This post is about toothpaste.
And about being different.
And the wise words of two brilliant women.
And how it all intertwines to create an essential piece of advice for how to get your podcast (or any other piece of online content for that matter) noticed, consumed, beloved … and never replaced.
Let’s start with the words of those two brilliant women.
Different is better than better. — Sally Hogshead
In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.
— Coco Chanel
To be clear: There is nothing wrong with being better. Neither Ms. Hogshead nor Ms. Chanel would argue differently.
Being better than your competition is a good thing — offering a better product, delivering better quality, providing better access to better information, etc.
It’s just not good enough. Certainly not anymore.
What did you notice first?
The toothpaste … or the woman in the aisle holding the glass of Champagne?
The Internet is just one big toothpaste aisle
That’s really all it is.
You can try to attract attention by offering a better toothpaste, and maybe even a shinier box … or you can demand attention by being the woman in the aisle holding the glass of Champagne.
How do you know the woman in the picture doesn’t have the best toothpaste the world has ever known in that satchel she has draped across her arm? You don’t. She might. She might not.
Either way, if you’re in that aisle, and she starts talking, you’ll listen and find out.
And if she says something useful, you’ll keep listening.
And if her toothpaste sounds like what you need, you might even buy it.
As for the toothpaste sitting idly in the aisle that might actually be better? How would you even know? You never noticed it. Those other toothpastes never had a chance.
The lesson? If your content is sitting on the shelf in a box being ignored … get up, grab a glass of Champagne, and proudly raise a toast to what makes you different.
Because in the toothpaste aisle of the Internet, what makes you different is more important than what might make you better.
Just make sure you know what it actually is that makes you different, and toast loudly enough for your audience to hear you …
What makes a podcast better than better?
The first key to creating a podcast that stands out — that makes people want to listen — is having a firm understanding of what is already “standing in,” what people are already listening to.
That means doing your homework, because the only way to carve out a unique positioning for your show without having a deep understanding of your market and your niche is luck … and luck is not a strategy.
So do your homework.
And keep in mind that there are many ways to differentiate a podcast …
Your angle can make you different
Most podcasts about entrepreneurship focus on tactics; Hack the Entrepreneur focuses on mindset and delivers one mindset hack, every episode, for each entrepreneur profiled.
Your schedule can make you different
Most podcasts about Indiana basketball are interview/discussion shows posted during downtimes in the team’s schedule; The Assembly Call is broadcast live during the busiest time on the team’s schedule, immediately after each game ends, then posted as a podcast soon after the live show is over.
Your reputation can make you different
Plenty of podcasts deal with strategies for solopreneurs, freelancers, and startups; Unemployable features Brian Clark’s strategies for solopreneurs, freelancers, and startups.
Your artwork can make you different
A lot of show art on iTunes for podcasts about podcasting looks similar — a lot of whites, blues, greens, and oranges; The Showrunner stands out with its bright red background and strong, stylish name that is suggestive of the show’s bigger, bolder vision for podcasters.
Your name and Big Idea can make you different
Self-help podcasts are a dime a dozen. Only one show views self-help through the prism of balancing pride and humility while employing a brand new word — Primility — to describe itself.
Your format can make you different
Most history podcasts follow a discussion format or are highly produced narratives. Hardcore History is just one man, Dan Carlin, talking for hours on end, by himself, about specific historical events, all the while keeping you captivated with his remarkable knowledge and ability to tell stories.
After a certain point, even your longevity can make you different
Many podcasts are around for a while, then fade away; Keith and the Girl is on episode 2,217, and that single fact alone was enough to drive the curiosity that got me to listen to the show for the first time this week.
Every single one of the shows mentioned above is succeeding to some degree. Yet every single one of the shows above is competing in a crowded content marketplace and a competitive niche.
So how are they succeeding?
These shows are irreplaceable
No one else offers what they offer.
These shows aren’t boxes of toothpaste sitting on a shelf. They are meeting their audiences in the aisle, glass of Champagne in hand, proud of what makes them different — and they’re receiving attention because of it.
Now, it’s up to each of these showrunners to ensure that the audience’s attention is met with useful content that is delivered reliably over time, which will then build an authentic connection that ultimately drives whatever the personal or business goal of the show may be.
But that opportunity is never granted in the first place without the U.S.P. — the unique show positioning — that attracted the initial attention, and then made the show irreplaceable by being different.
Because you won’t ever be truly remarkable if you’re just like everyone else.
And if you can be replaced, you will be.
What makes your show different?
I’m asking you, seriously, right now: What makes your show different?
Before you spend another second of time making your show better, be sure you can articulate exactly how it is different.
That’s how you get off the shelf and into the hearts and minds of your audience.
Do it now: Write out your show’s U.S.P., or type it, or state it out loud. Whatever. But define it and embrace it.
Then let’s toast, proudly.
To the differences that will help us build our audiences.
To the differences that will make our shows better than better, irreplaceable, remarkable.
This post originally appeared on Copyblogger.