We’ve all had the thought at some point, “I don’t have anything to say because it’s all been said before.”
Content overload is a real thing. There has never been a time in history where information has been more accessible and knowledgable people have been more prolific.
And you may have this same fear that many of us creatives go through— that the things you have to offer have already been done before.
I’m talking specifically to bloggers here— or anyone who is trying to grow a digital platform around their passions and expertise. Understand this:
No, you may not be saying anything new— but nobody has ever said it just like you.
That rhymes, so it must be true!
Sure, there are plenty of experts, pundits, gurus and mavens who have shared the same concepts you may be working up. And yes, they have larger audiences than you.
If I let this stop me when I was getting started blogging and growing my own platform, I would have never made it past the first week. Between Michael Hyatt, Darek Halpern, and Gary Vaynerchuk alone I could have concluded that if they haven’t covered what I want to say in some way already, they will eventually.
But do you know what I realized?
No matter how polished and prolific Michael is, no matter how smart and epic Darek’s writing is and no matter how wildly popular and impressive Gary’s stuff gets, they all lack one thing: me.
Read that line again, but make it a statement about yourself. And if you actually tweet that quote, you’ll notice the “my” changes to “your”.
Don’t worry if someone else has written it first. It doesn’t matter how many people have covered a subject, nobody has your perspective. Nobody has your views, your history, your experiences and therefore will never write about it in quite the same way that you will.
And look, no matter how internet-famous those experts and gurus get, you will always reach people that they will not.
Not only that, but you can say things that will relate to people in ways nobody else can. It’s your unique makeup of experiences and perspectives that allow you to phrase things differently than others would.
Adding Your Unique Perspective
It can be really easy to get into a generic, matter-of-fact style of writing or storytelling that is uninteresting and undermines your unique perspective. So in order to make sure that you’re using your biggest advantage, follow these basic rules.
Always know who you’re talking to
Write for someone specific. This personalizes your message and allows you to speak with greater clarity. You might have a different idea of who you’re talking to and this will dictate how you tell your story.
I’m sure you’ve experienced a time when you have one person trying to tell you something and it’s just not sinking in for you, but suddenly another person puts it a different way and it all makes sense.
You can be that point of clarity that your friends, fans and followers need. But to accomplish this, you must know who you’re talking to.
Add personal experiences
Dig deep into your own experience and show examples of what you’re talking about in practice.
When I was a Sunday School teacher, I could give a fantastic 30-minute lesson full of ideas, examples, highly valuable insight and perspectives. But you know what my students always commented on more than anything else?
When I shared personal stories.
Not only do personal stories and experiences connect with your audience on a more intimate level, they also make what you say more memorable.
Humanity has used narrative over the centuries to pass down our knowledge, and our brains are much more receptive when we are able to connect to a real-life story.
Leverage and improve related content
So someone else has written or talked about the topic you want to cover? Perfect! This is a fantastic opportunity to take what they’ve said and expound upon it, filling in any gaps they may have left.
I learned this trick from Chase Reeves of Fizzle. Here are two channels to strategically use for research to make your content better:
1. Blog posts.
Find the blog posts that have been written before about the topic you want to write about.
After reading the article yourself, read through all the comments and see what people are resonating most with or, more importantly, what they’re missing or asking questions about.
2. Books on Amazon.
Find books on Amazon that are about your topic. You don’t need to read the books, just go straight to the reviews of the book, specifically the 3-star reviews.
Why the 3-star reviews? Because these are going to be the people who liked the book but thought something was missing. You can take that feedback and use it to make your content on the topic better.
Now remember, always cite sources and give credit where credit is due. If you were inspired by something, make sure you are a good internet citizen and link to the source.
Run Your Own Race
My buddy Nicholas Cardot always reminds me that the only person you have to beat is yesterday’s version of you.
And Rebekah Radice reminds us that even if you are competing with someone else, to win a race you only need to be one step further than the other person.
Never let the lie of “somebody else already said it” stop you from telling your story, your way. Your audience needs your unique perspective.