I don't know about you, but I've been seeing an awful lot of enormous beards lately. Not enormous in the sense that ZZ Top had enormous beards. No, the ones I've been seeing most are just so thick. Like shrubbery on your face. Then there are the ironic old-timey handlebar mustaches or mutton chops.
So much [often amusing] ironic facial hair.
Hipsters. That's who's mostly wearing this style. But you know what? I can't really rag on the hipsters too much because there's a little part of me that identifies with them (mostly the part of me that loves knitted items, my plastic-rimmed glasses, and listening to indie music. But keep the skinny jeans away!)
Okay, okay. So what in the world does this have to do with content marketing?
Well, you know, I was thinking. Some of this facial hair is seriously impressive. And some of it looks like the guys just stopped shaving and looking in mirrors. But in many cases, you can tell a lot of work went into making it look like effortlessly ironic facial hair. That handlebar mustache was a labor of love.
And you know what else is a labor of love?
(C'mon. Did you really think I was going to say something else?)
Scoff all you want, but the hipsters might be onto something here.
3 Lessons Content Marketing Can Learn From Ironic Hipster Facial Hair
1. Make a statement
When a man makes the conscious decision to try something new with his facial hair, he's definitely making a statement. That statement could be any of the following:
- I'm putting a lot of work into making myself look good.
- I don't give a rat's butt what my facial hair looks like. I'm going to let it grow out of control. That will be funny.
- I'm waiting for the late 90s boy band era to make a serious comeback.
- I have a criminal record.
Your content strategy should actually work much in the same way. Think of it as a reflection of yourself. Your business is your face, and your content strategy is your facial hair. Let's see how that aligns:
- If it's well-groomed and looks neat, that shows that you're putting a lot of effort into your content marketing. You want it to be a reflection of your business.
By the way - facial hair can be well-groomed, neat, and amusing. So can your content strategy. And what does that say about you? It says that you take yourself seriously, but not too seriously that you can't still enjoy it.
- If your business content strategy has grown out of control because you've been too busy to maintain it and you don't really care, that's a poor reflection of your business.
- Maybe you're stuck in the past and not doing much to learn about or keep up with content marketing (inbound, after all, is "new" marketing). By this, I mean you don't have a blog, you don't really make any attempt to converse with your prospective clients, and your website looks like it was built on GeoCities in 1997. It's void of relative content, but you have an animated gif construction worker to let your visitors know they should check back soon.
- If your content strategy aligns with criminal record facial hair, that's bad business. Step away from the black hat SEO techniques!
What kind of statement is your business making? What kind of statement do you want it to make?
2. Get noticed
What's the point in making a statement if you don't want to get noticed? Don't think that someone who chooses to grow mutton chops doesn't want anyone to notice them. And how are you not going to notice a Civil War-era beard walking down the cereal aisle at Whole Foods?
Make a statement with your content marketing strategy and see it through. Much like ironic facial hair, content marketing is a commitment. If you want to be noticed, you've got to be outstanding and bold. Figure out how you can do that, and then go for it. Are you going to build a killer resource library? Is your blog going to be a go-to source for others in your industry? Do you want to be known for your creative infographics? Podcasts? Entertaining and informative videos?
Note: maybe pick one or two areas to focus your boldness. After all, you don't want to be so over-the-top that you become a joke. You want to be noticed in a good way. Don't be the knee-length mullet with a shoulder-length fu manchu. It's one thing to be a bit ironic; it's another thing entirely to just be really weird.
3. Groom and maintain
Once you've reached your desired facial hair goal, you need to maintain and groom so that you don't end up looking like you live outside of a truck stop.
Content marketing is no different. Once you've gained momentum and you're creating blog posts and videos, mixing them up with infographics and research, and you're doing so regularly... maintain.
That is, you can't work in short bursts for a few weeks, then disappear for two months, come back, and expect that everyone in your audience still cares what you have to say. If you only have time to work in bursts, build up some content and then schedule it ahead at regular intervals. This way it doesn't appear to your audience like you've gone MIA. This is one of the reasons men go to barbers to help them maintain their facial hair. It's also the reason many businesses are hiring content marketing managers to help them maintain their content strategies.
Groom your content strategy. Trim out what doesn't work. Maybe the fu manchu and mutton chops together are just a little bit too much, so trim out what doesn't work. Keep your content neat, easy to understand, and respectable. Content marketing is an investment. It's a time commitment. But it gives you an image and is thus a tremendously important branding effort.
So, that all being said, if you had to assign an ironic facial hair style to your business's content strategy right now, what would it be? What do you want it to be?
Wooly Willy will be waiting if you ever need some inspiration.