A Case Study in Setting Yourself Apart: This Blog

My theme this week has kind of been the benefits and importance of setting yourself apart. As a professional creative working in a competitive and challenging economy, the life of your business could be at stake. I wanted to come up with a good example to share. It then occurred to me, “Let’s use this blog.”

As a filmmaker who’s married to a photographer, a majority of the creative arts posts I write related to those two disciplines. In case you haven’t noticed, there are a gajillion blogs out there about filmmaking and photography. I want to use the filmmaking genre as my example of the benefits of setting yourself apart. So, here are three real-world examples of the benefits of setting yourself apart using this blog as the subject.

  • Internal Peace. That’s right. When you set your business and brand apart, a huge benefit is peace. As Ricky Ricardo would say, “let me splain.” Unless you are living under a geological mineral formation, if you are a professional filmmaker, you know about Canon’s announcement Thursday of the EOS 300C. Every major filmmaking news blog was scrambling to be the blog to “scoop” the story. In the end, most of them all just re-hashed one another. In essence, their news was a commodity. You could go to any site and get the same info. I on the other hand was chillin’ and relaxin’ because I knew I was NOT going to be writing about audio inputs, sensors sizes, SDI outputs, etc. In fact, as I write this post no (which is the day of the announcement) Twitter is a-flutter with tweets about the names and specs. In other words, you don’t even have to read a blog. Just watch Twitter.
  • Peaceful Co-habitation. When you set yourself apart from the pack, your have a more peaceful co-existence with your “competitors.” I recently joined forces with Planet5D to be a regular guest blogger. Mitch (the guy who runs it) does have to worry about sending traffic my way via this relationship because the bulk of what we offer is more complementary vs. competitive. The same goes for when I refer people to other videographers whose work is different than mine. Either a client or a blog readers wants what I have to offer, or they don’t.
  • A different Piece of the Puzzle. Because the topics I try to cover are vastly different than many of my filmmaking colleagues’, I’m confident knowing that the info I’m providing will add value to my readers. I do gear reviews every now and then, but I know that I’m not the best at it. Chances are, someone like Nino Leitner, Matt Jeppsen at FreshDV or Tom Guilmette will beat me to the punch anyway, and perhaps even write a better review. And that’s okay. Because the bulk of my topics fall into a different realm, readers can add my link to their RSS feed, or subscribe to this blog, knowing that the overwhelming majority of info they get from me will be differnt than the dozen or so other filmmaking blogs they may follow. Even my interview with Vincent Laforet yesterday about the announcement covered topics that were more about HIM, than the camera.

When I set out to write this blog, I knew I wanted it to be a source of education and inspiration for professional creatives to earn a living at their art. But from the get-go I also knew what it would not be. When YOU go out to set yourself apart (whether it’s your art, your business, and/or your blog), make a concerted effort to determine what you will NOT be. In fact, perhaps spend more time mulling over that than what you WILL be.

Lastly, just for the record, I hope this does not come across as me saying this blog is better. (Lord knows that ain’t the truth.) It’s just different.

10 thoughts on “A Case Study in Setting Yourself Apart: This Blog

  1. that’s exactly why i came in the first place “To be inspired and to get a perspective” it’s always informative and well thought (no i don’t know Ron or any of his relatives i’m from France and never met him)
    Thanks a lot Ron i don’t care about that new Canon 300C
    Keep up the good work !

    1. Thanks for the kind words Morgan. My hope is that no matter what new camera or other piece of gear hits the market, you know when you read about it on this blog, it’ll be a different perspective.

  2. I really like your message in this post, Ron. Figuring out what you do and who you are does bring a lot of peace and clarity. You know then what type of work you want to attract and it makes saying no to what isn’t right for you soooo much easier.

    And as you say, it totally opens up the world of all of the people you can collaborate with rather than compete with. We’ve found this out in the last few years.

    I saw you talk a few years ago at WEVA (or was it Video 08?) about blogging. Over the last few years we’ve become very committed to it and it has changed the whole focus of our business and we have a book deal with Focal Press as a result!

    Keep writing and sharing!

    1. I’m glad it inspired you Kim. Congrats on your book deal. We were close to going with Focal for our book. I think that’s a great publishing house. Good luck!

  3. “Every major filmmaking news blog was scrambling to be the blog to “scoop” the story. In the end, most of them all just re-hashed one another.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more Ron.

    I find myself un-following many people just prior to camera releases, I then follow them again after the tweet-storm has settled. Otherwise one’s timeline gets littered with tweets all on the same topic, drowning out the other accounts I follow.

    I like this post Ron, especially the “importance of setting yourself apart.” I remember before I started my own business. I made it a point to discover what made my idea/business different from everybody else’s business in the industry. I’m glad I did. I discovered many of the things you discuss above, internal peace, niche, etc. I realised where I could and wanted to compete, and I ignored the areas I couldn’t or didn’t want to.

    1. I’m glad it spoke to you Henry. And it’s reassuring that the points I made aren’t just my own feelings, but have been shared by others. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for this post Ron and I very much agree.
    Reading blogs that set themselves apart like yours and El Skids (Robin Schmidt) have inspired me to start blogging myself.
    In the short time that I have done so, I have noticed that it is far more challenging to write about the ideas, purpose, ethics and feelings behind your work than to write a camera review. I don’t want to bash the blogs that write gear reviews (which I also read) but they aren’t as thought provoking as blogs like yours.
    Since I have also just started my business and live in Cologe (which has it’s share of productions companies) I see the need to set myself apart and your blog inspires me to look at things from a new perpective.

    1. Robin’s blog is great. If you get a chance, also check out my Crossing the 180 interview with him.

      I’m glad my blog has been an inspiration to you. Share with us the link to your blog so that we may have another source of inspiration. 🙂

        1. Thanks for subscribing Alexander. I hope you’re finding the podcasts informative and inspirational. One of the joys of blogging is finding your voice and staying true to it. 🙂

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