Most writers, creators, marketers, entrepreneurs, and businesses (big and small) approach content creation through a product-first mindset.
How can we make our newsletter better than the competition? How can we be smarter? How can we utilize more research?
What they fail to realize, however, is that no matter how much better/faster/smarter/cheaper they make their content, they are still firmly positioned in someone else’s shadow.
To stand out, they need a radically different Point Of View.
How To Have A Radically Different Point Of View
As we shared in How To Write A Top 1% Business Newsletter, the single point of failure for every business, product, service, and newsletter is your POV.
The hard part is coming up with a unique one, so here are 3 ways to get started:
1. Change the subject of the category.
The key here is to get hyper-specific about what it is you’re actually writing about.
- Is it “business news” in general?
- Or is it news updates on small businesses?
- Or news updates on small businesses in remote locations?
The more specific you can get about the subject you are writing about, the easier it is for readers to decide (in a very binary way) whether this is exactly for them, or exactly not for them.
2. Change the outcome of the category.
By changing the outcome you are helping the reader achieve, you are likely moving out of one category of subject matter and into another.
For example, notice the difference between an investing newsletter that promises readers stock recommendations that will make them a lot of money (outcome #1) versus an investing newsletter that promises to teach readers how to navigate emerging cryptocurrency laws (outcome #2).
If everyone else is focused on creating content around “investing best practices,” how can you write about (and solve) a different and even more specific problem?
3. Change the audience of the category.
Finally, you can niche down even further by changing who the content is for.
Notice the differences:
- Investing 101 For Teenagers
- Investing 101 For College Students
- Investing 101 For First-Time Parents
- Investing 101 For Late Bloomers & Boomers
Just by changing the intended audience, you can radically change which category you are in (and also, by definition, changes the Subject and the Outcomes you write about).
Specificity is the secret.
The more specific you can be about what outcome(s) you want your Superconsumers to achieve, and who those people are, the more differentiated you’ll be.
When your POV is for everyone, it’s really for no one — which is why this is only 1 of 7 ways to differentiate your content and POV.
But defining your category POV won’t make a lick of difference if you don’t live it.
Living Your Category POV
Many years ago, Kraft ran an internal survey.
It asked the company’s top 100 executives which Kraft products they ate. Did they like the yellow Kraft cheese slices? How about the Jell-O desserts that wiggle and jiggle?
Turns out, only 3 of the top 100 executives were Superconsumers of their own company’s products.
One executive said, “I’d never feed my family this stuff.”
Whether you “eat your own dog food” is a massive signal.
When you live, breathe, and sleep your product or service, you send a signal of confidence. And when you don’t, you send a signal of concern.
In the mini-book, Living Your Category POV, we wrote about how you can tell when a company is creating a new category. The simplest answer is to look at whether the founder(s) eat their own dog food. Or, said differently: does the founder live their POV?
Here are a handful of amazing founders who do:
- Jack O’Neill, inventor of the wetsuit: “I’m just a surfer who wanted to surf longer.”
- Joe De Sena, founder & creator of Death Race & Spartan: “In 2000, De Sena’s team became stranded in the Quebec wilderness during a 350-mile winter adventure race, when he had to dig himself beneath the snow to survive. It was here that he claims he made a distinction between ‘difficult’ situations and ‘desperate’ experience, and inspired him to create his own endurance races.”
- Brian Chesky, one of the founders of Airbnb: “Starting today, I’m living on Airbnb.”
A founder living their POV (or employee who cares, thinks, and acts like a founder) is going to create what they’re going to create because it means something personal to them. The problem they want to solve is something they’ve experienced (or deeply connect with). It’s personal. It’s emotionally charged. It makes them angry, or upset. Or, they see a giant new opportunity.
5 Tell-Tale Signs A Founder Doesn’t Live Their POV
Here are some tell-tale signs a founder doesn’t have a mission (and is a mercenary in disguise):
- The founder surrounds themselves with other mercenaries. Are the people around them on the same mission? Or are they there to make a quick buck?
- The founder/company wants to fight for existing demand. Imagine Elon Musk scheduling a board meeting and announcing to everyone, “Our strategy is going to be to start creating gasoline-powered cars.
- The founder won’t eat it. Or drink it, or let their kids consume it, and yet they go to work every day to make and sell it. Red flag.
- The founder/company is competing on 1 of any of the 8 Category Differentiation Levers. Is your entire existence is rooted in a comparison game against the existing Category King/Queen?
- The founder/company is myopically focused on the Urgent & Important. Are they trying to “catch demand” or “ride a wave” whenever a new trend emerges — so they can get in on “the next big thing”?
On the flip side, it’s also important to know the tell-tale signs of a founder who lives their Category POV.