Although web users may not realize, at any given moment a variety of different marketing campaigns are trying desperately to get their attention. Sometimes they surf on, none the wiser. However, often it is the most interesting ad that ultimately catches their attention, and if the marketer is lucky, earns a click.
With competition for every web surfer’s attention so high, how can a campaign creator stay in the fight? Sometimes the answer is just being edgy or controversial. This simply boils down to basic human curiosity. If your web advertisement or blog post stands out as controversial when contrasted with overly safe or boring ads, you are much more likely to earn the user’s attention. Now we just need to discover how to create a controversial campaign, post or ad that achieves its purpose without backfiring.
1. Do it for a reason
If you are going to take the leap into the territory of risk and controversy, you may as well do so for a powerful reason. Pick something that resonates with your target audience and go above and beyond to make sure it’s interesting. By marketing to a specific group and telling them what they want to hear in a creative way, you just may earn their respect.
2. Check your source First
One way to make the aforementioned leap a little safer is by using a credible, reliable, and ideally well known source. This way you can alleviate any potential backlash by only relying on sources that are known for truth. Try to avoid sources that use shocking headlines that catch attention, but don’t support their claims.
3. Be Unique
Your effort may be even more effective if you go about it in a unique and original manner. Being controversial for the sake of controversy gets old fast. Make sure you are taking the road less traveled when planning your content. If it’s something no one has seen before, they will be more interested to check it out.
4. Never Pick Sides
The advantage to being opinionated is all those who agree will love you. On the other hand, everyone else will despise you for your seemingly ridiculous opinion. Although it’s easier said than done, try to draw attention and be edgy without explicitly taking a side or identifying with a small group of people.
5. Be Respectful To Those Who Disagree
Despite you making a perfectly unbiased and interesting campaign, they may still be some viewers who respond negatively. If they contact you, comment, or reach out via social media, be sure to be polite and professional. This shows a lot of poise. Eventually they may come back around and engage with your content anyway. Either way, at least you have done your due diligence to preserve your brand.
Being controversial in marketing in sales has its risks. Campaigns that are controversial in an intelligent and strategic manner almost always stand out among the clutter and grab lots of unique impressions.
Also published on Medium.