This article originally published on Forbes.com
We all know that content is king. Never before in entrepreneurial history have there been so many platforms and communities to learn, join and establish a presence on.
It’s easy to spend countless hours per week churning out blog posts, article submissions, videos, podcasts and social media posts, and engaging in conversations. With the mad rush to gain a brand presence and stand out in an ever-increasingly complex and crowded social media landscape, it’s easy to lose one’s self amid the maelstrom.
I talk daily to both emerging and seasoned entrepreneurs who spend much of their time and energy researching where their target audience is spending their time and then churning out content they think their audience wants to hear. Eyes focused downward on their devices, they closely monitor, minute by minute, how many views, likes and shares they are getting.
In the mad rush to put out mass competitive content, the gold standard for achieving and sustaining brand recognition is being lost. In place of communicating in one’s authentic voice, which is the conveyance of personal standards, values and truth, the focus is now on how to post the most frequently and outrageously in order to capture views. Keywords have replaced the authentic voice. Outlandish headlines and video antics have replaced being true to oneself. Getting traffic has become more important than increasing value and discovering customers’ needs.
It’s time to regroup, refocus, take a stand, break out of the pack and lead by taking a counterintuitive action that will authentically get you the competitive advantage, the brand authority and the customers that you’re seeking — without losing yourself and your values in the process.
Silence is the counterintuitive action that will earn you massive attraction. I know it seems totally counter to what you probably learned or are currently doing. But using silence as a strategy is, in fact, a tried-and-true method of winning a competitive advantage.
Using silence as a marketing tool will get you back on track to delivering your unique, value-driven message. Value is what attracts and keeps customers. At the end of the day, you could have a store online and in every single physical mall in the world — or self-publish 100 books and make them available everywhere — but if the unique value proposition isn’t inside, you’ll just be adding noise to the already noisy, crowded environment, and you will not achieve success.
How, then, does silence help you stand out? Here’s what I’ve learned from 40 years of being an entrepreneur and from studying some of the greatest achievers of all time:
1. Talk is easy and cheap, but walking the walk requires strength and is invaluable to becoming sustainably successful.
2. Being discerning about where, when and how you speak creates brand power and authority, and positions you as a leader.
3. Focusing on quality over quantity results in long-term gains.
4. Knowing yourself, your unique purpose and value proposition — and honoring that truth — delivers sustainable success.
The first step to effectively using silence as a success strategy is to take the time to be silent within yourself, reconnect and reclaim your authentic self and unique message. Then, go out into the world and share it discernibly, simply and powerfully.
When feeling compelled to compete, remind yourself that it’s not about who can shout the loudest, longest or most frequently, but who can share the most compelling and meaningful content where and when it is needed the most. Talking and sharing are valuable only when you have something meaningful to convey. Otherwise, it results in brand dilution.
Training yourself to become still and silent positions you to optimize your mental, intuitive and spiritual powers to use your voice as an instrument to convey the unique truth of who you are. In practicing silence, you become proficient at observing and listening and gain invaluable insights on how to become of better service to your tribe. That’s what successful leaders do, and that’s what creates authentic brand authority.
After all, even amid the evolution of social media, the axiom “silence is golden” remains an unchanged truth.