“When you stand alone and sell yourself, you can't please everyone. But when you're different, you can last.” – Don Rickles, Born May 8, 1926.
There is no flavor that every tongue will find appealing. Hell, not even every taste bud on the same tongue will like every flavor it touches.
But there are flavors so unique that they can't be had anywhere else but the source.
And those who develop a taste for those strange flavors will therefore linger close to the tap.
This is what I recommend to anyone trying to make their way today as a “persona” in the public eye – whether you create content or are simply a recognized authority in your own field interacting with your own small following:
Step 1. Hone your point of view to the degree that you see the world in a unique but consistent way. From the smallest observation to the grandest “big picture” perspective.
Craft your voice to the degree that you can comment on nearly anything and your audience can tell it's you.
But make it unique. Don't just repeat what others say. Put your own spin. Use your own metaphors. Lace in your own quirks and idiosyncrasies.
Be different enough to stand out.
Step 2. Be specific and firm enough in your opinions that you will anger some people who disagree.
You have to – you have to drive away the cold and lukewarm to make room for the red hot. And once you do that, just give people something they aren't getting anywhere else.
It's not as hard as you might think – people generally just repeat and regurgitate and stick to the surface of a thing. Spend an extra five minutes probing, googling, thinking – and you're bound to come up with enough of an angle to stand apart.
Disagree with the status quo but have an interesting reason why – and watch bored people start gathering round.
That's the whole trick right there. To both capturing attention, as well as gaining longevity.
Be different. Be confident and opinionated. And do it in front of as many people as you can, as often as you can, and give people a way to follow along and get more.