This is part 2 of a 3-part series on the fears that hold people back from being themselves online. (Here’s my take on Fear #1: ‘I am not enough’.)
At We Write You, we’re driven by the desire to give people permission to be themselves--in life and in business.
In terms of the way this comes out in your copywriting - or any written expression of yourself online, even your Instagram captions - this means that we encourage you to write in your own voice.
Not in a ‘professional’ voice. Not in a voice that sounds like others in your industry. Not in a voice that sounds super-knowledgeable, or technical, or packed with jargon.
Just your voice. Your stuff. Your thoughts and feelings. Your everyday-speak.
Fear #2: "I am not appropriate."
This is a sticky one--many of our clients are afraid that writing in their real voice is not appropriate for business. Or they think their personal thoughts and feelings aren't relevant to their business marketing. Or they think that being themselves is going to scare people away.
To answer those objections, I would say: it can absolutely be appropriate if you handle it appropriately; be selective with what you share to keep it relevant; and (most importantly of all)…if you write in your real voice, it will ABSOLUTELY scare some people away.
And that's a good thing. Take us, for example.
The main image on our website is the image we use all over our marketing - on our business cards, in our LinkedIn profile, on our Facebook page. We’re standing in front of the Brisbane river. I (Kamina) have a side ponytail and I’m waving it around. I’m wearing a big denim shirt. Me and Mick both have ridiculous expressions on our faces. It looks like we were just playing in front of the camera, which is exactly what we were doing.
If you read my online bio, it says that I like double denim, red lipstick, bad dancing and baby cats.
Now, if you were a corporate client and who wanted a formal or technical style of writing for your copy, and you came to our website, you would probably leave right away. We are so obviously NOT CORPORATE. And that’s great for us, because we don’t want to work with clients like that.
The funny thing is, one of the first questions we ask new clients is, “what type of image do you want to portray?’. And 9 times out of 10, the client will YELL, ‘NOT CORPORATE!’
Which tells me that by being ourselves on our website, we’re attracting exactly the right kind of clients, and we’re scaring the wrong clients away.
If you fear that revealing your real personality is ‘not appropriate’ for business, you’re probably not connecting with your ideal clients. And you’re depriving the world of the awesomeness that is the real you! Your people are out there, looking for you. Be yourself out loud so they can find you.
This is scary. It requires a lot of bravery to put yourself out there and realise that not everybody will like it. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. You just have to take the leap.
Just handle yourself appropriately and be selective, so that you include the stuff that’s relevant. Emphasise the elements of your personality that feed your brand’s image and will attract the right kind of like-minded clients. These clients will love you and what you offer. (We promise.)
It is possible, for example, to come across as professional AND fun. It’s possible to be seen as a leader in your field AND really approachable, or an expert who’s really quirky. It just takes a mix of the right details. There's an art to talking about your professional accomplishments, sprinkled with personal details that will click with the kind of people you want to work with.
This selectivity actually requires you to do a lot of background work on your brand and the kind of image you’d like to portray. We spend a huge chunk of time talking to our clients about this before we start writing.
Action steps for conquering the fear of 'not appropriate’:
1. Just start being yourself online. Push a boundary, make an outlandish comment, rewrite some of your website copy so that it feels more honest. Just say one thing online that you’re scared to say. The point is not to get this all perfectly right straight away, it’s to push yourself through the fear of coming across a bit unprofessional or inappropriate, and realise that it’s perfectly fine. Remember you can always delete something later.
2. Do some background work on your brand. It’s great if you’re excited about being yourself online, but it’s still important to craft your image to attract the right people. This isn’t about being fake or inauthentic, it’s just about putting boundaries around what you’re going to share. Be selective about sharing the elements of your personality or your personal life that boost your brand, rather than taking away from it.
If you already have a small business you’ve probably already done this kind of work. If you've already created a brand identity or a brand profile or whatever, whip it out. Go back over it with fresh eyes. Ask yourself, does this really feel authentically me? Is it soaked in my personality? Does it show who I really am? How can I include more details about myself or little quirks that will resonate with my ideal client?
Extra steps for high achievers:
1. Get us to give you some free feedback on your website.
Not sure how your website copy reads to outsiders? Hit us up for some simple, free, loving feedback. We'll tell you what we really think, and give you some ideas to fix it. No strings attached.
2. Go to Skillshare and take our free brand personality class.
We’ve recorded an hour-long class to help you create your own brand personality profile, in a way that’s authentically you. It’s basically the kind of work we do with you in person, except that if you use this link you can sign up for a free trial month with Skillshare and access our genius absolutely free. (Ahem, it’s totally legit to sign up for the free month, watch the class, then cancel your subscription before you pay anything.)
We Write You Blog
Small biz tips, free resources and real-life stories from us and other creative entrepreneurs.
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