The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.Alice Walker
In my first year of writing, I spent it laying down a foundation. That consisted of getting to know the industry, learning the language/culture, taking courses, and hanging out with other writers.
I didn’t pick a niche; I just practiced writing and posting it without being emotionally attached to it. People will either like what you say or not, and that’s cool.
Now that I’m in year two, I’m working on my strategy and paying closer attention to what doesn’t work. After two webinars, I discovered how to take my strategy one step further.
Keep reading to find out what I did and how you can uncover your X-Factor.
The X-Factor Approach
First things first, the X-factor is just a fancy way of saying how you stand out. In order to identify your X-factor you have to ask that dreaded question, what makes me unique and different from everyone in the crowd?
What if I tell you no longer have to drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out? There’s a simple way to find out what makes you unique in your market.
The first approach comes from copywriting coaches Rob & Kira. Of all the ways I have heard niche explained, this was the simplest. Niches are the people you are writing for. Having a niche makes it easier to talk to your audience, but it doesn’t really say how you help people in a way that’s specific to you.
A better way to answer this is to figure out whose problems you solve. Pinpoint how your way of solving other people’s problems is different. Once you have done that you’ve met your X-factor.
Now that you understand the X-factor, here’s how you find it:
- Make a list of your skills, experience, and credentials.
- What special tools or programs do you use?
- What are your accomplishments?
- Have you designed an app or developed a program/course?
After following their instructions, this is the list I came up with:
- Logo design
- My internship with NationalBlackguide.com began with updating the events section and ended with 13 published articles (six blog posts and seven listicles). One of which was picked up by Newsbreak.
- I have taken writing courses with AWAI, where I learned how to write blogs, emails, newsletters, and User Experience (UX) copy. Learn more about UX copy here.
- Degree in Biology
- Mentor at Fresh Air Fund
- Medium writer
- Ghostwriter in Real Estate
Peer Review Anyone?
Before you roll your eyes hear me out. This isn’t like the peer review you do at work. You’re actually going to use this information.
I promise you’ll enjoy copy marketing pro-Josh Boswell’s approach. In a recent mastermind, he talked about the benefits of a peer review. The objective is to bring to light the things we don’t see about ourselves that are obvious to everyone else.
The instructions were to email to 20-50 people that know you well and analyze the answers. Then look for patterns in the responses.
This was the template I used and so can you:
Subject: Can you help me see myself better?
I’m doing a business development exercise to help discover my unique strengths and abilities.
What do you see as my unique strength? Like what do you think I do better than anyone else in the world?
Your answer can be as short or as long as you would like.
Sometimes it’s hard to see outside of yourself… so your insights would be really helpful for me.
I sent 20 texts vs. 20 e-mails because it was just easier for me to do it that way. So I will leave it up to you to decide the best approach for your Peer Review.
Out of 20 texts, 11 people responded. Feeling good about the number of responses I started looking for a pattern.
My peers have determined my unique strength as
- Making every bad situation into a good ones
- My positive attitude
- There’s always a silver lining
- The ability to laugh at my self; a sense of humor
- Making others comfortable
- Childlike faith.
This approach helped clarify things better, but I still couldn’t put my X-factor into words until…
I had a conversation with my friend, about her work day. She was a little annoyed that she locked her wallet in the bathroom at work. She was trying to be optimistic about the situation, but it wasn’t convincing.
To shift the focus, I say it sucked that you locked your wallet in the bathroom at work today. But at least you are locked in the bathroom at work. And she agreed.
I followed up with, you locked your wallet at a place you are passionate about and make an impact. And that’s something to be grateful for.
She goes, comes on, Dee! HELP ME see through a different lens!!
And that’s when it hit me…
Finding your X-factor is the way you apply the knowledge you possess. Doing more than what’s expected.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it exists, it may even take more than one attempt to make it clear to you but change your perspective and it will come.
Be open to using your talents, skills, and who you are as a person in new creative ways.
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