Four ways to create work that stands out.
Most creations start out as generic ideas.
But in order to attract an audience for your work, you need to mold that generic idea into something unique.
Here are four ways to do that…
- Create A Unique Format
Let’s say you’re a comedian who decides to start a podcast.
That’s a great idea…unless you’re going to start a podcast that’s just like the million other comedian podcasts out there.
The world doesn’t need another Marc Maron or Joe Rogan — we’ve already got them — and nobody’s clamoring for a show where yet another comedian interviews their comedian pals about their lives or whatever crazy thing happened at an open mic last weekend.
If you launch a podcast whose format is the same as every other podcast out there, it will be easy to ignore. Because no matter how hilarious you may be, the format is generic.
But there’s a better way.
One of the best ways to transform a generic idea (“I want to have a podcast”) into an idea that can’t be ignored is to create a unique format for it.
In the case of a comedian’s podcast, that format would depend on the person’s unique interests and viewpoint, but here are a few hypothetical examples of formats that would be hard to ignore:
- What if each episode of the podcast was a fly-on-the-wall audio recording of the host on a first date with someone they met on a dating app?
- What if each episode of the podcast featured the host interviewing the family members of another comedian instead of the comedian themselves?
- What if the podcast didn’t even feature the host on it? Each episode could be “hosted” by someone they know who tells stories about their experiences with the host and/or reveal things they know about the host?
The point is not that the above ideas are brilliant (they’re not), but they’re infinitely more interesting formats than the typical podcast most comedians launch and and that means they’re way more likely to get noticed.
And remember: You can’t build an audience if you can’t get noticed.
- Aim For A Specific Audience
Let’s say you’re a musician about to make a video for your new song.
If you set out to create a video for “people who like cool stuff,” the chances are nobody will think it’s cool.
But if instead you produce a video specifically geared toward people who love 1980’s-era Madonna, you’ve got a much better chance of delivering something those people will notice and love.
You want to create things for somebody, not everybody. And the more generic your target audience, the more generic your creation is likely to be.
The opposite is also true.
One of the simplest ways to mold an idea into something that gets noticed is to gear it toward a specific audience — and the more specific the better.
For example, a music video inspired by 1980’s MTV videos may get noticed by Madonna fans, but a video designed to mimic 1980’s Madonna videos in particular is even more likely to get noticed — and loved — by them.
The best way to ensure your work doesn’t get ignored is to cater it to exactly who you want to notice it.
- Combine Two Unrelated Influences
Let’s say you want to write a blog post about marketing.
You can write about your experiences marketing a product, share wisdom you’ve learned from marketing kingpins like Seth Godin or Gary Vaynerchuk, or include a bunch of links to some of the millions of other blog posts about marketing out there.
That’s fine, and likely will be valuable to some people if you do it well, but it’s unlikely to get noticed because it feels like what every marketing blog post does.
To create a blog post that would be harder to ignore you can combine your marketing insights with elements from an unrelated field — maybe something like sports, or anime, or mythology.
Connecting the dots between two seemingly unrelated topics is a great way to create something unique and attract attention for your ideas because it makes them stand out from the crowd.
One way I’ve done this is to create marketing blog posts that are influenced by musicians.
For example, here’s a post I wrote about how to better connect with your audience based on lessons from a Billy Joel concert.
One of the biggest reasons creations fail to stand out is because they only pull from expected sources.
To get your ideas noticed incorporate influences from other genres or fields that nobody — or few people — have ever thought to combine before.
This collision of influences leads to the creation of something unique and unexpected, something people will notice.
An obvious non-blog post example of this is the success of the song “Old Town Road,” which combined country music and rap in a way rarely seen before.
This combination was so unexpected that Billboard didn’t even know how to rank it on its charts initially, and proved so attention-grabbing that it became the longest-running number one single on the Hot 100 chart in history.
- Amplify A Weakness As A Strength
Let’s say you’re a salesperson who has to sell a product that’s more expensive than your competition.
You assume it’s going to be an uphill battle and see the price as a major weakness that hampers your ability to sell the product.
That may be true, but every weakness can also be a strength if you allow it to be.
Being the highest priced option in a market — even if you’re overpriced — can bring as many advantages as it does disadvantages when you shift your perspective.
Rather than shying away from the “weakness” of your product, embrace it and amplify it as a strength. This is all about mindset.
Maybe it’s the highest priced product because it’s the best in the market?
Maybe it delivers the most value or is the most reliable?
Maybe it has the longest history of success?
Maybe the high price is justified?
Even if none of those things are true, here’s some that definitely are…
There are buyers who love to buy expensive things because they can and it makes them feel important.
There are buyers who desire the best of the best and perceive the most expensive product as the one that’s inherently best or most exclusive.
Being expensive isn’t inherently a bad thing — it’s just different than being inexpensive. When you see that you can lean into it and transform what may seem like a weakness for some, into a strength for others.
This concept applies to anything you create and every idea you come up with.
The vulnerabilities of your idea when viewed from an alternate perspective are strengths.
And when you emphasize them that way, they become something that attracts attention as opposed to repels it.