitudes and mince words, that's why voters respond to those who speak frankly on difficult issues. That explains the recent swing to populist leaders even if they don't deliver on their words. Your technology company is sure to have a better reputation than the average political party, but you can still use what they use that works: be direct. It's the only way to win hearts and change minds.
Change is always associated with discomfort. So is Growth, and so is Success.
PS: Contact us if you'd like your content to stand out. Clients tell us we're pretty good at it.
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