How Do You Differentiate Yourself? Have An Opinion


As is my custom, I listened to the WP Elevation podcast this week. The host of the show, Troy Dean, usually interviews the guests on his show. This week, however, they mixed things up and he was the one being interviewed.

He answered the same list of questions that he asks his guests. I enjoyed hearing his story of how he got started with music, voice-overs, and then into web development.

At the end of each show he asks a series of rapid fire questions. I’ve listened to tons of consultants answer these questions, but this time his answer for the question “How do you differentiate yourself?” really got me thinking.

Have An Opinion

He started with a somewhat generic answer, and then halfway through stopped himself.

“You know what”, he said, “the best way to differentiate yourself is to have an opinion.”

As soon as he said that I could feel myself resonate with his answer. So simple, yet so important. I have had difficulty writing content lately. Why? Because I have been hesitant to add to the barage of information that I find myself warding off everyday. With so many smart people writing about so many topics, how do you stand out in the crowd?

More importantly, how do you add value to the conversation with what you are saying, instead of simply adding to the noise? I think Troy hit the nail on the head. Have an opinion.

Your Voice Is Unique

When you sit down to write, speak your mind. You have a voice that has been shaped by your own personal experiences, relationships, and decisions. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Don’t try to please everybody. Trust me, you never will.

The written word has the power to inspire, educate, and change the course of history. Don’t squander that power by simply copying what others are already saying. Form your own opinion and articulate it on the page. You will not connect with everyone, but you can deeply resonate with those you do.

Be Authentic

The key to having a voice in the noise of content today is authenticity. Having an opinion will force you to be authentic in your writing. Choose your side, explain your reasoning, and let the audience decide.

Don’t let fear weaken what you have to say. Be bold. Be yourself. Have an opinion.

7 thoughts on “How Do You Differentiate Yourself? Have An Opinion

  1. Nice post Jeremy. What you had to say resonated with me 🙂 I have sometimes found it difficult to write for exactly the reason you mention “…how do you add value to the conversation with what you are saying, instead of simply adding to the noise?” I know I find opinions very valuable, for example if I am struggling with something and ask the advice of friends or colleagues, each person’s opinion is valuable to me in figuring out a solution. I will bear this in mind next time I’m struggling with the feeling that I am adding to the noise.

    1. Hi Cecily,
      Thanks for your comment. You’d be surprised how many people value your opinion and use it to make a decision. I know you have some valuable ones to contribute. Let other people know about them!

  2. I’ve been thinking about this very subject this week. I read a blogger’s post recently that stirred up hundreds (not an exaggeration) of hostile and negative comments. The blogger had posted her opinion about a book. And, wow, her readers disagreed and personally attacked her. The blogger had to close the comments, eventually, and mentioned that many comments were hurtful. I think about that and about Seth Godin saying that we need to write with an opinion. And now your post. When we were in school, it seemed debate and opinion was honored and respected. But, in the “real world” folks feel that they can drop the rules of healthy debate and “go for the juggler.” I think, possibly, we don’t blog with opinion because we know we could get very negative feedback – personal, unwanted feedback – as opposed to healthy, debate. Yes, write with an opinion. I agree, but it makes me uneasy.

    1. Hi Katrina,
      Thanks for your comment. I think you have to have thick skin to post anything online nowadays. There will always be trolls, but hurtful comments are another thing. If someone can’t have a civilized debate when commenting, I usually dismiss them pretty quickly. For example, comments on youtube videos are almost pointless. They are usually based on ignorance or hate and don’t contribute back to the conversation. It’s a balancing act, but it can be done.

  3. Having an opinion in today’s world is risky. Most people are not interested in challenging conversation. It is either blame and accusation or I’m right and you’re wrong. Meekness is required in order to listen to other thoughts and ideas. Humility is required in order to consider, as a possibility, integrating them into your life.

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