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How to Stand Out from 500 Million Blogs with a Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)

I’m not exaggerating:

There are far more than 500 million blogs online in existence today. 🤯

Each day alone, an average of four to five million blog posts go live.

That’s over 3,000 blogs a minute!

So, should you even bother blogging at all? 🤷🏼‍♀️

How the heck are you going to get noticed above all the noise online?

I’m here to share that there is a way, and it’s a secret I’m going to share with you in this blog.

It’s called finding your content differentiation factor (aka, CDF).

This is a concept I teach my students in my course and my book.

Ready to start learning what a content differentiation factor is, and how you can use it to stand out from the sea of blogs out there? 🌊

Let’s dive in. 🏊🏻‍♀️

How to stand out with a content differentiation factor

What You Should Already Be Doing: Prioritizing on Content Strategy and Building Your Content House

Before we dive into your CDF, let’s quickly review two elements you already know about through reading my previous blogs.

The first one is content strategy. When you approach content marketing with a workable content strategy in place, you’ll stop publishing random posts that gain you zero ROI. Content strategy is the blueprint you build your content marketing on.

The second concept, which springs out of content strategy, is building your content house. A content house looks like this:

content house diagram

To build a solid house, you need quality content, well-researched keywords, and the right tracking metrics to help you maintain and update your content.

Now for the big question: but what if no one cares about my content house?

What if it’s no different from all the other quality content houses out there?

Because high-quality, original content and the best SEO practices aren’t secrets. They’re not enough to compel people to keep reading your blogs, year in and year out.

What you need is to be different.

To be the only kind of you.

To stand out.

This is where your content differentiation factor comes in.

What is Your Content Differentiation Factor?

Your content differentiation factor is a bit like your unique selling point.

It’s that specific thing people get from your content that they can’t find anywhere else on the web.

content differentiation factor

For example, take the topic “marketing trends for 2020.”

There’s simply so much written on it online. Bloggers talk about automation, voice search, AI technology, and best video practices. A ton of it is the same stuff, over and over again.

So what would you do if you came upon a blog like this?

blog that stands out with a cdf

Source: Neilpatel.com

You’d read it because you don’t want to know what everybody is talking about. You want to know something unique.

So you read the blog and get even more surprises with the sub headers.

blog that stands out with a content differentiation factor

Source: Neilpatel.com

This content is different. It stands out. And even if there are 500 million blogs out there? You’re not going to stop reading this one.

That’s how having a CDF keeps readers glued to your content house, no matter how many new blogs are published per minute.

Profitable Content Marketer Cheat Sheet cta

How to Find Your Content Differentiation Factor in Five Steps

There are no fixed rules for determining your CDF.

Depending on your audience, product, and marketing approach, you’ll have to figure it out on your own.

However, here are five steps you can follow to help you get closer to your goal.

Step #1: Find a Unique Way to Tell Your Story

With content marketing, every single piece of content you publish should be a puzzle piece.

The puzzle piece is unique, but it fits another piece perfectly.

Viewed together, the whole puzzle tells a unique, compelling, beautiful story.

It shouldn’t be different with your content house. Every web page, blog, e-book, and training material you publish should be a piece of the big story your brand is telling.

And the key is finding a unique way to tell your story.

For example, consider Mailchimp. Mailchimp is a marketing platform that helps you build email campaigns, landing pages, websites, and more.

Mail Chimp's cdf

Is Mailchimp the only marketing platform out there?

No.

But it stands out because of its CDF: its site is filled with inspiring content for marketers.

For instant, there are its tag lines.

Mail Chimp's stand-out tag lines

Also, Mailchimp developed a series of videos called Unlikely Business Lessons. These are short, inspiring lessons from unexpected sources such as a bull fighter and an ex-cult member.

Mail Chimp's stand-out content

All of the Mailchimp’s content puzzle pieces fit together to pronounce their CDF: an inspirational brand that helps you grow your business on your own terms.

Step #2: Find Your Product’s Unique Selling Proposition, then Tie it In with Your Content

What does your product offer that buyers can’t find anywhere else?

For instance, say you own a bakery.

That’s not impressive. There are hundreds of bakeries in your area alone, and each one has an attractive website.

How do you stand out?

It’s simple.

Don’t sell bread.

Instead, sell “super bread with 11 secret ingredients that keep those extra pounds off.”

In your blog, dive deep into those ingredients and what they can do for the human physique. Do extensive research. Talk to health experts. Back your content with facts, but make it entertaining and compelling. Tell stories. Make people laugh, cry, and above all, desire your super bread.

Your bakery’s website will never be lost in all the online noise again.

Before we go to the next step, let’s look at an example of unique selling proposition (USP) done right.

International Living is an online magazine. That’s not spectacular, since it isn’t the only online magazine about travel you can read online.

However, it doesn’t sell itself as a magazine. It sells itself as the secret to retiring luxuriously abroad for less.

International Living's cdf

Take a look at examples of its blogs.

International Living blog content differentiation factor

And this.

International Living blog content cdf

International Living did a good job of determining its USP, then tying it into the content it creates.

When you do this, it’ll be easy to find your own content’s CDF.

Step #3: Focus on Benefits, Not Features

When trying to sell something to your prospects, it’s easy to get lost in the features of what you’re offering.

For instance, if you’re selling a car, you can go on and on about its horsepower, fuel efficiency, and shiny metal body.

The problem is, people don’t buy cars for horsepower and fuel efficiency. Those are just features. They do buy cars because of the benefits they’ll get from being a car owner. They’ll enjoy convenience. They’ll be comfortable while traveling. They’ll own a status symbol they can be proud of.

So, before you start building your content house, think of this. What does your audience dream of, desire, and need?

Let’s look at another example.

Imagine you’re selling a book on a banana diet. To promote the book, you can go on and on about the vitamins in bananas. Or the number of calories in the average banana.

But your readers don’t care about bananas. What they want is a slim waistline and attractive figure.

So instead of focusing on the features of bananas, you go into the benefits of bananas. Here are two ideas:

  • Bananas keep you feeling full, so you don’t binge on high-calorie snacks like chips and chocolate.
  • Bananas help you lose weight.

It’s simple to turn features into benefits. Here are some examples:

Feature: 100 grams of banana has only 89 calories.

Benefit: When you eat bananas, you’ll feel full without gaining weight.

Feature: Bananas are high in fiber.

Benefit: Eating bananas quickens your metabolism, resulting in weight loss.

Step #4: Find Your Own Unique Voice

Your voice is the way you use words in your content. It’s your style, your humor, and your expressions. Also, it’s the voice your audience wants or needs to hear.

For instance, look at this example from a life coach’s website.

your content differentiation factor requires a unique voice

Source: auroramsuarez.com

Her voice is warm, caring, and soothing. It encourages readers to trust that she cares. Since she’s speaking to women who have lost their joy, she offers hope and uses words like “adventure” and “journey.” These bring images of renewal and change into her readers’ minds.

Your unique voice must blend together three things:

  • The way you naturally speak. You don’t want to sound robotic and strained. So, before you publish anything, read it out loud. Would you use those sentences when speaking to a friend or loved one?
  • The way your audience speaks. If your audience is composed of formal business people, you don’t want to sound too light and humorous. To find out how your audience speaks, visit Reddit or Quora. Search for topics related to your niche. Read what people are saying about it. “Listen” to how they speak.
  • Your brand’s message. Does your brand offer hope to the desperate? Or are you a fun, creative marketing company? What your brand offers determines your voice.

When you blend all these three elements together, you’ll find your own unique voice.

Step #5: Perfect Your Approach

Your approach to a topic is how you package it up. For instance, do you start with a statistic? Tell a harrowing story? How do you view your topic?

For instance, look at this compelling opening by Michael Stelzner.

unique content with a cdf

This blog is about something probably all content marketers have heard about: voice search. And yet it’s packaged differently. The whole blog reads like a conspiracy tale. It’s mysterious, intriguing, and scary. You can’t help but read it to the end.

Approach topics uniquely, and you’ll have readers flocking to your content house.

How Your CDF Will Make Your Content House Stand Out Online

To succeed with your content strategy, you need to build a solid content house.

But filling your house with quality content isn’t enough to get it noticed.

What you need to do is build a house that’s different from everything else online. The good news is it’s not difficult. All you need to do is determine your CDF, and the rest will flow smoothly from there.

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How to stand out with a CDF

Opinions

  1. Post comment

    Nice Post Julia. It’s very important to stand out these days considering the amount of content been churned out everyday.
    Content marketers need to really have a distinct CDF. It’s a must.
    And that Neil’s example, I think I read the post some minutes after it was published and I could see how he differentiate himself from others even the way he promoted it on social it was really distinctive.

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