Here’s a quick question for you: Think about the websites, blogs and newsletters that are most valued. What do they all have in common?
The answer is that they all have something to say, which is not just a generic rehash of popular opinions. They dare to be different. The writers have the courage to state an opinion, which is not always in line with popular thinking.
As soon as you think about it, it makes perfect sense. After all, no one is going to recommend a website to someone if it’s just saying what everyone else says. These recommendations are how blogs like this one grow. I rely on you sharing my content for the vast majority of my readership.
The technology blogger Louis Gray is a great source of original ideas and insights. As a result, his blog is one or the most respected in his field. Louis has a new feature on his blog, where once a month, he recommends a small number of less well-known blogs to his readers. He told me recently that a key part of his selection process, is that the blog must have something original to say. If it hasn’t, no matter how cleverly it’s written, he won’t waste his readers time recommending it to them. He’s totally right – I mean, how many times does someone want to read the same opinions?
I have written a few times recently about the importance of having the courage to be yourself – to have your own authentic voice. I believe that when it comes to developing a readership or even a community, it’s essential to let the real you shine through.
In a recent blog post, Seth Godin says:
In our desire to please everyone, it’s very easy to end up being invisible or mediocre. Far better to please the right people.
The majority of small business blogs, websites and newsletters are all-but invisible; because they are so similar to one another. Their similarity acts as camouflage, which ensures they blend into the background and don’t get noticed.
Whilst I don’t advocate being ‘different’ just for the sake of it, I very strongly encourage fellow newsletter providers and bloggers to have the courage to be themselves and plough their own unique furrow.