Oct 132010

Previously I talked about the #1 way to stand out online. The respected authorities who are recognized for their excellence, draw an audience, and influence members of their niches all do these 4 key things. If you want to be excellent and stand out, you need to incorporate these practices into what you do each and every day.

1. Polish. No, not a Polish hot-dog. Polish. Make it shiny, so that any defect can be seen and eliminated. Blizzard Entertainment, famous makers of the Warcraft series of games, and the greatest grossing game of all time, World of Warcraft, are famous for the time and effort they expend polishing their games. It shows. Their games just work, and moreover, are fun. Every aspect of their games is gone over to make sure that the experience delivered is one that players can enjoy.

World of Warcraft (or WOW) is the ultimate example of this. Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games had existed (and many had prospered) for many years before WOW, and WOW was not technically superior to existing offerings. However, WOW delivered a cohesive game experience that drew players to it, and kept them paying $15  month after month to play the game because it was polished and did all the little things very, very well.

2. Originality. Those who can present something in a novel or unique way have a greater chance of success. I really like the example of Auto-Tune the News. They take clips from news shows, mix together sound bites from talking heads, and use that as the basis for an original song and video. It’s a concept that is often hilarious, and is a perfect example of the remix culture that has emerged over the last two decades. Remixing isn’t original, but the way in which they do it is something that hadn’t ever been done before, and they quickly found a significant audience.

3. Develop a Voice/Brand. If you can’t be totally original, then at least develop your own way of doing things that is consistent and that people can begin to identify as being uniquely “you”. Ever heard of the band “Ok Go”? I don’t really like much of their music, but their music videos are nothing short of spectacular. Not for any sort of special effects. For choreography. They have become famous for videos that are masterfully choreographed and shot all in one long take without any cuts. All of their videos are available on YouTube, and they have developed such a following that each new video they create is an event. Right now, Ok Go is long-take videos.

4. Routinely Provide Value. This is the easiest way to be excellent online, and I probably should have listed this first. Providing valuable information in a niche can help you to establish your own voice or brand, and can be the basis to grow and begin to be recognized as an expert.

Ask yourself: What information or creativity do I have that I can share with others? What knowledge do I possess? Is there a niche or market that I belong to that I can answer questions about? You can start doing this easily through Quora, a question and answer site. After creating a free account, you can list topics or areas that interest you. New questions posted to these topics will become part of your “stream” and will appear on your home page on Quora. You can then post an answer to any of these questions, ask your own questions, and vote on which answers you think best address the question posed.

Quora can be a great way to start providing value to others, can help you establish your presence in a niche, and will start you on the path to being excellent online.

What other ways do you have to be excellent? I’d love to hear your ideas!

 Posted by at 11:49 am

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