Who is a “maverick” really? The Cambridge Dictionary defines a maverick as “a person who thinks and acts in an independent way, often behaving differently from the expected or usual way.”

Most of us are too used to thinking we are not mavericks. We believe there is a class of person, very different from us, who “thinks very differently.” But if you really think hard about it, everybody is a closet maverick.

It stands to reason that if you truly want to be differentiated in your personal brand and in your content marketing, you have to find your own distinctive self and give it expression.  But how do you find your maverick-ness? And, what should you be careful of as you try to flex your maverick muscles in your content marketing? Here are three key pointers to get you started.

How do you discover your “maverick factor”?

You can easily find your “maverick factor” if you know where to look — it may be that one quality that you’ve worked hard in life to hide, in the hope that no one will find out about it!

In our growth from childhood to adulthood, we all try so hard to conform to our peers, to get their approval and “be included in the gang,” that we hide from our own uniqueness, and especially take pains to hide it from everyone else.

Later when we come to finding a niche in which to market ourselves and to shine in life, it becomes very hard to re-discover the same uniqueness that we have spent years trying not to acknowledge!

Quite simply, the easiest way to stand out uniquely in your content marketing is to identify the part of yourself you feel most self-conscious about – and to turn that self-consciousness into the very area of supreme self-confidence.

Often this kind of enlightenment hits you when you see someone else who is a huge success because of the same kind of maverick quality you are seeing as your “freakiness”. It then dawns on you, that your “freakiness” has the potential to turn you into a huge success yourself!

Beware of stereotyping the mavericks!

Do you realize that though people who are different from the common mold are referred to as mavericks, there is also a kind of stereotyping of mavericks as “always a bit quirky.”

By definition a “maverick” is one who defies stereotyping. So the secret to being a successful content marketing maverick is never to be “predictably maverick”. Being a multidimensional content marketer is a very important quality needed to stand out from the crowd.

When you are aiming to be different and original, the word to beware of is this word “always”. You can never be genuinely a person most-listened to, or most-read, or most-followed, if people are able to fit you into a box – even if that box is that of a maverick.

You have to constantly surprise people with sides of yourself they never expected – or even you yourself never expected.

Predictability is the downfall of content marketing. Think about the last ten posts you shared but never read, no matter how famous the writer was, because you felt that his “8 points why” would be more or less as the same “8 points why” of most other good writers?

On the other hand, when you have a person who is not someone you can second-guess on his articles or opinions, you invariably spend a moment to think “Now, what’s he about today?”

If you’re happy about people mindlessly sharing your links but never reading what you write about, how will you ever build a brand? It’s the opinions and values that you hold out that shape and build your brand, not the shares and likes!

Mavericks are not schizophrenics!

Another mistake is to think “maverick-y personal brands” may lose their compass and become too all-over-the-place. Content marketers often fear beating out originally, for fear of losing their “brand voice” and sounding like their brands are “schizophrenic.” The fear of being different is couched as the need to be “steady to your promise” and constantly typified on what your brand stands for.

That makes for a boring brand not a vibrant one! Your brand, via its content marketing, needs to show a multifaceted quality, even while maintaining brand promise coherence.

For example, if your brand stands for the overall promise of “providing serious domain authority” that same promise can be expressed in many ways – and that’s where the creativity quotient is important.

You have to apply your mind and ask: “In how many ways can I express that quality, being surprisingly different every time, and yet without diluting the promise and its sincerity?”

I am reminded of three authority figures who were asked to describe what being “creative” was about. One said “Don’t just think out of the box, change the box.” The other said “Why do you need a box at all, throw the box.” The third said “Our mind is not in the box. The box is in our mind.”  We can’t say who was right, but we will sure remember all of them. None of them seemed to dilute their authority just because they thought differently.

The moral of this whole story: it takes application of mind to be different, but it needn’t be hard. All it takes is a commitment to discover and give expression to the part of you that is already different.

Despite the enormous content-creation workload you have every day, as a content marketer, do you still have the bandwidth to apply mind to finding your originality? If not, don’t waste your time being an also-ran!

About the Author: Shobha Ponnappa is the Founder & Chief Consultant of BLOGBILLIONAIRE.COM, a resource for professionals-turned-power-bloggers racing towards authority, influence and affluence. Her own journey to success is now available as a three-stage roadmap you too can easily follow.