When is it Time to Think Outside the Box?

inside-the-box-thinkingIt’s not always ideal, but often content writing requires “inside the box” thinking. We all hear about this idea that thinking outside the box is ideal. But in SEO, there is a limit to how “outside of the box” most companies can do. If I am writing content for a plastic surgeon, I can’t simply recommend that he do nothing but post turkey videos on his blog. When I’m writing for a recruitment company,I can’t recommend that they fill every page of their site with 5,000 word poetry.

Sometimes, what’s inside the box is what works. That’s why the box is there.

But of course, when you’re limited to what everyone has done before, then you’re also at the mercy of your competition. I market for a psychologist in New York, and thankfully his competition is weak. We were able to reach page 1 of Google without any unique strategies. But I also work with a variety of companies that have intense competition – companies that specialize in recruitment, job searching, mental health (nationally), and a few other industries where competition is fierce.

This is where situations can arise that require outside of the box thinking.

It is okay for most businesses to use the same strategies that have worked for everyone else, especially for local search. But there are signals that your business can or should try something new:

  • The Competition Has Greater Resources – When there is no way to compete with your competition on quantity, and they have more resources to put towards their content and SEO efforts, it may be worth trying something unique to beat them.
  • When You Have a Strong Social Media Game – Often the greatest benefit from thinking outside of the box often comes from social, where your interesting strategies, cool content, and other efforts can spread virally and attract a following.
  • If Humor is Acceptable – Some businesses, like the psychologist, are inappropriate for funny, controversial, or interesting marketing strategies. But when I worked with an interview tips website, being casual made a lot more sense, and thus we could mix in traditional evergreen content with laugh out loud humor posts, unusual/weird comics, and more. If you can make jokes without it being inappropriate for your business, then you can try all different types of outside of the box strategies.
  • When Everything Else Has Failed – Sometimes inside of the box thinking works. Sometimes it doesn’t. If it’s not working for you, it’s time to try a different strategy.

If your company is limited to inside of the box strategies, that’s okay. Not every company can or should try to break the mold, when the mold works so well. But if your business falls under the above list, then it may be worth trying something unique and seeing what you can do.