We all want to be seen as experts. So we end up believing we need to find our niche. We tell ourselves we need to focus on “one thing”, one service, one topic.
Yet hitting a single note over and over can make your website… boring.
And no matter how talented you are at creating content, you will eventually run out of ideas.
Going “off topic” while staying true to your brand can be a very effective strategy.
Rats, Boobs and Labour Unions
Here are 3 examples of people writing “off topic” while staying very much “on brand”:
- Paul Jarvis, web designer to the stars, writing about his rats.
- Danielle LaPorte focuses on holistic entrepreneurship and kick-ass spirituality, yet here she is writing about boobs, skin and random beauty tips.
- Seth Godin, marketing expert and bestselling writer, dabbling on the topic of labour unions in the post-industrial age.
Why You Should Veer Off-Topic
Going off topic adds heart to your brand. If you have a brand centred around you (ie: a personality brand), then focusing on other topics helps people connect with you.
You want to inspire people to see you as a friend, not just someone who is an expert on one thing. You are a three dimensional human being, not a collection of facts and expertise. People will connect to your heart, so it’s good to share with them what you care about.
It’s a great way of bringing people over who have no immediate need for your product. People connect to each other for the strangest reasons. Focusing on something you are passionate about gives people the opportunity to say “me too!” and instantly want to join your orbit. It’s up to you then to make sure they stay in your orbit afterwards, by providing super useful content.
Taking the example of Paul Jarvis: rat lovers will likely stumble upon his article and join his mailing list long before they have a need for web design.
Off Topic But On Brand
You don’t have to stay “on topic” all the time if you stay true to your brand. Your brand is bigger than one product or one service. If you get clear on your brand’s values, you can approach almost any topic and make it yours.
Danielle LaPorte focuses on entrepreneurship and spirituality, but “holistic” is a core value of her brand, and so a holistic take on beauty tips fits in perfectly.
Another approach is to focus on a topic you care about and tie your message at the end. In Paul Jarvis’ example, he started off writing about his rats, then he finished his post in a marketing lesson.
Going “off topic” every now and then might feel risky at first, but chances are your fans will care about the things you care about.
And you might even make some new ones…