It’s something that experts in brand marketing have been ramming into our collective brains for decades now:

  • Be Unforgettable!
  • Stand Out!
  • Find Your Purple Cow!

The strange thing is that there are only a handful of voices in just about every professional niche that actually figure out how to pull this off. You can probably think of some incredibly talented and original colleagues who are fascinating to talk to in person but turn into total bores when they try to speak to their audience on the web.

Why is it that so many of us have such a hard time creating a unique and memorable voice online?

If you’ve been using social media and creating online content for a while now, you can probably remember how awkward your first attempts at building an audience. Without knowing quite who you were talking to and what they were looking for, you probably got started by imitating other users who seemed authoritative.

Be yourself, everyone else is taken. – Oscar Wilde

The end result of that, of course, is that you ended up sounding like every other voice in the room. It’s not until you find your own voice and style that you can expect anyone to take notice.

No matter whether you’re creating an educational product, writing a blog post or participating with social media, there’s one useful question to ask yourself when you are unsure whether the content that you’re creating has value for your audience:

Am I contributing to the conversation or just contributing to the noise?

When you get right down to it, most blogging and social media noise fails to pass this simple sniff test. That’s not because they’re not created by intelligent, talented people with something to say. It’s because they’ve been trained to create average messages for average people.

Most of us grew up and learned to business in the age of traditional marketing where highly tuned advertisements interrupted our daily activities with messages crafted for mass consumption. The problem is that you aren’t supposed to be interrupting anyone when you’re using new media, you’re supposed to adding to the conversation. And, in order to do that, you have to be in it to serve your audience, not just yourself.

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