Can you answer the most painful question in marketing?

The other night I was having a beer with a friend who is a beginner blogger. He was lamenting that he was not attracting many new readers or comments.

I let him go on for awhile but finally had to hit him with the most painful question in all of blogging … marketing… perhaps in all of business:

“What makes you special?”

A confused and strained look came across his face. In fact he looked a little green.

This simple question is so very excruciating to confront!

Yet, if you don’t address it, answer it, and burn that response into your soul,  it’s probable that your blog, and your business, will just languish in mediocrity forever!  If you can’t explain how you differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack, if you are not offering something truly unique and interesting, why WOULD anybody ever read or comment on your blog … or buy your product?

The world doesn’t need more posts about the “Five biggest mistakes on Twitter.”  However the world does need more of YOU.  I mean really, really, really you.

So I challenged my friend to dig deep into his heart and tell me why he wanted to master the social web and blogging.  He paused … thought … and then unleashed a passionate story about his family, his wife and his determination to overcome some pretty serious personal pain to urgently re-invent himself as a social media marketer.

I simply responded, “Write that.”

Within a few minutes we were mapping out his own voice about a journey on the social web that could only be uniquely — and dramatically — his. If he follows through, he will have a blockbuster of a blog.

So what about {grow}?  What make this blog special?  I would describe the soul of {grow} as the unique combination of:

  • Global community of bold, smart professionals who attack issues, not people.
  • Entertaining, and sometimes humorous, presentations of topics that are not part of the social media echo chamber
  • Original commentary built on a unique blend of personal work and life experiences
  • An authentic desire to support and nurture the people of the community

I believe this is the brand promise of {grow}.

It didn’t happen overnight.  It took me awhile to find my footing just as my friend will take some time to find his voice, too.  So be patient, but look inside of you — not at what Chris Brogan is up to — to find the soul of your blog.

Can you answer the question?  Do you think of your blog as having a brand promise?  Have you found your unique voice?

Illustration: “Man carrying Question marks” by Saul Steinberg

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