You Are Your Moat

I don’t mind the generative AI craze. While some folks rail about the AI-generated comments that dominate their LinkedIn feed, I say, thank you for the engagement boost.

Do these comments make social media a better place? Not really. But neither do the human-written, “Nice post, totally agree,” comments. (Though let’s be clear, I’ll take the harmless AI comments over random ad hominem attacks from complete strangers any day.)

Redacted heavily because although AI-generated, I think these people mean well and I would feel bad about naming-and-shaming as this is not a personal attack. But if you are one of these commenters and you are reading this post, hello, I hope you’re having a good day.

What changes with AI-generated content is that producing mediocre content at scale has never been easier. All those high-volume, high-competition “What is…” content that’s difficult to rank for? It’s going to get even harder. Your legacy competitors published their average version of that blog post a long time ago. And the hopeful disruptors will be trying to game the search algorithm with their AI-remixed junk.

At any rate, a content strategy built on a bunch of “What is,” posts is going to require a lot of resources to make any kind of meaningful impact on your web traffic, let alone your bottom line (if it even does help your bottom line). You’ll be endlessly treading water just to survive in the sea of sameness.

I’m an optimist. Let the bots write the forgettable content you wouldn’t want to read, much less spend time writing. What generative AI can’t replace is your lived experiences. AI has no knowledge of what it is to be alive and it has no shared experiences with us. Forget the sea of sameness. You don’t even have to swim against the current. You just need to tap into what makes you you, and lead with your unique perspective.

You are your moat.

So how do you rise above the fray? I have five ideas.

5 Ways to Hone Your Competitive Edge Against Generative AI

Pay attention to what triggers you.

This is, perhaps, my favorite tactic of all. I sometimes call this the “invisible subtweet.” When you’re skimming the news or scrolling your social media feed, what elicits a strong emotion for you? What did you absolutely love? What made you roll your eyes? Start creating from there.

You might be tempted to quote-repost to dunk on a bad take. But in the cesspool of social media, you risk inspiring followers to pile onto the original poster. Instead, consider writing your rebuttal as a standalone piece. Then publish it a few days later as a blog or social post.

One of my most viral Twitter threads came from exactly this. I was sick of the same people getting amplified in the “follow these people” threads, so I made my own version:

I am sorry for this hook, please forgive me.

(Oh and um… I think I’m the one who’s responsible for creating that awful “There are XY million people who do this, but 99% of them are doing it wrong” hook, and I am so, so sorry.)

You don’t have to find inspiration in the social feed. You can find it in any content you or your audience consumes. Listen to one of your favorite podcasts and take note of what you disagreed with or have additional thoughts on.

And speaking of podcasts, I actually talked about this with Mark Drager on the How To Sell More podcast. In the first third of my interview, I talked about tapping into your social media triggers:

Use your experience.

If it happens to you, it can’t be wrong. I’m not suggesting you take discrete experiences and extrapolate them into universal truths. What I am suggesting is that you let your experiences guide your writing, with the necessary caveats, of course. Some examples:

  • I drank CBD tea every night for a month — here’s what happened.
  • I grew my email list by 5,000 subscribers in just 2 months without any paid marketing — here’s how I did it.
  • I spent the past year running Meta ads for a fitness brand — here’s everything I learned.

In any of these examples, you’re explaining your experience with something. And if folks disagree with you, they can only say, “That’s not what happened when I did that thing,” which is entirely fair for them to say.

Document your observations.

Instead of taking from your experience, you can start with what you’ve observed. This could come in the form of original research (think: Our web traffic study with our data partner Datos), followed with your suspicions, speculations, and predictions (think: Rand’s follow-up post about where people hang out online and how it’s different from the places that refer traffic). This could come from survey data, customer interviews, reading a bunch of recent articles in your niche.

What are the trends you’ve been picking up on? What are you noticing about your niche or industry?

See this example in action: Rand’s follow-up post about where people hang out online and how it’s different from the places that refer traffic

Sift through customer support tickets.

Obviously, this tactic only works in instances where you have customers. There might be a question that comes up pretty often that you can expound upon in a longer piece of content. Some ideas:

“Can I get a refund?” → Perhaps your refund policy comes from a philosophical place. You could write about why you always give refunds to people who ask. Maybe this even leads to your explaining the danger of chargebacks to small businesses. Or maybe it’s related to your company trying to decrease its carbon footprint and thus, you allow customers to keep a physical product in lieu of a full refund.

“How does this work?” → You can record a Loom video giving a guided demo of your software. Or you can write a tutorial that properly shows how to clean or maintain a product. One key here might be to lean into specific use cases, or how something works in a specific context. (Bonus: This serves as additional customer support collateral!)

“Will this product be available in X region?” → Maybe there’s a wonky reason why your product won’t work in another language or in another region. Maybe you have reason to think there isn’t product-market fit in a specific country. Or maybe, there’s a country where the technology you’re building is so far advanced, that you’d be a small fish in a big pond. Any of these could lend themselves well to a unique point of view that can only come from you (or your company).

Look in your inbox.

When all else fails, go to your inbox and look at your recent conversations. What are your friends asking you? When was the last time you gave a mentee some guidance? What was the last message you sent that you felt pretty proud of? There’s bound to be a blog post in your emails. You just haven’t edited it yet.

The February 2023 email that inspired my “Maybe You Need a Fractional Marketing Director — Not a Fractional CMO” blog post (which got 1,900+ likes on LinkedIn).

Ask yourself: can AI do this?

Can AI help you make your content better? Sure! (I actually drafted this blog post in an AI writing tool called because it helps me check my writing for brevity, cliches, and readability.) Can AI create all your content? Maybe… but if ChatGPT can write something as good as you, then so can any other entry-level enthusiast.

Dare to dig deeper and embrace your unique perspective. Create what AI can’t.