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One of Things is Not Like the Other: And that’s a good thing!

By Jessica Albon

content marketing that's different

Black Swan and Children by Michael Zimmer (zayzayem)

There’s a virus afoot. No, not a computer virus. Or a bird flu virus. But rather a Sameness Virus.

Most of the articles you’ll read on blogs, article libraries, in ezines, and being posted at sites like EzineArticles.com are very much the same.

In fact, if you spend a lot of time browsing content, you might start to feel like the article writers took the old Sesame Street song a little too much to heart and decided the worst thing that could happen to their article was that it “wouldn’t belong.”

You probably think you’re immune. After all, you can see all the nuances that set your content apart. But, here’s the thing: just because you know your articles stand head and shoulders above the rest doesn’t mean your readers can see the difference.

It’s not really your fault that your articles suffer from the Sameness Virus–you’ve been doing things exactly as you’ve been taught. You’ve written that cornerstone article, the one solidifying what you accomplish for your clients. And then you’ve supplemented it with more content answering the questions clients most frequently ask. You’ve posted all these articles on your website, you’ve submitted them to article sites, and you’ve published them in your newsletter.

It’s not your fault that’s all been a waste of time.

Think I’m being too harsh? Then tell me, how many clients have hired you in the last 3 months as a direct result of those articles you’ve written? None? Two, maybe three?

If you’re a writer of average speed, you’ve probably put in 10-30 hours on all that content. And it brought in 3 new clients… Doesn’t that seem wildly low to you?

(How about when you consider I have content I wrote a decade ago that still regularly brings me clients?)

Done right, your articles can work much harder for you. They can be round-the-clock salespeople who consistently bring in new business.

But the key is, “Done right.”

There’s absolutely no good reason for you to not make your articles work harder. All it takes is curing the Sameness Virus you’ve got coursing through your system.

So what’s the cure? Five steps, easy-peasy:

  1. Innovate SOMETHING. My team set out to change the way creatives relate to their clients by using archetypes to determine how we approach your design and copywriting. And it’s worked! It all started because I knew the traditional way creatives talk to their clients was broken. Find what’s broken in your industry and set out to fix it.
  2. Know your words. I use “awesomesauce” in conversation all the time, but I wouldn’t call it one of my words. You won’t see me using it in headlines or on my website because a) it’s super common; and b) it’s not one of my words. Find your words and use them, particularly where it matters (like in headlines).
  3. STOP stalking your competitors. I know, their newsletters are super interesting. (Wait, what?) You’re totally going to miss them in your inbox. But they don’t belong there! There are some exceptions to this–people you’d like to collaborate with, for instance–but if you’re getting their email exclusively to see what they’re up to so that you can see how you stack up, UNSUBSCRIBE.
  4. Fail more! This one’s not my favorite, but it’s crucial. If you don’t fail (and often) you’re not creating anything new. So, get off the tried and true path and put yourself out where you can fail. How will you fail today?
  5. Stop chasing “cool.” Most of us like to be in the know and we like to be where everyone else is. It’s just one of those human nature things. What’s more, things like “google searches” make us feel like we have to do what everyone else is doing so that we have the same keywords. There are a million reasons you don’t want to be the three thousandth article on the “Selfie Olympics,” but I’ll give you just one: it’s not setting you apart. That means it’s a waste of your writing time, so you might as well not have written it at all.

Being different doesn’t equal not belonging (except in the Sesame Street song). In fact, when you set out to blaze your own trail with content only you can write, it’s precisely your unique voice that attracts others to you. Start curing yourself of Sameness Virus today and see for yourself how setting yourself apart will surround you with clients.

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