Every brand has at least one unique “thing” that sets them apart.
The “it” factor.
If you’re involved in building your own brand or a business, you absolutely need to make sure you’ve identified that “one thing” that individualizes your message and your content.
That factor that differentiates you from your competitors. The one essential element everybody else is missing.
Without it, you’ll risk blending into the masses.
You’ll turn into another blip in the content sea. Seen and heard today, forgotten tomorrow. A scary, but true, reality.
So, my question for you today is:
What is your content differentiation factor in your industry?
First, let’s define.
What do I mean by “content differentiation factor?”
This is a concept I teach in my Content Strategy & Marketing course and have written about in my book.
Your content differentiation factor (or CDF) is that one, unique thing – the it-factor – that separates you from the billions of other content pages on the web.
It’s the angle you present that provides a slightly different, new spin on topics your readers have seen before.
Joe Pulizzi of CMI calls this your pivot in the industry – more specifically, your content tilt. Joe talks about this concept in his book, Content Inc., which I highly recommend reading. He says:
When you have a solid differentiator, you stand out in a great way. Your voice rises to the top and gets heard. People want to hear what you have to say because it’s unique, useful, and valuable.
It’s how you not only reach your audience but reach them powerfully.
For today’s topic, let’s start by looking at a few perfect examples of brands that have it and use it to their advantage, and then get into how to find YOUR content differentiation factor.
Two Examples of Brands Killing It With a Solid Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)
Here are two amazing brands that are doing a killer job at using a CDF that aligns them with their audience.
First up, a brand with a solid CDF that perfectly caters to their audience – Society6.
This is essentially a printing service where you can get custom-designed items such as wall art, mugs, notebooks, t-shirts, phone cases, and even bedding, shower curtains, and furniture.
The differentiator which sets Society6 apart from similar printing services is the artist community that serves as their foundation.
Instead of offering pre-designed patterns and templates, Society6 sources designs from independent artists all over the world who receive a cut of the profits.
Their content ties into their CDF perfectly. They regularly feature original pieces from artists selling designs on Society6.
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“Message from the Sea” by Christian Schloe / Link in bio @Society6
They also have a blog with more artist features, tips for creatives selling their designs on the platform, and home décor tips using their custom-printed goods.
Finally, Society6’s huge following and high content engagement speak to how well tapping into their content differentiation factor has played out. On Instagram alone, they have over half a million followers, and each post averages thousands of likes and comments.
Society6’s unique artists are their greatest asset, and they use this CDF to reach out to both consumers who want to support small businesses as well as creators looking to support themselves with their art.How are you differentiating yourself from others in your niche? What makes you stand out? @JuliaEMcCoy's guide talks about content differentiation factor, plus examples, and how to do it. #contentmarketing #cdf Click To Tweet
2. Taste of Home
Another brand nailing their content differentiation factor: Taste of Home.
Originally a magazine dedicated to showcasing favorite recipes from home cooks, Taste of Home now has an online presence chock-full of content catered to their readers.
For example, their website serves as an extension of their printed compilations of reader-submitted recipes. However, what sets the brand apart is the fact that only the best of the best get featured because each is tested by the Taste of Home kitchen beforehand. Every recipe comes with tips, anecdotes, or secrets from the cook who submitted it.
Taste of Home leans into their CDF online and carries over the main mission from their print magazine: “foster[ing] a strong and loyal sense of community among like-minded home cooks of all ages.”
Along with user-submitted recipes and food-related blog posts, Taste of Home also populates their social media feeds with eye-catching video content.
> Get the recipe for Easy-to-Stuff Manicotti: https://t.co/chpdYg1myp pic.twitter.com/MOZv3UMiYc
— Taste of Home (@tasteofhome) October 31, 2018
Finally, their engaged community speaks to how well Taste of Home has used their CDF to their advantage. They essentially tap into the heart and warmth of home cooking.
How to Find Your Content Differentiation Factor (and Why It’s Different from Your Unique Selling Proposition)
It’s easy to mistake your content differentiation factor for your unique selling proposition, and vice-versa.Your unique selling proposition is NOT the same as your content differentiation factor. What makes you stand out in your industry? Click To Tweet
But, remember: They’re not one and the same.
- Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the factor that makes your products or services better or more valuable than your competitors.
- Your content differentiation factor is the unique angle you present as a brand/business. It’s how you approach industry topics and write about them from your individual perspective.
In short, your CDF is more akin to your motto, your mission, or your mantra. It’s how you approach connecting to your audience. To do it, you need to present them with an angle they haven’t seen before: your angle.
Here’s how to find it:
1. Don’t Over-Focus on Your Products/Services
This great blog from Jay Baer represents the pitfalls of what can happen when brands only focus on their USP, or on what their products/services do.
The key mistake, as Jay says, is when brands forget to be unique and only focus on the selling proposition:
“When marketers lean on unique selling propositions (USPs), they position their products as effective – but forgettable – solutions.”
Sure, your product is good and effective… but so what? Why should your audience care?
In contrast, your content differentiation factor is the thing that makes you memorable. It gives your audience a reason to listen to you because it’s about how you help them differently than the other guys.
How you help them differently – that’s key.
2. Consider Your Audience
You can’t stop at uniqueness for your CDF. It’s not enough to try to be different in your industry. Why?
Different doesn’t necessarily equal better. It doesn’t always represent a better choice for the customer.
Instead, frame your CDF in light of who you’re helping, what they need from you, and how you fulfill that.
To reference one of our above examples, Society6 does this by honing in on their artist community. Their mission is to empower independent artists and give them a platform for their work.
That very mission is reflected in their content:
Aligning your CDF with your customers and readers is a great way to make sure it’s effective.
3. Ask Yourself How You Help Them BETTER
Maybe you help your audience in a very similar way to your competitors. If that’s the case, ask yourself:
- How do you help them BETTER?
- What unique angle of their problem do you solve?
- What makes that angle possible?
- Where does your industry expertise come from?
- What piece of your background helps you help them?
4. Think About the Benefits
Again, stay audience-focused when coming up with your content differentiation factor. What benefits do you offer them when they interact with your brand, read your content, and buy your products/services?
It doesn’t have to be complicated, either.
5. Remember Your WHY
Finally, it always helps to think back to your original “why” – why you got into your business or industry in the first place.
- What do you hope to do for your customers that no one else can?
- How do you want to change the world?
- What positive impact do you want to have on customers in your industry?
Discover Your Content Differentiation Factor and Get Heard for Profitable Results
It’s hard to stand out online.
That’s not to say it’s impossible. With your CDF firmly in hand, you’ll be well on your way to positioning yourself advantageously online. That way, your content will get read and shared by the right people, and your brand/business can continue to grow.
Just remember that it starts and ends with your audience, and how you impact their lives for the better.
Now get out there and differentiate yourself! And if you need some help with your homepage copy, content differentiation factor homepage slogan, or the blog you’re struggling to produce every week, we can help. Send us a quick line here.