I was listening to this interview with Michael Hyatt when the discussion turned to voice.
Voice: That incomparable you on display for the world to see.
You realize how important this is right?
When it comes to platform-building, your flavor is a major reason why people read your stuff.
So what about the narrow blog niche that so many bloggers harp on?
Whittle down that topic to a sharp point that sells.
That’s all well and good, but if you’re little blogging alcove is too precise, how far is that going to get you in this fickle land?
1. You’ll eventually grow weary of writing the same old muck, because repetition of the same topic = boredom.
2. You’ll lose the love of the craft that brought you here in the first place.
To me, that continual evolution is well, kind of exhilarating.
So my question today is simple …
What is more important?
A. Finding a specific niche and narrowing it until it’s as thin as a wafer mint?
… or …
B. Focusing on voice … flavor … swag?
Of course there’s a happy medium (in fact that might be the ideal scenario), but which of the above is more important to you?
In this competitive landscape I’m kinda partial to B.
Yes, it’s good practice to narrow your topic, but there are exceptions to every rule …
Generalists sometimes rock.
There are some extremely successful generalist bloggers.
Niche players can rule the day.
And there are tight niche players who are just as successful.
Either can succeed when it comes to building a successful online platform. BUT where are you without voice? Really?
Think about the bloggers you can’t get enough of.
Do they not have that incomparable presence that seems to bring you back?
Yes, Copyblogger is kinda, sorta dialed in (you would agree right? :)). The crème de la crème of blogging with Brian Clark sitting at the throne. But I would feel comfortable saying his voice got him there. Smarts, hard work and dogged determination helped, but I’m not so sure Copyblogger would be the entity it is today without Brian’s authentic voice.
Derek Halpern is a guy who often tells people to drill-down to a very specific topic. He is very, very good at what he does, but how has he built something quite special on his own plot in our blogging wonderland? If you know about him, it’s an obvious statement that his personality is a huge part of his success. Yes, he knows his stuff and is obviously putting in the hours, but voice is a primary driver.
Mark Schaefer is one of the most well-regarded platform builders in our online kingdom. Why? Well, he has something we call gravitas, and he teaches us all about online business (as only a professor could), BUT he has a wonderful writing style that is all his. This Schaefer dude kinda rocks it 😉 If you don’t believe me, go to his house and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll learn AND be entertained.
I’ve focused on James Altucher before, but good lord, read “The Altucher Confidential” and you’ll see why I sing his praises. As Mars Dorian wrote here, he breaks just about every rule in blogging, yet his writing is almost irresistible, to me at least. Besides I just love rule breakers. And once again, voice rules the day.
You guys have heard of Erika Napoletano right? Well, just in case you have not, head on over to Red Head Writing and let me know what you think. If you need branding advice infused with an oh so special language that’s a blend of salt and spice and all that other good stuff, you’ll soon be in love. Let me know what you think of that Napoletano-style lingo.
I would say it’s pretty damn important.
Yes, yes, yes … niche down. Don’t be too general. BUT please don’t forget that handy dandy little voice only YOU own. It has power.
Your blog will be nothing without the essence of you behind it.
Well I’m still in the platform-building stages and all this time I’ve been working feverishly behind the scenes, because … this stuff takes time.
You can be successful. You can make it rock. You can simply kill it, be super-duper epic, remarkable and all that fun stuff. You might even be sipping margaritas while lounging on the beach (while typing on your laptop).
BUT that is never going to happen unless you build a successful online platform, and I truly believe the power of platform comes from that voice only you can bring.
Plus … all work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a rather dull sort. Embrace that voice, have fun and keep building that platform.