Last week I sent out a newsletter of a very personal and vulnerable nature.
I wrote it not because some email marketing best practice says so.
I wrote it because I HAD to. Life is too short to have a message bottled up inside.
In fact, I might have broken every single “rule”…
No “5 simple ways” or “7 easy steps.” Screw SEO. Not particularly actionable. Definitely quite a bit about “me” and not a whole lot about “you.” Not exactly uplifting and definitely not kumbaya easy reading.
Imagine my surprise when I looked at the metrics a few days later:
3 people unsubscribed. THREE.
A low number for any list that comprises of more than self, mom and cat.
On the flip side, I had quite a few people hit reply and wrote back. Sharing their experience, appreciating the content, cheering me along. (Translates as “engagement” in marketing speak.)
I want to share this because I see so many folks being stuck in the land of “am I saying it right?” “Is this marketing-kosher?” “Am I checking everything off the list?”
Overlooking the fact that at the core of effective communication, the goal is to create resonance and connection.
In an earlier post, I wrote how Connection and Resonance are the new currency of Conversion.
For my peeps, who are (mostly) solo-entrepreneurs and practitioners such as coaches, consultants and change agents, creating a personality-driven brand can give you an edge in marketing when you prioritize building relationship and taking a stand by having a point of view that resonates with your community.
In a world in which so many try to run happy camp and not to offend anyone, having a POV can be scary. Especially one that asks you to stick your neck out and challenge the status quo.
I get it. I noodled for three days whether I should send that email.
Truth is, having the GUTS to say what needs to be said, fully express your value and CONVICTION, and share who you are and how you BE, will set you apart from a sea of sameness. Bottom line: good for business.
Time to break out.
No more hiding behind templates. No more taking the easy way out by mindlessly following “best practices.” (Note: you do have to learn the rules before you break them.)
“5 simple ways” or “7 easy steps” kind of content sprinkled with some keywords can certainly be useful – no harm in getting some clicks and SEO juice, but don’t make them your entire content marketing strategy.
They often lack the personal touch that takes the relationship with your readers to the next level.
Adding personality to your communication often means opening up. Your value, conviction, quirks, and flaws are all beautiful things.
It doesn’t mean pouring it all out with no filter though. Do that on your personal journal.
Walk the hairline, mindfully.
Vulnerability can be a tricky thing to master in marketing communication.
(And the abus of the word “authentic” makes me cringe.)
You can’t “do” vulnerability.
There’s no formula – in fact, if you follow some template to “do vulnerability,” your stuff probably would sound forced and eeeek!
Being vulnerable means putting YOU out there. There is only one YOU – own it. You can’t find a formula to do YOU.
There is a fine line between “personal” and “private”. I’m not asking you to share anything you’re not ready to share.
If the wound is still raw, if it’s too close to home, if you’re still whining about it… let it heal. You’ve to integrate the lesson first, before you can share it meaningfully.
Sure you can talk about your experience when you’re in the thick of it. I’ve done that and it’s very powerful. Only do so if you can keep a distance when you write the piece… and ready for whatever that may get stirred up.
When you’re ready, and you can make it relevant to your readers, being personal and vulnerable can be a rewarding experience for all.
Now you may wonder – how to make something personal highly relevant to others?
We’re all human. The fact that we all share the same human condition with each other is what makes connection and resonance possible.
When you share your value and conviction infused with emotions through storytelling, you create Resonance.
Resonance goes deeper than engagement. Engagement could end at a “hey nice post!” comment, or a share on social media.
Resonance is deeply empathic.
It can be hard for us Empaths. It could be painful if you take in everything and forget to unplug carefully. Do it anyway, it’s worth it.
When someone resonates with your communication, heartstring is pulled and your personal brand takes root in their psyche. It’s an honor to have that kind of impact.
Now you are different. You’re no longer a provider of “5 simple ways” or “7 easy steps” articles available through fiverr.
When you share a deeper side of YOU, you put your very own identity at the forefront… the value you stand for, the conviction you live by, the person you aspire to BE for your peeps.
Here is where the magic happens:
When you rock your IDENTITY, you inspire others to take on that identity too.
Passion and conviction are contagious.
Why is that important? When that identity is in alignment with the person they could become when they work with you, they’re more likely to say “yes” (our subconscious can’t stand cognitive dissonance):
If you’re a personal trainer, it would be an uphill battle to convince a potential client to use your service when he identifies himself as a couch potato.
If you’re a health coach, it could be a fruitless endeavor to try selling your package to someone who prides herself as a junk food connoisseur.
Often times that identity you want your potential client to take on is a reflection of your values and beliefs.
When you can use your content to aspire your readers to adopt an identity that aligns with the transformation you deliver, you have won half of the sales battle before any sales conversation even begins.
Here’s your challenge:
Should you decide to take it on… to reflect on these questions:
How are you going to put forth your personality, value and conviction in your marketing communications?
Who do you want to BE in your business and for your peeps?
What IDENTITY do you want to inspire your readers to take on? How are you going to step up and just BE it?