How to be yourself in your content (without sounding like a tw*t)
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
“I can’t write a blog for my business the way I talk, I’d frighten everyone off!”
A friend of mine said this recently, and it made me giggle.
She makes me giggle all the time, actually, because her unique take on things, and the way she expresses it, is comedy gold. But, even though I thought the world was in need of her words, I could completely relate to her reluctance.
When I started to progress in my publishing career, I found that more and more people were asking my opinion. The other managers wanted to know my thoughts on how things could be improved, new starters wanted to know what I would do in certain situations, peers wanted to know my opinion on things that were happening.
But I was shy and didn’t like to rock the boat. And I was worried I’d say something wacky that others disliked, therefore making them dislike me.
So I just sat on the fence and watched others influence the state of play away from how I wanted things to be.
Then, when I began to really take the lead on the editorial team, I was tasked with writing an article on LinkedIn to encourage more people to publish their research in our journal. I spent 30 minutes staring at the blank screen before letting the words flow through my fingers, cascading down the page until I was done. I was told the piece was creative, so much more than it needed to be, and that I was a talented writer. I had found my medium, and was invited to write for our company magazine.
My confidence was boosted and I began to feel like I had something valuable to say, even though I was saying it in pixels or ink rather than speech. But soon, those pixels began to translate. I found myself jotting down what I wanted to say in a meeting as others spoke, then calmly interjecting, saying my piece to nods of agreement or interest, then closing my mouth again to listen to what happened next.
When people read my articles or heard me speak in meetings, they asked me how I did it. “I’m in awe of you! It’s like everything you say is rehearsed!”
“That’s because it is,” I would answer, “even just for 10 seconds before I say it, I’m writing it in my head before I speak”.
I had valuable things to say, important points to make, and insightful comments to add to discussions, I just needed help to get them out. And so did the graduates I was training at the time. They were special, they were smart, and they had a lot to add to the literature we were publishing; they just didn’t know how to get started.
I believe there are lots more people in this exact position across the country and the world. Maybe you’re one of them.
They’ve worked hard for many years to gain expertise in a subject that changes lives, but when it comes to writing about it, they just can’t find the words.
Like I did in those meetings before I wrote my article, they’re sitting back and watching others take to the stage. Or, they’re saying the same things they hear others saying because they think it’s the only way to be heard.
But they want to make their mark, speak directly to their people, and now they’re ready to take that first step.
So how do you do that without making a fool of yourself? Well, I believe the same rule applies here as it does to life: be kind, treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself, and speak truthfully. Honestly, you can’t go far wrong.
The flip side of the coin also applies: the people who are put off by you being yourself really aren’t worth worrying about. They’d have been no fun to work with anyway.
My friend had a go at writing like herself more recently and the reception she got was phenomenal. Genuine connection, people showing up as THEIR true selves in response, and more clients saying ‘yes’ than she could ever have imagined.
So, now you know there is no magic sauce to being yourself in your content, what are you going to start doing differently to be more YOU? How could you shake off the shackles of “should”, and rewrite the rulebook on what’s professional?
Looking for more blog-writing support and inspiration?
My free Facebook group Blog Magic: Blogging Hints and Tips for Coaches, Consultants and Counsellors is just the place for you. In there, I offer training in how to write blogs that generate you leads, as well as support and inspiration to help you show up in your content with confidence.