Serve the dinner backward, do anything – but for goodness sake, do something weird.” – Elsa Maxwell, Born May 24, 1883.
There are two important parts in this lesson, but let's talk about the obvious one first.
I think a lot of people struggle unnecessarily because they try and do something completely creative, or completely original and unique.
That's really damn hard. Even creative geniuses avoid that scenario. And they're good at it.
All you really need to do to stand out is have one little twist that makes it different and weird.
It can be literally anything. Looks, ideas, presentation, accent, content, attitude, whatever.
Just own it, and repeat it, and make it something noteworthy beyond the actual information you're trying to impart.
A look, an angle, a voice that is unexpected in your chosen field. For me, it was a beard when the prevailing “look” was the clean cut biz-casual style. (Fashion caught up to me, what can I say?) I also had the spooky “cult” angle when lots of marketers are still not willing to lean into the dark side… not publicly anyway.
Yours can be anything – just one little pattern breaker.
Make it memorable, and DON’T point it out. Just repeat it and let your fans notice it for themselves and mention it first. Then doing it becomes part of a fan service they come to expect and anticipate.
I also want to mention that second lesson embedded in this quotation, and it's the one a lot of people miss.
Some would-be influencers and wannabe gurus maybe manage to being unique and weirdly intriguing – BUT they can't sustain their audience's fascination long-term and end up suffering for it. Why?
You have to remember to SERVE THE DINNER.
You have to have valuable material that is worthwhile no matter how you decorate it. Otherwise it's all icing and no cake. Seems good at first, but is unsatisfying and leaves you upset in the bathroom.
But valuable does not have to always mean *original* though. Share the same stuff that works for everyone else in your arena. Just add in your signature twist.
So that even if they come to think you have the same info they can get elsewhere, they'll still come to taste the flavor they like best.
And when you make it WEIRD, you make it it PROPRIETARY. They can't get your particular and surprising angle anywhere else but from you.
And that is where they place value – not on information as a commodity they can get anywhere – but on your persona/package/brand.
Do this and watch the audience for your thing grow and grow – because it's yours and no one else's.
<!—- lagniappe If you can't think of a unique twist, try this. Look at all your competitors, and make a list of how they are all the same. Looks, ideas, presentation, accent, content, attitude, whatever. Then, pick one of those things they all do similarly, and either make a big deal of NOT doing that, or even doing the OPPOSITE of that. It breaks the pattern. It gets attention. It zags to their zig. A bow tie in a necktie world. A slacker among professionals. A jerk among the polite. Or maybe a gentleperson among savages. It can be whatever. But what about that meal-worthy content to add that flavor to? Fret not. It's not hard to have valuable content on tap. Just like we said above, just about the same junk your competitors are getting mileage out of. They don't own the topic - you do YOUR take, and throw in your weird twist. That makes it uniquely yours, and you are just basically reacting and commentating on a stream other people are working hard to create. Publish something original now and then to preserve freshness. But by and large, the audience doesn't care if it's not original as long as it's interesting enough to bear being reminded of something they already know. It’s why people like cover songs and remixes and remakes so much. Same thing, small twist to make it fresh. —->