It’s one thing to cover that ’80s band on stage with a bad wig at the local fair — it’s a completely different thing to perform a song you’ve written and then share it with the rest of the world for the first time. If it’s good, people will snap to attention. If it’s not so good, well… people may head to the side area for a corn dog, but if it’s really, really good? You could soon find yourself on a much larger stage with a vastly larger audience.
Whether it’s a great song, a witty visual, an interesting article, a compelling video, or an innovative dance routine — making something new that only you could have made captures the imagination and sets you apart from the rest. Heck — being original is what moves the ball forward on the field of human civilization.
Rise above the noise
As social media continues to evolve — and as all media continues to evolve — the noise quotient goes up. Everybody is a publisher these days with the potential to reach a vast, global audience within a matter of seconds. What you do with that incredible opportunity is up to you. It’s quicker and far easier to just share what other people have created. Most people do that and that’s fine. But if you want to separate yourself from the crowd, the best way to step it up is to use your own special talents and create original content for your niche that others will want to share.
If that sounds challenging, it is. A bit risky? Maybe. But it is also incredibly gratifying — not only to carve out your own unique space in this always-on, 24/7 online world of ours, but also to have produced something original — perhaps evolving into a broad body of work that could only have come from you. Hone those latent talents! Take a creative writing class, practice your on-camera skills or learn to draw!
Be yourself, be different
The important thing is to be original! That’s always preferable to going down a path of relative sameness. When you write a blog post, fuel it with passion and take an angle that’s different from what others are doing, even if the topic is a popular one. When you create an infographic, draw a diagram in the sand and photograph it to create your image — anything to be different! Some of the content that has the biggest potential for going viral isn’t necessarily the most polished, but it has a good idea and oozes originality. People love that!
Now that many of us have been on social media for a while, I sense that people are starting to rethink things a bit.
- Where is the best place to put your time?
- How can you most effectively manage the online presence you’ve worked so hard to establish?
- Things change — how do you keep it all going, especially as more people are vying for attention online with no end in sight?
Stay on strategy
Of course, it all starts with what you are trying to do and defining your business objectives — then developing a strategy that will best reach the people you need to reach, solidifying your brand. This includes fortifying your efforts with content that will get noticed, get shared, and drive the results you’re looking for.
But if you’re interested in real business results, and not just high follower counts of dubious relevance, producing original, unique content and developing relationships is the way to get there. And if you don’t possess the skills to create a specific type of content, that’s fine too. The most successful businesses source the talent they don’t possess themselves to bring their content to life and power their brands — anything less presents a less-than-professional vibe to the world that should not be taken lightly, for it is a reflection on you and your business. Mediocrity is rampant, and sometimes we need to put the ego aside and make an honest assessment of where our time and skills are best spent.
Keeping an eye on the bigger picture and how to achieve real benefits for your business over the long-term should always be central. Yet, to my continued surprise, there is far less talk about content creation and an over-abundance of talk about the tactics themselves — advice on how to use social media, the hottest online tools, SEO, etc. is everywhere — necessary and important, but mostly irrelevant when it comes to producing the kind of meaningful content that will truly make you stand out and get noticed.
There is an avalanche of content flooding the social streams — day in and day out — much of it looking the same, rehashed over and over again. It has only just begun. The time to focus on creating original, unique, valuable content is now.
It's also a lot more fun.
What are you doing to create your amazing content?
Photo illustration work: Paul Biedermann, re:DESIGN.