We’ve talked about how important a unique approach is to establishing yourself as an expert. But you need one more thing before you can create your unique approach.
You need to discover your Niche Secret.
“There is always a secret at the core of every business” – Peter Thiel
In Peter Thiel’s book – Zero to One, he describes the power of Secrets. Secrets are valuable.
Successful business owners find the secret in their business niche and uses the secret to deliver better products and services to their audience. You can’t compete and build a valuable business without a secret.
Top companies know the power of profitable niche secrets:
- Google’s Secret: A search algorithm that works
- Tesla Motors: Building fashionable and responsible electric cars
- WalMart’s Secret: Supply chain logistics
- Apple’s Secret: Software and hardware that work together.
- Pixar’s Secret: Stories that appeal to kids and parents
- SpaceX: Cost effectively putting stuff into orbit
Business without a secret struggle to get noticed because their blog and social media content aren’t unique.
For example, it’s difficult to succeed in the fitness market unless you have a proven way to lose weight. Consultants need to have a proprietary approach to solving their client’s problems. Even so-called “Mommy Bloggers” need more than a child and grocery budget to stand out.
Secret vs. Unique Value Proposition
It’s easy to confuse Peter Thiel’s “Secret” with a “Value Proposition.” Both concepts are essential for successfully promoting your business with content marketing. Thiel asserts that the best way to unearth a secret is to ask the question:“What valuable company is nobody building?”
Or in the case of content marketing…
“What valuable information is nobody sharing?”
The answer to this question will provide the roadmap for building a content strategy that is unique and valuable.
Your value proposition details how you deliver your information, products, and services to your readers and customers.
A few examples will help you understand how Niche Secrets and Value Propositions work together:
Secret: Great writing builds valuable businesses
Value Proposition: Tightly integrated content marketing software
Secret: People want easy and safe ways to boost their cognitive performance
Value Proposition: Well researched nootropic supplements combines with in-depth information
Secret: Runners love two things: 1) A Challenge and 2) Tackling a challenge with like-minded running fanatics
Value Proposition: Extremely well-organized 200 mile team relay marathon events at the most beautiful locations in the Unites States.
Each of these businesses are incredibly sharp content marketers. At first glance, it’s easy to believe that their success comes from publishing often, using exotic new tactics, or perhaps following some sort of formula that guarantees their success.
You and I know better. Copyblogger, Onnit, Ragnar, and other growing businesses win because they have figured out a secret and carefully turned their secret into revenue.
How to Find Your Secret
Secrets are tough to find. Thank God.
If business building secrets were easy to find, everyone would be sipping Mai Tais in Maui. Your secret is the hard-won competitive advantage needed to turn your passion into a business.
They are hard to find because founders and employees have internalized their business’s secret. They’ve lived with their secret so long that they believe it is ordinary.
You can identify your secret by asking the question I mentioned earlier:
“What valuable information is nobody sharing?”
This answer should be the focus of your content marketing plan.
Don’t wimp out on this question. Keep asking and digging until you get to the core insight, the information your customers would happily pay you to share.
Take your secret and create unique ways to deliver it to your audience.
The examples from earlier will help here:
- Copyblogger delivered their secret via a blog and email
- Onnit shares its secret via celebrity podcasters and sophisticated branding
- Ragnar relies on Ragnar race veterans to share their secret with fellow runners
You can accelerate success by using tactics overlooked or ignored by your competitors. Platforms like podcasting, single-topic upvote/downvote directories, and mobile apps are relatively new and will attract new readers to your site and blog.
Your 3-Step Secret Challenge
Open your notebook and write down the answer to the question
What valuable information is nobody sharing?
Keep recording your ideas until you concretely describe your secret.
Open a spreadsheet and type in your secret as a column header.
Place these questions into rows:
- “Why is the secret important?”
- “What is the secret based on?”
- “How can my readers use this secret immediately?”
Questions, Your Secret
Why is the secret important?, Your Answer
What is the secret based on?, Your Answer
How can my reader user this secret immediately?, Your Answer[/table]
Answer each question in the empty cell next to each question. These are the idea starters for content and blog posts.
Add a column to your spreadsheet titled “Headlines.” Turn each of your idea starters into blog post headlines and add them to the column. They can be text posts, video posts, or podcasts whatever is easiest and quickest to create.
Questions, Your Secret, Headlines
Why is the secret important?, Your Answer, Post Headline
What is the secret based on?, Your Answer, Post Headline
How can my reader user this secret immediately?, Your Answer, Post Headline[/table]
Create another column in your spreadsheet and add publishing dates for the headline ideas.[table th=”true”]
Questions, Your Secret, Headlines, Publish
Why is the secret important?, Your Answer, Post Headline, Date
What is the secret based on?, Your Answer, Post Headline, Date
How can my reader user this secret immediately?, Your Answer, Post Headline, Date[/table]
Now you have a Secret Editorial Calendar. You know what to do next.
Create. Publish. Repeat.
Let’s continue the conversation on Google+