What is tangential content and how does this content strategy help me?
“Oh, you have this and that problem? This could be solved by chance with our product!” This summarizes a large part of the content that many companies still seem to think is unbeatable. However, if you stick with this strategy, you will not be able to keep up with those competitors who have already discovered tangential content.
You can find out what that is, how tangential content works, and why this content marketing strategy makes your brand a hundred times more appealing!
What is unrelated content?
Anyone who has paid attention in math knows that a tangent is “a straight line that touches a curve at a certain point”. This is precisely what tangential content is all about: points of contact. And not mathematical, but content.
Talking about the topic – what is the point?
With tangential Content, content is meant only indirectly with a theme do have. If you like, you could say that unrelated content deliberately scratches the actual sales aspect.
What is that supposed to do? Quite simply: The user automatically establishes a connection between useful/informative/entertaining content and the brand – not because he has been aggressively blasted with advertising, but because he has found added value for himself in the material. As Kerry Jones from Moz explains, this type of content makes it easier to gain backlinks and social shares.
How to do Tangential Content: a few examples
The art behind tangential content is not to market yourself too aggressively. Because the fact is: nobody likes showing off. You probably know that from yourself: what reason should you have to believe a provider immediately that he is the best in his area? Everyone makes this promise, but as a new customer, you have no idea what’s really behind it.
If you are on the other side of the field, and you are the person who wants to reach a broader target audience, you first have to win the trust of potential customers. And this works best if you offer them added value without any advertising, for example:
- A dealer for wooden furniture reveals how best to combine which type of wood with the rest of the interior or how to maintain the surfaces. As a consumer, this brings you much more than just reading: “Wow, our furniture is simply unbeatable!”
- A real estate agent gives tips on how to make your home more burglar-proof or which must-see insider tips are available in a specific environment.
- A credit card provider makes a contribution to the most popular festivals or concerts in summer. After all, many (young) people pay the tickets for such events with a credit card – et voilà, and a whole new target group is addressed.
To make one thing clear straight away: if you start with unrelated content, it won’t automatically drive your sales up overnight. That’s not the point. Aha, and then why ? Let’s take a closer look at that, but first, let’s ask what speaks against good old branded content
What is there to object to branded content?
Well, it’s not that branded content is generally harmful. At the same time, content that is primarily concerned with the brand or a product is not the ultimate. But we don’t want to baseless for no reason – here are a few concrete examples of where the weak points of a branded content lie.
Branded/sponsored content does not look authentic.
Yes, it hurts to admit it, but: Advertorials are easy to recognize as such. And they are valued much less than content that actually offers added value and serves the search intent comprehensively. You can find out more about search intent here:
If the central message of a post is, “Wow, XY happens to be great,” it is not precisely convincing and is far from being as subtle as the marketing department might think.
Branded content makes link building tedious.
No landing page is keen to publish content that is too obviously advertising. Or would you, as a publisher, want to be continuously associated with extremely ad content? For the backlink portfolio, such material is not exactly the yellow card.
Branded content poses a challenge for content creators.
The more you have to write about a topic (and of course as enthusiastically as possible!), the more likely it is that the writer’s block will come at some point. Sooner or later, all enthusiasm will be used up. Then, with each repetition, the content becomes like the pasta that you warm-up for the third day in a row: boring, without substance, and unsatisfactory. You can do better.
If you now get the impression that brand-related content with an advertising tendency is pretty much the greatest content sin that you can afford: No, of course, it isn’t. The content can deal with your brand or your product – but to the right extent.
- Don’t just keep writing about how incredible your brand is so that you have something to post.
- Focus on meaningful content, ideally a mix of branded and unrelated content.
- A certain percentage of your content strategy should always be about unrelated topics.
What you ultimately want is to reach the users and arouse their interest. What you don’t wish to is random content for which people have only a tired shrug. And that brings us back to the question of what is the significant advantage of tangential content!
What does tangential content bring?
In the pilot episode of Mad Men, advertising professional Don Draper announced: “Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.” And there is not much else behind Tangential Content: This content works so well precisely because it hits a nerve on an emotional level.
Admittedly, it is not always about feelings of happiness, but it is about generating specific reactions. If you think a little bit around the corner, you quickly notice: Pretty much every topic can be emotionalized. The user always brings along any problems or wishes – the art of tangential content is to respond to these needs. And that has several advantages:
By showing that you have more content than stubborn advertising phrases and instead also regularly gives helpful advice or insights, you become a trustworthy source of information. Trust is the basis for every good customer relationship – and a critical factor in Google’s EAT Score.
If, for example, a blogger rates your guest post as enjoyable for your target group, you have a much better chance that this person will publish your content. Ideally, you will get backlinks from sites that the Google algorithm considers to be particularly relevant and thereby ride on the wave of success.
With unrelated content, you reach completely new target groups and no longer “only” the audience that you have already built up in your niche. That means: In theory, you can also use it to address people who have never heard of you or who would never come into contact with your offer on their initiative.
It is also essential that you are one step ahead of the competition with Tangential Content. Surprisingly, many marketers still shy away from deviating too far from their content line. A tip on the side: It’s best to be smart about the principle of content gap analysis!
If you do your thing well and diligently disseminate your irrelevant content, you are already making a pretty big leap forward with your content marketing strategy.
Tangential content: step by step
Perhaps you think now that in this article, you have hardly discovered any specific tips on how you should proceed when creating such content. With this in mind: Time to change that! Here are the four most essential tips for original tangential content :
- Set your personas.
A buyer persona is nothing more than an ideal customer as you imagine it. This fictional personality is the template that you use to tailor your tangential content: what needs does it have? Where can you pick them up? What is she interested in, and what not?
- Forget the thought, “This has nothing to do with us.”
Think outside the box, that’s always so easy to say. However, it is and remains one of the essential rules for creative, exciting tangential content. Most of the topics can somehow be modified in such a way that they become unusual for a broad target group. Ideally, you can even relate them to current events. Overall, you want to generate emotions that have a positive response – and of course, the bright idea for it often doesn’t come overnight, but it definitely does exist.
- Test the resonance of your tangential content.
Before you try to build links, you should first test how your content is received. With a sponsored content ad on Facebook, for example, not much is lost, and you quickly notice whether there is still room for improvement or, unfortunately, your topic wasn’t as good as you might have thought.
- Think about who might be interested in accepting you as a guest author.
Are you pretty sure that your tangential content has potential? Then it is high time to build a link. Dare to speak to people in niches where you have never moved before.
As I said: this is not about the safe but boring standard route, but about the promising, adventurous detour.
So how could that look at a concrete example? Let’s take the real estate agent that we mentioned earlier and take a look at which direction tangential content could go here.
How does tangential content work? An example
Housing or renting is a topic that is bound to affect pretty much everyone. As a beginner of irrelevant material, our brokers could, therefore, initially simply turn to a broad audience and take up a very paramount concern: What if my house/apartment is broken into?
What is most helpful to the user?
The break-in scenario is a concern that the brokerage office should take seriously as a content provider and can thus prove to be trustworthy. So a guide for the company blog is written on how to protect your own four walls from burglars.
If you google “Tips against burglary,” an example immediately catches your eye: In addition to the police themselves, electricity provider E.on also gives security tips, making it number 5 in the organic category at the time the screenshot was taken Search results accomplished. Not bad when it comes to visibility. And would you have automatically bridged the gap between “electricity provider” and “home security”? Just.
It is all the more professional and credible , of course, if experts can be quoted in your article . In addition, because not every reader will be willing to spontaneously invest in a security front door, there should also be tips that are easy to implement and do not cost the world.
Where is the content best?
As soon as our brokers are satisfied with the content, they can start sending out inquiries . For example, you could try a travel agency, which of course works best when the holiday season is high and people realize that their apartment will remain empty for a while …
What alternatives could you offer?
And what if the bureau in the brokerage office or the travel agency that is supposed to publish the article were too negative about the topic of burglary? Then another twist would have to be created, for example a checklist with tips on when and whether you can sublet your apartment as an Airbnb. Or what rights and obligations you have when renting an apartment. Or, or, or.
And how does that relate to the actual service?
All of this content would not have to do directly with the job of a real estate agent, but nevertheless with the topic of living. It would thus not directly of advertising and yet thematically related and useful to the User Content . In other words: articles that could theoretically achieve a pretty good reach because you offer added value and cover the most important keywords (keyword: keyword research ).
Attention: Our example here is of course extremely simplified . It starts with the fact that “a broad audience” who is “worried about a break-in” is not a serious target group. But it’s also more about clarifying how tangential content works and what you can theoretically do with it: quite a bit!
So it’s best to think about your next Tangential Topics today and tell us here what experiences you’ve had!