| (404) 213-4416

Get Edgy! Slap a Tattoo on Your Content


I’m standing at the magazine rack at the grocery store. Newsweek is gone, and 82 other magazines closed in 2012. But right under my nose is a clear indication of the future of content – three slick magazines devoted to tattoos. There are close to two dozen in print.

Obviously, there’s plenty of demand for print magazines – just not the mainstream mass of media that’s been served up for the past two decades. In 2013, our lives are edgier. We don’t want everything smooth, clean and sanitized.

In fact, we want more edgy events, marketing and communications. Here’s how to get edgy and create honest, real and authentic content. Give everything an edge! Make it real, authentic and – gritty.

“Think outside the box. That’s where all the warning labels are.”

A Wise Man

Rebels With A Cause

Not long ago we focused on what an audience wants from an event message. It wasn’t what you thought! Well, the audience isn’t who you think they are either. If you think that only bikers, punk rockers and Popeye have tattoos, you are in denial. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2012 40% of Americans ages 26-40 were adorned with body art, and the majority were women. It’s now a $1.65 billion dollar industry.

That means that an awful lot of “average” people are moving outside the box. They get that “tat” to feel sexier, rebellious and adventurous – anything but mainstream.

Discover the Secret Lives of Executives & Employees

Under the starched shirts, ties, proper blouses, long sleeves and appropriate business attire are snakes, dragons, tribal symbols, flowers, cherry blossoms and names.

Your audience is filled with rebels. The customer base is loaded with people secretly bucking the system. Then you hand them scrubbed and sanitized content and expect them to relate and react. Just imagine if you stopped filling every event with big bland words, bullets and endless talking heads? Just imagine if you made it down to earth, real-life and authentic?

Edgy is really the way that everyone communicates when they are away from work. It’s how they talk about content, ideas, products, processes and people when the executives aren’t around. Edgy is like, well – tattoos.

Give Your Content Designer Ink

What makes a great tattoo? It’s the same thing that makes fantastic, involving content. According to Bob Baxter, editor of Skin & Ink magazine, an excellent tattoo should have emotion, personal meaning and self-gratification that are expressed in a not-so-subtle artistic way. Who decides if it’s great? Bob says, ”The eye of the beholder, that’s who.”

Powerful, edgy content is in the eye of the beholder. It’s:

A bucket of big ideas people will remember.

Short and focused.

More a series of small explosions than a constant stream.

Up-front value that’s followed by relevant content

Edgy isn’t offensive or shocking. Remember, gross-out isn’t a great strategy unless you’re 10-year-old boy pushing gummy worms up your nose. So here’s how to roll up your sleeves, show off that body art and create content that’s as REAL as the people in your audience.

Have Some Attitude

Let everyone know who you are and what you are about. There may be a logo on the building, but people work for people. Clients, customers and employees feel much more comfortable building relationships with people they know and respect. Make the content reflect your personality and character.

Take a Stand

When did we start equating provocative with unprofessional? Provocative content is challenging, stimulating and generates a response. Isn’t that what you want? Squeeze out all of the flavor, spice, intelligence and confrontation and you end up with mashed potatoes. Bland, colorless and just lying there. Your content can be appropriate and correct and still jump-start conversations and debate. But you can’t engage from a distance. The folks in marketing know that. Edgy is personal, close and hands-on.

Turn It Loose

The Holy Grail of social media is going viral. But it happens off-line too. No one shares boring. People share things that surprised them, made them feel or made them laugh. One of the keys to edgy content is it’s easy to understand and share. It doesn’t matter how you calculated next year’s sales goals – it’s the goals. It’s what they mean and how that person reacted. Don’t think spreadsheet. Think infographic.

Communicate with Style And Flair

Use graphic design to your advantage. Think visually – like a magazine layout. One stunning image will be remembered longer than the most amazing statistics you can find. People with tattoos stand out. You notice. The more striking your design, the more attention it grabs.

Here’s another way to think about it. What movies did you watch over the past six months? I bet part of your list are real-life dramas and kick-butt action films. They’re at the extremes but both appeal to who we really are, or wish we were. Stylish – personal – with just a taste of fantasy. Leverage that idea at your next meeting and your event will be remembered.

Edgy is the New Corporate Standard

Edgy may not be at home yet in the boardroom, but it is everywhere else. It’s now a cultural requirement. Compare the front page of any city newspaper with Huffington Post. People demand innovative content that’s fast, focused and all about meaning.

So don’t hesitate to put your message up front and push it to the edge. Make it colorful, provocative, exciting, sharable and permanent.

Just like a tattoo.

If you want to know more about creating edgy content and serious results just click on CONTACT US and get in touch.

If you like this article please share it with a friend right now. Email the link or click one of the buttons at the bottom of the page.


Ask The Big Bold Question

TIG who are Page Image 1

About the Author
Andy Johnston is a multi-faceted communication professional who has a comfortable way of working with people. Andy is an Emmy Award winning communicator known for his energy, humor, creativity and his unique ability to discover the key results that must be generated – and then to develop ingenious ways to engage and motivate audiences. He has broad experience in strategic planning, messaging, creative direction, marketing, and events. One of the things Andy says often is, “How can we make it better?”
Subscribe for Free!

Enter your email and stay on top of things,