There is such a huge increase in the amount of uploaded content today. Ads don’t work so all brands are trying to be content publishers in order to get heard. It is getting much harder to stand out and get eyeballs to things you create in such an overcrowded content space. There’s just too much going on. It is no longer enough just to write 300 words and get pageviews. An increase in quality of content is contributing to escalating time and resources needed for content production. Even the distribution is no longer free and the promise of organic “viral” marketing reach doesn’t exist any longer.
How do I differentiate myself from other sites in my field? How do I get my blog to stand out? If I do everything the other bloggers are doing how am I going to gain a competitive edge? How do I stay relevant as a content producer in the world oversaturated with content? Do I reinvent yourself? Do I diversify? How can I evolve to keep yourself just as relevant today and tomorrow as I was yesterday? Gaining a competitive edge and being able to differentiate yourself from other bloggers is the key. It will allow you to build and grow an audience. Let’s take a look at what can be done to stand out in a saturated niche.
The value of passion
Let’s be honest, most sites are boring. They look like any other site, their content is like any other site and they are as forgettable as any other site. There is just not enough demand for all that content supply. Most brands will fail. The content creation craze shows that there is a skills and passion gap. It is very difficult for brands to build internal teams that really understand and get content marketing. They don’t get what engaging content means. Agencies are not doing a better job either. They churn out farmed content, they are content machines. They can write many “unique” articles focusing on your “keywords” and they can even include some “viral” infographics in your content mix.
But in their content they are answering questions nobody’s asking. Their content lacks insights and ideas. This weak content can be prettied up – it can have irresistible headline, nice looking imagery and professionally produced multimedia. But the core of this content is not great at all. It lacks substance. It lacks value. It is not passionate, useful, entertaining nor interesting. These people are not passionate about the topics they are now supposed to create thrilling content about. These people are not experts creating content about their sweet spots. You cannot buy passion and the creativity that comes as a consequence of passion.
It is your passion that makes you worth following. Find out what makes you come alive. You must love it, you must have a joy for it. You must care about what you are doing. People identify with passion and style and become members of your community. Once you have built a community you can have a powerful influence. Tell people what your purpose and your mission in. If I go to your about page, how long will take me to find the purpose of your site? Is it clear within the first seconds, or do I have to read through endless paragraphs to find out? The more concise and kick-ass your story, the easier it will be for your readers to promote you.
What you have that no one else has
The most important thing you can do to differentiate yourself from the herd is to be yourself and put more of yourself into your content. There is one thing that every blogger has that is very unique. You have yourself. You are unique, you write your own content, and no other site can copy that. You must use more of yourself when trying to make your site stand out from the crowd. Be a brand that’s unique. Bring yourself to the front. Find your voice in the way you present your site, in the way you write your articles, in the way you comment to your readers. Great sites stand out because they have unique brands behind them. There’s only one Gary Vaynerchuk, one Perez Hilton and one … YOU! Put your face out there. Use it on your Twitter profile, your avatar pic and grace your Facebook page with it.
Don’t be afraid to show your personality, readers should never wonder if there is a person behind the blog. Always incorporate your own thoughts and analysis. Don’t censor yourself, write from your heart and be yourself. Personal opinion counts and it is the person behind the site that makes the content stand out. You don’t have to be the best in the world. You just need to express your unique point of view. Become the person online you always wanted to become – fully embrace your passions and obsessions, and then use them to market yourself.
I’d like to think of this as creativity (especially for writers) and if you can tap into this goldmine, well then the content you pump out will be golden as well. It doesn’t matter if you have video content, an audio file or a written post, every time you create content and put yourself out there your core is always shining through.
So what is your core? Everyone’s different. But whatever your core happens to be, whether it is quiet and shy, loud and obnoxious or steady with a flow, you need to realize that it’s always shining through, which means you cannot afford to be fake or put on a front or claim to be an expert at something you are not. This is the first step you need to take when you want to write without restricting your flow of creativity and stand out in a crowded niche. If you’re faking it, your audience will know, and when they know, it will cause a few problems:
- They won’t be able to trust you and will become skeptical, the same way a pushy car salesman puts you on the defense. You know he has an agenda when he asks you how your day is going or how you’re liking the current courses you’re taking in school or whatever. His interest in your life isn’t genuine and you can sense it.
- You’re content will be weak. The connection between the brilliant idea in your head and what comes out on the page will be so distant and weak.
When you create content, you need to be real… whatever that may mean for you. If your reality right now isn’t what you want it to be, then go change it. Work and invest in yourself if you have to. Once you do this, come back and do what you set out to do.
There’s space for humor as well
Self-deprecating humor involves making observations of something negative about one’s self or to speak about things others are afraid to admit they do. By displaying your own faults, it creates a more personal connection with your audience as you become the spokesperson of a similarly shared experience. You can demonstrate more authority by being modest and light-hearted about your own being.
The fact that you’re open and willing to poke fun at yourself shows a great deal of confidence on your part. Also it’s not just about making fun of yourself at all costs. There needs to be context so your flaw addresses a shared view with your audience. The balance is important to get right – occasional light-hearted jabs at yourself are quite effective, but a series of brutal hay makers will just make people feel sorry for you or worse, they’ll join in on the assault.
Use parody when you want to persuade or convince your readers to do something, change their minds or just have fun. Effective parody should lower people’s guard, make them chuckle and prepare their minds for your message. Parody is not just being funny. It’s making your point by engaging peoples’ minds. Effective parody causes people to identify with you and your ideas, products or services.
Letting down your guard and allowing them to see the authentic you, the flaws and all, will establish a much deeper level of trust in your work.
- It’s non-offensive. The target of the joke is on you, so how could anyone get offended by it?
- It’s non-threatening. You become more approachable when readers know you’re not looking to attack them, only yourself.
- It encourages rebuttal. Your readers will naturally want to defend you and show that your flaws aren’t as readily apparent.
- It inspires sharing. Now that they’ve seen you let the cat out of the bag, your readers will be more willing to express their own flaws.
You need to find a fresh approach to your topic. You need to tell awesome stories in order to stand out. You need to add substance to your content. Great content will always win. And that is why you are still relevant and you still stand a chance of gaining that share of the audience. By flavoring your awesome site with your unique personality, you’ll dramatically stand out from the crowd and burn your personal brand into our global consciousness. Keep pushing!