Recently, I attended a content marketing conference with a colleague and was surprised when the opening keynote speaker used the “f-word” in her presentation. I was even more surprised when no one in the audience seemed to care – and a few people even applauded. Throughout the multi-day event, profanity kept creeping into remarks. And, in one breakout session, a speaker had “WTF” in bold print on one of the slides, and used the full term in her verbal remarks.

I asked a few people at the meeting, and since returning to Chicago, if they had seen this at other conferences or in other industries. Surprisingly, several folks had said they had noticed an increase in mild to obvious profanity references in content over the last six months. When I asked people why, I got pretty much the same response: people are looking for a way to grab attention and profanity is disruptive. But is using profanity really creating disruptive content?clip_image002

In the era of content marketing, what you create or curate needs to stand out from the vast amount of content your target audience will encounter online. Content needs to be compelling and interesting. To grab audience attention, you need to disrupt their existing stream of content and get them to focus on what you are sharing. At ComBlu, we define disruptive content as high value, unique branded content that challenges a way of thinking or practice, and cuts through the noise to which your audience is exposed. We also think disruptive content must include a call to action. Otherwise, you are just contributing to the noise. When it comes to content creation this means instead of creating what your audience expects you should spend time on a completely different angle to deliver a novel solution or idea that challenges the way they currently think or do business.

Disruptive content is not easy to create. It takes a great deal of time and thought to create content that:

– Take a different and unique look at a topic of critical importance to your audience;

– Align with your audiences’ understanding of the issue and their ability to effect or contribute to a solution;

– Relates to what you do. It does not make sense to position yourself as a thought leader in an area in which you provide no products or services.

By its very nature, disruptive content is eminently shareable.  Make sure you encourage that result. What’s it is not is the one time use of a shock tactic, like profanity, to gain attention. And, if you don’t agree with me then (insert the profane statement of your choice)!

Colleen Nolan

Colleen Nolan

Colleen is an advocate at heart who believes that with the right message and motivation anything is possible. A strategic campaign designer and communicator, she is skilled at defining and analyzing a desired result, and then developing the marketing and communications pathway to achieve success. Colleen quickly makes an intellectual and emotional connection with key audiences and uses these skills to craft communications programs that have strong resonance and dramatic impact.

Colleen has 20+ years experience in engagement, issue management, community building and mobilization.