“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” —Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
What rules are you breaking?
What boundaries are you pushing?
Which group of people are you pestering?
What twitch, switch or tremor do you seek to tweak in YOUR niche, marketplace or online playground?
If you’re not doing that a little bit at least…..
You need to break some rules.
Have some more fun.
Become a provocateur…..if ONLY to step up, stand out and unleash your own creative marketing muse.
I am SO sick of the rules that everyone thinks they’ve got to follow to get ahead.
The only people who want you to believe there are rules are those making them……. and have something invested in you following along.
The middle is not where the magic is.
It’s in the margins – the outer edges – and the places that most people won’t go.
Push the envelop.
Dance dangerously on the edges of your audiences expectations…….and you’ll often be amazed at what happens.
When it comes to being creative with your CONTENT and your character…….and make NO mistake – regardless of what those stuffy, fluffy and good for nothing gurus want you to believe…….this IS a business driven by creativity, the only TRUTH is this:
Rules CRUSH your creative energy.
They blow your flow.
And sap your spirit.
And rob you of the JOY and the juice of doing this work.
I read about 10 different “popular” online marketing blogs this morning……
It felt like a colonoscopy, only without the small talk and the awkward handshake at the end.
All the cool kids wants you to believe is that there are RULES.
The cool kids are clueless.
And they ain’t so cool.
Here is my ONLY rule:
Sticking to the rules is what keeps everyone lumped in the middle
If you want to stand out – you’ve got to be memorable.
And if you want to be memorable – you’ve got to say something different.
Outside of the lines.
And on top of the box.
Let me give you an example from my own business – just this week.
I wrote this blog post here:
After a bit I noticed no one had left a comment.
I thought the blog post deserved a comment.
So I decided to leave my own:
It said: (or I said)
Okay – I’d like to be the first one to comment on yet another magnificent post. I’d also like to say BRAVO, for doing such great work, and raising the bar for the rest of us, it’s truly inspiring.
So – keep up the excellent work. And don’t forget tomorrow morning is garbage day. (you got to get that milk out this week…..no way that can sit in the fridge until next tuesday)
Try to get out of the house tomorrow, too – all of this computer time is starting to mess with your head. And no more Boyz in the Hood re-runs tonight on HBO classic either – if it comes on again – get up and change the channel – it’s a short walk, and you already know the dialog for the last 15 minutes by heart. (spoiler alert – Ice Cube gets capped)
I actually giggled like a 12 year old immediately thereafter.
I thought it was funny.
I read it a few times, and it made me smile.
And as a rule, that’s a good thing.
I think there is a pretty firm unwritten rule that you are not supposed to comment on your own blog posts in this business.
It sort of looks odd.
People don’t expect it…..and scratch their heads a bit, I guess when you do.
And i tried to stifle the urge…….I just really, really had something else to say.
I couldn’t help myself.
So I said – fuck it.
It’s my blog and I wanted to give myself a little enthusiastic thumbs up for all my hard work.
So I did.
An hour later……..
Some guy who had recently signed up for my list in just the past 3 days…..suddenly unsubscribes and fills out the little aweber “reason why” form with a note about how “lame” it is that “this pathetic joker” comments on his own blog.
Now – my first instinct was to do the obvious:
(Pay someone over-seas 2 dollars an hour to do nothing but post male enhancement questions on yahoo answers in this guys real name while screaming “you want a piece of this” and refreshing my screen while cackling like a loon until i fall alseep in my chair)
But the truth is, when you break rules……some people don’t like it.
They shake their heads and go away.
But interestingly………more people DO.
If for no other reason other than you are different.
(even if they still think you are a bit weird)
Your challenge is this:
Look at your niche, or your marketplace or your industry and figure out which rules you can break, bend or budge to step up and stand out
Who can you tweak, poke or tickle to get attention?
Find some interesting way to say something your audience DOESN’T expect.
Change your game.
Confront an injustice and point it out.
Be controversial…..if ONLY to experiment with how it feels. (it feels pretty good)
The only sin is to be boring.
Be someone different…..if only for a moment and change the way you play the game.
And stop getting small minded marketing advice from people who want you to follow rules.