Maverick or Mediocre? Web Content, Individuality, and Creative Innovation

very colorful egg in sea of plain white eggsCan you be yourself in the Internet maw?

“In the digital age, razor-sharp clarity and definition are the keys to success. Knowing what and who you are, and conveying that idea to an audience, is the only way to break through to readers ADD’ed out on an infinitude of choices. General-interest is out; niche is in. The irony, as restaurateurs and club-owners and sneaker companies and Facebook and Martha Stewart know…is that niche is sometimes the smartest way to take over the world.” ~Michael Hirschorn, The Atlantic, The Newsweekly’s Last Stand

Yesterday, Micheal Masterson, in his Early To Rise newsletter, offered up his thoughts on this question: “Where Do You Look for New Marketing Ideas?”

His response: Forward, Backward, Sideways, and one more “secret” place.

  • Forward is the divination of “breakthrough” ideas, the “never before seen.”
  • Sideways is a brutal exploration of all that’s going down in your own market.
  • Backward is a respectful and academic nod to those marketing savants–in your niche– that have come before you. Truth be told it was THEIR breakthroughs, THEIR unabashed pioneering that laid most of the brickwork from which “forward” and “sideways” perspectives are able to happen in the first place.

Masterson’s final direction–the secret place– in which to search for marketing inspiration is INWARD. Wad together all of the Forward, Backward, and Sideways notions, concepts, innovations, and ideas, and stir them around on the inside for awhile–where creativity does her better work.

Is it possible to be a maverick individual in your online business?

Does it seem like we get caught up  in trying to reframe our individual and creative messages into a carbon copy of someone else’s, or cram them into a package manufactured by someone else and in use by thousands of others? In the ring of web content I can certainly vouch that the online world some days  looks a Wasteland of mediocre and re-hashed fill-in-the-blank and templatized automata that vaguely resembles words and language. That’s not to discount rehashing– it certainly has its place in our online ecosystem and what would the world be without swipe files and all manner of techie mash-ups?

The things we’ve begged, borrowed, stolen, and bastardized are, in themselves, whole combo meals of Forward, Sideways, Backwards and sometimes Inward components that Masterson speaks of. Suddenly, in our possession, they become a Backward. If we choose to do something with one of these things– to force our individuality on it, it becomes ours, a Sideways creation for all to see, with some of our Inward and Forward inadvertently dropped in the secret sauce.

Maverick?

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