Why is standing out so dang hard to do?
Because we’re afraid.
Here’s what Seth Godin says in Purple Cow (my favorite marketing book):
The Problem with the Cow
…is actually the problem with fear.
If being a Purple Cow is such an easy, effective way to break through the clutter, why doesn’t everyone do it? Why is it so hard to be purple?
Some folks would like you to believe that there are too few great ideas or that their product or their industry or their company can’t support a great idea. This, of course, is nonsense.
The cow is so rare because people are afraid.
If you’re remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise–ever. The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.
Where did you learn how to fail? If you’re like most Americans, you learned in the first grade. That’s why you started figuring out that the safe thing to do was to fit in. The safe thing to do was to color inside the lines, don’t ask too many questions in class, and whatever you do, bue sure you homework assignments fits on the supplied piece of cardstock.
We run our schools like factories. We line kids up in straight rows, put them in batches (called grades), and work very hard to make sure there are no defective parts. Nobody standing out, falling behind, running ahead, making a ruckus.
Playing it safe. Following the rules. Those seem like the best ways to avoid failures. And in school, the may very well be. Alas, these rules set a pattern for most people (like your boss?), and that pattern is awfully dangerous. These are the rules that ultimately lead to failure.
In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.
Here’s my take in podcast format
Dang. Isn’t this so true?
The easiest, least path of resistance is for bloggers to trot along, fitting in.
- making our sites look like other bloggers sites
- publishing on the same topics
- not publishing stuff that’s too controversial (we tease ourselves with a little bit of controversy)
Over the past two days, I have written out the sales page for the upcoming Blogger U launch, and I finally worked up the nerve to show it to a few people I trust.
They didn’t like it.
It wasn’t the product. It wasn’t the pricing. It wasn’t because it was “too salesy” or “too spammy.”
The reason they didn’t like it was because it didn’t sound like me–because I was too afraid to let my own personality show through on the page.
It was a huge “oh. duh” moment for me.
80% of the time I do ok infusing my own snarkiness and personality into my content–but because that sales page is important to me (and my business)–I let fear creep in.
How are you letting fear creep into your blog?
How is your blog unremarkable–not because YOU are unremarkable, or you suck at blogging, or because you’re uncreative or unwitty.
No, how is your blog unremarkable because you’ve been holding yourself back?
Is it your site design?
Have you chosen your colors because they help you stand out on Pinterest? That’s fine–but are your “competitors” doing the same?
What have you been afraid to publish for fear of alienating 50% of your readers? 30%? 5%? Write that content.
I don’t know how many people are starting blogs every day of the week–but it’s a large amount.
The only chance we (anybody reading this) have to stand out and grow is to let our personalities shine through.
Infuse you into your blog. All over your blog.
Don’t be afraid.
P.S. Seth Godin recently relaunched his blog, and he’s now on WordPress! It’s a lot easier to read, and you should check it out 🙂 I recommend starting with How to Be Remarkable.