Yet again, you’re standing on your soapbox at a party, ranting on your favourite topic. What do you rant on? This is a question that I regularly ask my blogging for business course participants and clients. Not because I want to encourage complaining. Nor do I suggest that every message your business puts out be an uninformed rant – that will quickly lose you attention and credibility.
But the importance of rants cannot be underestimated – because they point to the things that you’re already passionate about. I’m not asking you to acquire an opinion or manufacture outrage. Authentic passion is difficult to successfully fake and most of us are far better at sniffing out a phony than cynics would believe.
What you are already ranting about shows your passion, and if this connects with your community, it’s a big clue to your business’s point of difference.
Defining your difference through opinion
Your business needs to stand for something – your opinion needs to be clear through your marketing and communications. It acts as a rallying cry for like-minded people to band together. Your marketing needs to reach a particular type of person that shares the particular worldview of your business.
Branding consultants refer to this as your business’s mission or vision. Here’s where most business owners bury their head in the sand, believing this mission or vision needs to be grand and impactful. But while it needs to inspire, it doesn’t need to solve the world’s problems.
In fact, if your business mission is too grandiose without demonstrating what, exactly, you’re doing to solve this, your business can be implausible – too many businesses blithely inferring that green juice will somehow save the world works only to discredit the entire industry.
Your rallying cry doesn’t need to be grand, but it should be inspiring. And make sure it’s not simply reiterating what your customers expect (for example, “providing quality care” in hospitals and clinics isn’t a mission statement, but a bare minimum expectation).
Your rally cry needs to relate to what it is your business does: you don’t attract people through simply being a bleeding heart. In fact, aligning your business with a wide and plentiful variety of causes that don’t clearly align with your organisation works only to confuse your target market.
You must be visible
After you’ve shifted through your rants to choose one, two or three that are particular relevant to your industry and business and relatable for your community, you then need to turn up the volume.
Your point of difference must be visible for it to be effective.
- Write a killer piece of “cornerstone content” about each of your rants.
- Turn each of these pieces in a video.
- Ensure your homepage and About page makes clear what your business stands for and what it’s mission, vision, opinion, or worldview is.
- Write about these key opinions in mainstream media as well as in guest blogs.
- Ensure you continue to share these – not in each and every piece of your marketing, but regularly over time. New people are coming into your all the time community and nobody is paying close attention to every piece of content your business puts out.
- Create graphics for social media that summarise these opinions.
- Look for speaking and presenting opportunities to talk on these key opinions.
- Share these key opinions in podcast interviews.
- Consider creating larger pieces of content centred on these key opinions, including workshops, courses, programs, books and video series.
Business blogging beige – beware!
It’s tempting to want to mirror the opinions of others – especially those whose businesses appear to be thriving. That’s understandable – we are pack animals. We want to belong to a group that we have rapport and commonality with.
Be very careful that your business doesn’t follow the “me too” beige brigade. Effective marketing stands out. Beige opinions are so ubiquitous that they’re essentially invisible and a waste of your marketing efforts.
Imitation may be flattery but it’s also unethical
When you find someone in business whose opinions are similar to your own, this is a cause for celebration, not an excuse to get discouraged and do nothing.
Introduce yourself, pay them a compliment (everyone who works hard to regularly produce content appreciates this) and ask them if you can interview them for your blog, video or podcast.
Never appropriate their work as your own, without giving credit. That business owner likely has an army of supporters behind them who are looking out for copycats and see through these shenanigans.
We are stronger together, supporting like-minded business owners through web links, shout-outs on social media, and interviews. This quickly leads to referrals worth many thousands of dollars, real life, face-to-face catch-ups with people who “get it” (unlike your employed friends who don’t), and advice, mentoring and the chance to share a rant on a bad day.
The importance of rants cannot be underestimated – they help good people find other good people.