Accentuate Your Differentiation Point

To say I’m interested in marketing blogs would be an understatement.  I’m irrationally commited to the niche as both a reader to several hundred blogs and contributor to a handful.

So what’s the largest subjective observation that comes to my mind about the marketing niche?  That it feels like one of the most saturated on the web from an industry perspective – perhaps only taking a backseat to the technology industry.  This is due to the fact that as marketers, we’re especially conscious of the reasons why organizations (and individuals) with audiences win.

With that said, I’m not one of the people who comes across new marketing blogs and thinks to myself “yet another marketing blog!?”  I know some people do have that mindset, however it’s sort of silly because the benefits of having a successful blog are so great why would everyone not at least try?

I’m all for more blogs, as in any other network, Metcalfe’s law holds true in the blogosphere – more blogs equals a more valuable network for everyone.

Every professional passionate about their industry should have a blog, especially those in media, marketing or PR.  Even if you can only contribute sparingly, exercising the metacognition required to write about your own industry is going to help you see things more clearly and rationally.  Plus it can only help you or your company’s image in the world – it just shows you’re interested in what you’re doing.  The only way it can hurt you is if the content sucks, and if you’re in the communications industry and you can’t write proper web content you have larger problems to worry about.

So bearing you can write sharp content, what is the hurtle stopping your personal or company blog from being an experiment read by just your friends/co-workers/clients and actually delivering results?

It’s not that your efforts aren’t working to connect with others, the problem I see most frequently is one of two items.  The first of which is consistently.  At least at the start, consistency is a good thing – as time goes on, it becomes less important and in fact a strategy you can use later is to focus on quality over consistency.  In the beginning though it helps quite a bit.

Got consistency down?  Great.  The other item – most likely –  is you’re not accentuating your differentiation point.  We really don’t need another Chris Brogan or Darren Rowse.  Don’t try to be them.  Honestly it’s boring, I will read Chris Brogan’s blog to get Chris, or ProBlogger to get Darren.  We need you – your own point or perspective is all I care about.

So if you want to be different in the marketing niche, what should you do?

What follows is not meant to be taken personally by anyone, and none of the following items are necessarily wrong.  There aren’t really right or wrong answers anyway – I’m just sharing how to differentiate yourself in the marketing niche based on what I observe to be common.

Don’t write about Twitter

I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with writing about Twitter, but realize by doing so you sound just like most other marketing bloggers.  Don’t believe me?  Head over to the marketing section of AllTop, hit “control f” and type Twitter.  Keep clicking find next and see how long it takes you to get down the page.  It’s overkill, you’d think by now everyone would be talking about something else.

If you must write about any popular tool, (or even topic) say something different.  For example, I don’t need to see more posts on “5 Twitter Tools You Don’t Know About” – if they were that good I probably would have known about them.  Besides, technology bloggers do a great job of sharing tools already, if you’re just sharing tools, you’re not actually a marketing blogger.

Better yet, stay away from any tools and write on strategy – that’s what is sorely lacking from most marketing industry blogs.  The tools are democratized and to be perfectly honest not difficult to use.  I feel like people who consider any web tools difficult to use haven’t even tried.  If you experiment you can almost always figure things out on your own.

Don’t sound like a white paper.

I don’t read blogs to read white papers, I will read white papers if I want to read white papers.  Sound like a human.  So many marketing industry blogs sound like this, it’s no wonder they don’t have subscribers.  Style and substance are both necessary:  it isn’t either-or, there’s too much competition not to have both.

Don’t be afraid to have opinions or take sides.

I’ll never understand what so many in the marketing industry are afraid of that they refuse to take a stance on things.  Take sides on an issue and even throw some opinion behind it.  A good marketer should be able to make a readable, interesting argument anyway.  It’s something you should enjoy and not fear.

Don’t join the echo chamber

The echo chambers in the marketing or technology industries in-particular aren’t all that interesting.  I know many reading this are involved in it, but for the most part I tired of it a few years ago as a reader and only jump in sparingly as a blogger.  As a marketer, I’ve used the echo chamber to help spread ideas, but as an industry blogger I try to stay away.  It sounds a bit counter intuitive, in that jumping in the echo chamber seems like a way to create buzz as a content creator, but in reality only those at the top win.  Instead start interesting conversations of your own.

So how do you stand out?

Go out and do your own thing, use your marketing prowess and create something that spreads.  Take pride in it and give it a proper effort.  You’re the marketer, and to not market yourself and do so in a unique and compelling way speaks volumes.

What might work? Find your differentiation point, and accentuate it.

image credit: EugenP via Shutterstock