Oh, pa-lease. Are you kidding me, Not Like Other Girls?
You’re wondering what grumpy perspective I have for you this time, you might already have a fair idea of what I’m going to beat my drum about but if you haven’t, stay a while, this won’t take long.
(That’s a lie. My blog posts are always long.)
Do you do this?
Do you look at your LinkedIn profile views, and if you do, do you derive a thrill from it? It’s no lottery win that’s for sure but it is mildly exciting. I like to look at those who are looking at me, a sort of reciprocated voyeurism. That probably makes me a pervert but as it’s legal and no one’s getting hurt, I’m down with that.
I am by nature incredibly curious/nosy/borderline stalky so I really get a twinge from the incognito voyeurs. There is a myriad of reasons why people look at LinkedIn profiles anonymously. One is, they want to potentially hire you. I get super inquisitive when those perusing in stealth mode leave certain info visible, especially their company name. When that happens, I hot-foot over to Google and take a gander at their websites.
And let me tell you, I am seldom—SELDOM impressed. The initial thrill turns to disappointment when I ‘experience’ their online presence.
Here, have a caveat: how we feel about most things is going to be subjective, one man’s perfect website is another man’s shit sandwich. And I’ll concede, my own offering isn’t going to be hitting the spot for everyone who visits.
But for me, the most standout thing about these websites is how un-standout they are. I am almost impressed by their sameyness. This is nothing new. And if you sub to my newsletter, you’ll know I talk about banality on the regular. (Along with SEO, content, writing, marketing, and freelancing.)
Being the same is not a crime.
Also, it’s hard to be a maverick when you’re not doing anything particularly innovative. Perhaps you don’t have a unique selling proposition, and I reckon that’s fine if you’re providing an excellent service and you’re consistently finding clients. Whatever it is you’re doing is working, bugger everything else.
But if you are similar to your competition—in all the practical ways, your website message might be at odds with the realities of how you do business. If that’s the case, you’re not being honest, and I HATE that (and so do prospects).
Digital agencies are the worst.
Employees from agencies view my profile quite a bit, which makes sense considering what I do. And creative agencies especially cannot wait to tell us how they’re Not Like Other Girls. I was snooping through the homepage of one recently, a digital agency that helps grow other digital agencies. This sentence nearly had my eye out:
“[REDACTED COMPANY NAME] are changing the way Marketing and Digital Agencies are growing and operating.”
That’s pretty amazing but is it true?
I searched hard (hard-ish) and tried to find out how they did that. I wanted a summary, a single line or paragraph that expressed how they were changing the way marketing and digital agencies are growing and operating but nothing, nada. And despite the overwhelming animated graphics and throbbing CTA buttons (yes, they pulsed, in the hopes you might touch one, presumably), there wasn’t a single thing about their website that was giving off ‘different’ or ‘other’ vibes. As a lifelong outlier, I have a fair idea of what I’m talking about.
Their website didn’t convince me that they were leading change in their sector. That’s the thing with bold claims, you need to provide some evidence.
In reality, this agency’s website looked like something a generic IT company would build *shudder*. It was suitably jargon-filled, it appeared to be using stock images, and it had the same blue and white brand palette favoured by computer nerds across the land.
To add insult to injury, I googled another agency that took a glance at my profile, and this was on their homepage:
“Today’s never-seen-before challenges need new thinking.”
More from the Not Like Other Girl’s playbook. “New thinking” suggests a unique not-before-tried way of solving problems.
But all I was thinking was please make these rolling images stop. And it wasn’t just the images, the text was also rolling from right to left. There was so much movement on their homepage that the bloody thing didn’t load fully on my iPad. Is it too much to ask that companies keep their content still as I try to read the lies they’re telling?!
God loves a trier.
Verily I say unto you, he/she/they loves a trier but not a try-hard.
I think digital agencies and creatives generally believe clients expect ‘trendy’ and dare I say the word I hate, ‘edgy’. But do clients want that? Don’t they just want results? Without sounding like a wanker (too late), isn’t honesty and integrity all that matters? Coz aside from the funky-looking websites (that don’t function correctly), their business behaviour is often the same as every other cunt.
If you say you’re different but can’t simply and easily express what makes you different then isn’t it all just bollocks? Aren’t you just a funky-looking website (that doesn’t function correctly)?
No, I don’t have an irony deficiency.
“Not Like Other Girls is literally your schtick, Sarah.”
Yes, you got me banged to rights. Not Like Other Girls is literally, like LITERALLY the snippet title on my homepage.
But it’s a piss-take. For those that don’t know, Not Like Other Girls is a trope that refers to women and girls who, in order to get validation and acceptance from men, will insist they are not into things women and girls are traditionally into. For example, they drink beer, play video games and watch football. (See also Cool Girl trope.) I’m just having a little fun with internalised misogyny, and at the same time, poking fun at my own branding.
But really, I understand.
I bang on about brand polarisation and how we should try our best to not be a boring business bastard. My tone is what some would describe as ‘edgy’ *vomits into lap*. Some might even say it’s contrived purely as a cynical ploy to swindle/make a fucking living. The truth is, none of how I write takes effort. It’s just me, however unbelievable/detestable that may seem.
The reality is this: the way I write is different to most business writers. My business process is different to a lot of freelancers. But my methods of SEOing content are the same as any decent content SEOer.
The bottom line.
Seeking your business difference shouldn’t be like trying to find a chocolate finger in a cesspit. If it is, you’re not different. And to suggest otherwise only sets you up for failure. Err on the side of caution, that’s my motto. (It’s not, always bring Tupperware to an all-you-can-eat buffet is my motto.)
Instead of trying to be different/better, why not just be good? And here’s a thought: if you proudly proclaim you’re not unique/special/Not Like Other Girls you would ironically be unique/special/Not Like Other Girls.
Is your website full of half-truths and nonsense? Does it need a content shake-down? If so, GO HERE.
I’m a freelance business content writer at The Sarky Type®. My thang is SEO-informed blurb that sets your words on fire (ablaze with LOLs and engagement not to be confused with real fire that destroys everything in sight. Metaphors are better when they don’t require explanation. Note to self).