You know that feeling when you sit in a meeting or seminar fighting with everything inside you not to drop your head as you doze off?
It means the speech you’re listening to is boring, right? Do you like it? No! So why do we decide to put our clients through boredom?
People don’t sign up to work with you because of the services you offer. There are thousands and thousands of accountants offering the same services that you do.
So, why do they decide to work with you?
You. Your personality. Your values. What you stand for.
But somehow, when we get a chance to speak, we think we should sound professional or business-like – or in other words, talk with a stick up your arse while throwing jargon around – for them to take us seriously.
Where’s Your Personality?
Think about the brands you’re attracted to. Do they sound like everyone else, or do they have something different or special about them? Does it make you excited to buy from a stiff and formal brand?
I want to challenge you to let your hair down, pour yourself an adult beverage (or a virgin if that’s your thing), and spike your blogs, homepage, videos, or social media updates with a bit of your personality next time you create something for your peeps.
I know, this is easier said than done. Here are a few things that might hold you back – I sure struggled with most of them.
- ‘Cause I’m not supposed to. ‘Nough said about this one. You get the point.
- Falling for the personality myth: “I’m not interesting enough” or “I need to be or act a certain way to ‘have’ personality.” That is just some bullshit someone somewhere made up. When someone (like a celebrity or the popular girl at school) is cheerful and bubbly with loads of charisma, people would say something like “she has loads of personality”. So we made the connection that, to have personality, we need to be cheerful and bubbly and outgoing. And when we aren’t, we’re personality-less. Sounds stupid, right? This is what the dictionary says about personality: “the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character” and “the type of person you are, which is shown by the way you behave, feel, and think”. And everybody has that. In real life, some people like you for who you are, who are attracted to you, and who identify with you. Online, people will too. You HAVE personality.
- Trying to be like someone else: Because we think we don’t have a personality or that ours isn’t good enough, we try to embody someone else’s. To give you a personal example, when I launched my blogging course for the first time, I wrote on my sales page “I will cheer you on”. What I meant to say is that I’m going to offer live coaching calls with the course to give them feedback and help them come up with ideas and figure stuff out. But I wanted to make it sound more exciting while in fact, I’m an introvert and a very logical person, so ‘cheerleader’ is not how I’d describe myself. So why did I choose to say that? Because I saw someone else, whom I follow and admire online, say that. But, she is an extroverted, “you-can-do-it!” type of girl. My teaching style is more of an “Okay, let’s look at the facts. Let’s see how we can improve or solve the problem” type. In saying that “I’ll cheer you on”, the value I give in helping them overcome struggles and move forward were diminished. Now, I don’t say that there’s something wrong with a ‘cheerleading’ style. If that’s you, then you should embrace it. That is what YOUR people need. But if that’s not you, then it will come across as fake. People who know me or who watched the course video will immediately feel something’s off – even if it’s subconscious.
- Afraid of revealing too much: I know it’s scary to share something of yourself online, especially when you’re a private person like me. But, you don’t have to share too much. You don’t need to share pictures of your kids on Facebook or tell us about your digestive issues (please don’t!). You can, however, share stories and experiences, like what I did above with my ‘cheerleading’ mistake.
How to Infuse Your Personality into Your Marketing Content
Okay, so let’s say you’re sold on the idea of bringing more of your personality into your work. How do you actually go about doing it?
It doesn’t come naturally to everybody, so here are a few tips to get you going:
1. Write in a conversational style. Write the way you would talk. A great way to check whether it sounds like you is to read it out loud to yourself and make changes where your language sounds weird.
2. Use stories in your writing. It can be a personal experience story or something made up. When we write in stories, we tend to relax our writing. When we tell personal stories, people can better relate to us, and we share a part of ourselves that we probably won’t otherwise. Remember the ‘cheerleader-mistake’ story I’ve written about up top? You can probably think back to an incident where you did something similar. (Read this blog for ideas on how to use stories in your writing.)
3. Give your opinion about something. For instance, I believe that we should embrace our personality and not write in a formal or business-like manner (What? Really?). That’s different from what most of us learned when we studied or after working for a previous employer, especially if we’ve worked for a corporate firm. Most of you reading this blog would probably agree with me (‘cause you’re hanging around on my blog), or you will be open to investigating this idea further – but others won’t. If you have this internal dialogue every time you write something – the one voice saying “let’s just relax a bit, darling” and the other voice saying “No! They won’t take you seriously” – then this blog will make you very happy. You’d want to sit a little closer to me, and you’ll take note next time I write something. If you vehemently disagree with me, you’ll probably never come back to this blog. And that’s okay. When you give your opinion, especially when it’s upstream, you weed out the wrong people and draw the right people a bit closer.
4. Practice! You won’t get it right first time around. If you’d read some of the earlier blogs that I’ve written, you’ll find that my writing was conversational, but there was no personality in it. Every time I put something out there, it gets better.
You’ll Attract and, at the Same Time, Repel People
The most important thing you need to know about embracing your personality is this: You’ll become like a magnet for people who adore your personality, or who are like you or can identify with you. They’ll think things like “she understands me” or “I’m not alone”. On the other side of the coin, you will also repel some people.
So now you may think “but maybe it’s better not to infuse my personality too much because I don’t want to repel anybody.”
Well, you will also not attract that many people. Not the right people, in any way.
Why not start weeding out the wrong people and drawing the right people a bit closer? Sooner than what you may think, you’ll end up with a bunch of clients who love you and value your services. People who don’t find you boring.
Wouldn’t you be a little more excited to get up in the morning and get to work?
The 12 Branding Archetypes
If you’re a bit confused about what your personality is or how to weave it into your content, have a look at this pdf I’ve created summarising the 12 branding archetypes that are commonly used in marketing. It is just a guide – because we’re all unique. You’ll most probably fit into more than one category, but it will give you a good idea of where to start. Also, have a look at the brands that are listed in your category(s) and go check them out online to see how they do things.