Be yourself… be real… be authentic… be consistent
I’ve heard this so many times that I wasn’t surprised when we covered this in a Content Camp workshop I attended last year. I didn’t want to repeat it in a blog post because I thought it was too mundane, too obvious. Everyone already knows this right?
But maybe you don’t. Maybe I’ve only heard it so often because I work in marketing and consume content as if it were wine in my spare time. Maybe you haven’t heard it all before, because you are too busy running your business to be hanging out on webinars and Twitter chats. Maybe you know it but you’re still grateful for the reminder.
And you haven’t heard what being yourself, being real, being authentic and being consistent means to me. Plus I have a bonus tip on making your content findable – because what’s the point in having great content if no one can find it! So read on to learn more about how being your authentic self can help you create content that connects with your audience and makes then take action (that’s the conversion).
Let’s start with being yourself. Sounds like a no brainer, who else would you be? But a lot of people try too hard to come across in the way they think their customers want them to be. Honestly, your customers just want you to keep it real. They want to know they’re talking to a real person, a human being not a computer or a machine. They know that there is a person behind that social media profile, that a person wrote that blog post – so let them know who you are.
Don’t be afraid of sharing a personal detail or two. I don’t mean mega personal private information but little peeks into your business life like your favourite book in your industry, or why you use a particular product in your business. Think about why someone would want to follow you on social media? No one logs onto Facebook to be sold to, we go onto Facebook to see what our friends and family are doing, people are following you not because they want your latest offer but because they want to get to know you a little better before they buy from you.
If you’re producing video there’s no way to hide the real you, if you’re not natural on camera you’ll come across as fake or over rehearsed, so if you don’t want to end up with a million takes – jut be yourself, and don’t worry if you make a mistake.
Always be a first-rate version of yourself not a second-rate version of someone else – Judy Garland
Woah, scary huh, putting your vulnerability out there?! Sharing your story might you feel vulnerable but it will also draw people to you who understand or empathise with your vulnerability and your connection with them will be deeper because of it. They might reciprocate and share their vulnerabilities with you as they begin to trust you.
And we know that people buy from people. They buy from people they know, like and trust. So be brave and put yourself out there, let your customers get to know you, like you and trust you.
Authentic marketing is a big buzz word in marketing today, if you don’t believe it then don’t say it. Simple. Be true to what you believe in and you will attract people who believe in you.
This can be hard when you are just starting out in business because you want to appeal to everyone. You want everyone to like you. So you might water down some of your opinions, you won’t want to be controversial. But if being your authentic self in your business puts people off working with you then these people are probably not your ideal clients, they are probably not aligned in thinking the same way you do. You might put lots of effort into getting that first sale from them and they probably will never come back.
Start Where You Are
There’s no shame in it, we all have to start somewhere. Don’t have a fancy video camera? Doesn’t matter, it’s what you say that is important, you can refine things as your business grows. Remember if you are putting off recording a video because your equipment isn’t good enough – the devil of procrastination is sitting on your shoulder, shrug him off and get started.
Anyway, you might find that video isn’t the way to go and your audience are more likely to listen to a podcast on their commute. Starting with what you’ve got is a good way to test the waters with your customers before you invest time, money and effort.
Case in Point:
A few months ago I received an email from Marianne from Free Range Humans, she usually sends out a Friday love letter, but had recorded a trial podcast on sound cloud, not professionally produced, just her speaking into a microphone. (And she asks for feedback; if this is something you want to hear more of, I’ll invest in a microphone to improve the sound quality.) But the content was amazing. I would subscribe. I don’t care if the sound quality wasn’t amazing, or that is wasn’t produced by a production company. In fact I listened to it twice there was so much information that was valuable to me.
I also listen to Natalie Sisson’s The Suitcase Entrepreneur podcast which is recorded on the road with audible background noise, or sometimes it’s recorded under a tent of duvets to reduce the echo of an empty hotel room!
Do what you have to get started, worry about perfecting it later.
Give specific examples like I’ve done above that your reader or listener can relate to. If you say vague things like I listen to someone who does these things, and sometimes uses this stuff – do you have any idea what I’m talking about? No? Your audience won’t either.
Get it out there. You don’t want to waste all that time and effort producing a blog post, a video or whatever piece of content it is for it to sit on the shelf unread, unwatched. You have a voice that wants to be heard. Put as much effort into distributing your content as you did making it. Share it wherever your audience, your customers, your ideal clients or influencers in your industry hang out. Use a scheduling tool to reach people at different types of day. But don’t be spammy. Remember to communicate the value, why should someone invest their time in you – what do they get out of it?
What’s in it for me?
Give Your Best Stuff for Free
Another no brainer. So much is free on the internet today. You have to prove how good your content is by giving it away. Although we say free…we don’t always mean free. Sometimes we mean ‘pay’ in exchange for your email address, or ‘pay’ with a social share to help us spread the word. And remember people are less willing to give up their email addresses these days so you have to turn up with the goods ad prove you are worth it.
Play to your strengths, if you hate writing try creating video content or podcasting, if you hate the sound of your voice then go with writing, or maybe you’re a creative soul and can spread your message with visual images, infographics or cartoons! This goes hand in hand with being real, don’t force it if it isn’t a natural fit for you and your business. You don’t have to post selfies on Instagram just because everyone else is.
Set Objectives and Include a Call to Action in Your Content
What do you want you reader, viewer, web visitor to do next? Do you want them to share your content – is your goal to get your content in front of as many people as possible to create visibility for you and your brand? Or do you want people to take the next step into your sales funnel and sign up to a newsletter or a digital course?
This is an important step that many people leave out because they dive right into the content and forget to sign post people to the next step.
Make Your Content Searchable
You want to attract an audience to you who are already looking for the things you help with. So you want our content to show up in search engines, whether that’s Google or Bing, or Facebook, or Amazon or Instagram, all these platforms have their own little search engines running in the background to connect users with what they are searching for.
1. Use #hashtags on Twitter and Instagram
2. Add your video to a relevant playlist on YouTube
3. Optimise your blog content for SEO
I’m talking about putting keywords in your title, in your copy (but not too many that it looks spammy) make sure your rename your image files with descriptive works (keywords if possible) and not just “Image 1” or “JPEG4758”.
If you can, if it looks right and makes sense to the reader use keywords in your subheadings but don’t just make them bold, make sure you can select them as a header style, e.g. Header 2 or use the html code <h2>keyword title goes here</h2>.
If you need a bit of help when it comes to creating content that converts and connects please get in touch, you can book a Marketing Surgery Appointment so we can go through it together, or attend one of my workshops.