Today’s marketplace is constantly expanding. Just a decade ago, it was difficult to publish your own book. Nowadays, anyone can self-publish a book in a matter of minutes with KDP.
Technology has virtually wiped out the barrier of entry for most industries. Business owners can now enter the marketplace and grow a large audience without paying a single penny. For less than $150 per year, I grew my Twitter audience to over 250,000 people.
You don’t need advertising dollars to stand out in today’s marketplace. While they help, they are not needed. However, the ease of entering the marketplace has resulted in an outpour of experts.
How exactly do you stand out when thousands—nay, millions—of people are trying to do what you do? Here’s how:
#1: Write Fantastic Content
Blogging is one of the main reasons why the barrier of entry is so low. You can create a free blog on WordPress in a matter of minutes. It’s easy to get started. The challenge is standing out.
The main reason some blogs stand out more than others is because of fantastic content. With that said, I understand that a larger audience gives a blog more leverage. However, to accumulate a large audience of returning visitors, the content must be fantastic.
We all have a favorite blog. We return to that favorite blog because the content is fantastic. When I become a returning visitor, I’m not returning just so a system can tally me as another visitor. I am returning because the blog posts fascinate me.
I always find myself returning to Seth Godin’s blog. Most of his blog posts are thought provoking and quick reads. In “The interim strategy,” Seth Godin brings one major point home: a great organization must start great and never cut corners in the beginning just for quick success.
Stay on his blog long enough, and you’ll find yourself reading dozens of his blog posts trying to catch up with what you missed.
#2: Create Awesome Videos
I understand this sounds similar to writing fantastic content. It sounds as if the only difference is that I’m talking about videos instead of blog posts.
However, videos are huge on the web. The average video gets more engagement than the average blog post. So does that mean give up writing blog posts all together?
NO! It’s understood that videos tend to perform better than blog posts. However, writing blog posts is an essential part of standing out. Here’s why doing both is the best approach:
- Blog posts can easily be edited and revised while you type. In a video, you are put on the spot. While you can do a redo, it’s much easier when writing a blog post.
- Writing a blog post in my opinion doesn’t require as much energy. Typing is easier than talking and barely stopping. I can type, stop, and think. That luxury is only available for videos by splicing and editing.
- Videos get more engagement than blog posts.
- Videos and blog posts are two different types of media which gives your audience more options
- Writing blog posts about something strengthens your skill in that area. Strengthening your skill makes it easier to do awesome videos. I wrote hundreds of blog posts to strengthen my knowledge before I did my first video.
Creating videos is commonly associated with putting them on YouTube and getting subscribers from there. However, you can also create videos that you put into a training course.
From my experience, creating a training course is quicker than writing a book. With speed on your side, you can create high value products at a higher frequency.
#3: Be “Everywhere” Your Targeted Audience Goes
To be successful in your niche, you must meaningfully put yourself in front of your targeted audience. Whether you put your blog posts, videos, or something else in front of your targeted audience, it must be something that positively grabs your targeted audience’s attention.
To be everywhere your targeted audience goes, you must first know where your targeted audience goes. Are they reading Inc Magazine? Are they on this blog right now? Are they reading celebrity blogs? Are most of them on Twitter?
The places where your audience goes are the places your content and videos must show up. Ask bloggers in your niche if they take guest posts. Submit that application to Inc Magazine again and again until they say yes (preferably get other writing opportunities first. Inc Magazine wants writers with solid experience). Partner up with people in your niche to reach new audiences.
I recently listened to one of Jeff Bullas’ webinars about getting blog traffic. In that webinar, Jeff talked about how he got a speaking opportunity. Jeff asked the event organizer why he got the opportunity, and this was the (paraphrased) response:
“Because I saw you everywhere.”
It turns out Jeff’s content has been featured on many prominent guest blogs. He has also been featured on The Huffington Post, Forbes, and a few others for his social media savvy. When the event organizer said he/she say Jeff everywhere, it wasn’t an exaggeration—to a certain extent.
Jeff didn’t get featured on a celebrity site. He got featured on most of the blogs and top magazines about business and digital marketing. As people see you more often, and they appreciate your content each time, they will remember you.
It’s hard to forget about the blogger you see dozens (or hundreds) of times on the web.
#4: Expert Interviews
Expert interviews—whether you are the interviewer or interviewee—are growing in importance. These interviews positively affect your social proof and the way your audience views your brand and mission. Here’s a quick breakdown:
When you get interviewed by an expert in your niche, that signals two things about you to their listeners:
- You had enough expertise and/or a great enough story to land the interview
- You probably say something valuable in the interview
Interviewing an expert in your niche signals two things about you to your listeners:
- You’re good enough to get that expert on your show
- Your podcast (or series of interviews if you don’t run a podcast) must be valuable)
Not only do expert interviews make the host and guest look good, but they also contribute to a larger audience.
The guest usually promotes the interview or podcast episode on the day it gets published. That means more visibility for the host. The host repeats the process a few hundred times and the results multiply. New listeners watch/read the past interviews.
The more of this interviews you are a part of (as the host or the guest), the more interviews you get. Hosts of podcasts see how well you can answer questions, and then they choose you as their next guest. Notable experts ask if they can be guests on your podcast.
It’s this ripple effect that has allowed some podcasters to accumulate six figures every month and attract millions of people to their episodes.
#5: Write A Book That Becomes Successful
Writing a book is challenging the first time. Making a book successful the first time is more challenging. For all successful products, the marketing side is more challenging than the creation side.
Why would a successful book make a big difference? Take a look at the people event organizers choose for public speaking events. Most of the speakers have a successful book. If they don’t have a successful book, then they have a massive amount of social proof. Some speakers have both.
Writing a successful book shouldn’t be on the top of your list of things to do (unless you are a passionate writer). You need to accumulate a large audience so when it comes time to promoting your book, you can rest assured it will get plenty of sales.
#6: Do Cool Things For Your Audience
Making your audience feel special is the difference between any audience and a cult-style audience. Engage with them on Twitter. Build relationships in the most meaningful way you can think of.
Random acts of kindness and random gifts—no matter how big or small—can go a long way. There is one true fact about every successful blogger, singer, baseball player, and President (in a word, every successful person).
All of the individuals within the audience make the success happen. Recognizing this success will let you realize how important the people in your audience are. Random acts of kindness and random gifts aren’t suggestions. They’re mandates for building a cult-style audience.
#7: Have A Powerful Philosophy and Purpose
Your mission affects the way people see your brand. Let’s say two people offer Twitter courses at the same price, and they are virtually the same. One person’s stated mission is to make money. The other person’s stated mission is to give everyone the ability to become successful on Twitter.
Who do you think gets the sale?
The person with the better mission. Of course, we know why the person who wants to simply make money won’t get the sale. However, we’ve become smart at crafting great mission statements.
The most powerful mission statements have the biggest impact on sales. Take a look at the people in your niche who experience the most success. Then look for their mission statements. Some will state their mission statements right from the start. For others, it takes some digging in the About Me page to find someone’s mission statement.
The mission statement is a starting point, not a final end. The mission statement implants a thought into a visitor’s mind. If that person sees your mission statement driving your journey and content, then the mission statement is valuable.
Creating a mission statement that doesn’t support what you do is the quickest way to disaster.
Standing out in an ever expanding playing field isn’t easy. There will be great struggles but also great triumphs along the way. Providing value in what you do, getting a large amount of people to respond that value (visiting, subscribing, purchasing, etc.), and having an authentic mission statement is how you dominate your industry.
What tips do you have for standing out in today’s marketplace? Which of these tips was your favorite? Do you believe it’s better to fight against competitors or work with competitors? Sound off in the comments section now!