The community that is the internet stretches to infinity. Pages have been created on every topic you could possibly think of. There used to be a game wherein someone would type in two incongruent words into Google in an attempt to bring back one unique web page. Those days are behind us.
So how does one stick out in an infinitely crowded, ever growing marketplace?
It’s certainly no easy task. But with a combination of diligence and creativity, it can certainly be accomplished.
The first step is developing a voice, which is something that’s easy to say but harder to do in practice. As you’re setting up your blog or company web site, or blog on a company web site, it’s important to ask yourself what you or your company can offer that no one else on the internet has?
This isn’t always an easy feat given the breadth of the world wide web, and yet it can be done. If the blog is geared toward a company, then chances are said company already has something unique it thinks can be offered to a certain industry. Developing a voice goes hand in hand with developing a product. It’s basic brand awareness.
A Side by Side Comparison of Two Distinct Brands
Let’s take a look at two companies. Burger King, through its carefully crafted ad campaigns, has created a persona of humor and, for lack of a better term, weirdness. Whether it be a bunch of dudes singing a song about Whoppers or someone awakening into a living nightmare by finding himself in bed with a man in a terrifying King costume, Burger King has cultivated a very distinct personality for its product.
On the other hand, look at a company like Coca Cola. The most successful soft drink company in the world, it doesn’t have to “go viral” with a bunch of absurd, humorous commercials to get its message across. It relies more on the fond memories people have of its product. Coca Cola has positioned itself as a cultural touchstone, and as such we get commercials of people from across the world coming together via a syrupy soft drinks. Coke fosters an identity of harmony and shared experience that promotes a brand without resorting to cheap humor or viral oddness.
If these two companies each developed a blog to go along with their product, we know what to expect based off of our knowledge of the brand.
- A blog on Burger King’s website is going to be a bit weird, a bit over-the-top, and probably quite funny. It’s going to promote their products with tales of wimps and dorks eating Whoppers and growing chest hair and becoming manly men because of it. It will feature the King slapping McDonald’s fries out of someone’s hands and kicking them to the nearest BK. It will take the lyrics of popular songs and replace the words with how great it is to eat at Burger King.
- A Coca Cola blog would be quite different. Instead of slapstick, funny stories, and Twitter non-sequiturs, expect Coke to write carefully crafted prose that demonstrates the importance of Coke to society. Such a blog would more than likely feature people from very different upbringings bonding over their shared love of Coca Cola. It would have descriptions of watershed moments in history in which Coke played a part. Around Christmas time, it would probably have adorable polar bears.
What This Means to You?
You’re lucky. You have a blank slate to work with. Unless you work for a company that has years of baggage like one of the above, the sky is the limit for what you can do. But it’s important to note that the two companies mentioned spent years carefully crafting the personas we associate with their product. You or your company’s personality will also take time.
As you set up your blog, ask yourself what it is you’re trying to get out there to the world. If it’s just a personal soapbox, then the answer is you. Just be yourself, let your personality shine through, and you’ll win followers. If, however, you have a brand or a product to sell, it’s a little more tricky, but not as daunting a challenge as one might expect. If your company is selling roofing shingles, then it’s almost necessarily going to be a little drier than a company that sells gag gifts. That is, unless you want to establish yourself as the goofiest shingle outfit in America, then by all means, go nuts with humor.
But just because your brand isn’t over the top funny doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Make it informative without being cloying. Promote the benefits of your product without being shameless. Talk about current events and how they affect your industry. Be honest. Develop your persona, and then stay true to that perception. And maybe most importantly, update constantly. I can’t stress this enough.
As mentioned before, it takes a company years to develop a distinct brand. The process isn’t going to happen overnight. The more you add, the more you’ll fall into the style that suits you or your company, and in turn, the more searchable content you create. By being diligent in your posts, people will begin to seek out your company instead of vice versa.
The marketplace of the internet is crowded, but it’s not impossible to make a dent in it. Focus on what your specific brand can offer, and how you want people to perceive that brand, and then pursue it with a passion.
It could takes months and years to see a payoff, but when it does payoff, it can be huge. A business can have a personality as distinct as any person, and this personality is essential in creating an ongoing relationship with a customer.
Developing a unique voice isn’t always easy, but by staying true to your product, your brand, and your own personality, it’s possible to build a unique landmark in the vastness of the internet.