In a recent conversation with my mother, she told me that she had been talking to a friend of hers who is an author and the friend said, "I don't understand how Catherine can put herself out there the way she does."
Now, given the fact that the book I wrote is a memoir...that just comes with the territory. But long before that book was published, I was blogging and creating a social media community by doing just that: being myself.
Vulnerability and authenticity in marketing is something that scares a lot of people and I can understand that. No one wants their deepest, darkest secrets out on the internet for everyone else to read. But that's not really what vulnerability is.
There's a big difference between being authentic in your marketing and oversharing.
The thing about authentic marketing is that it offers you a HUGE sense of freedom. You're not putting on a mask and trying to be something you're not. You're saying, "This is who I am. This is what I know. These are some of the mistakes I've made that have made me the expert I am today."
What you have to give up is this notion that you need to advertise yourself as the one perfect person in your industry. Every single professional has had their ups and downs. Everyone has had situations in their life that have caused them to pivot. Everyone has a personal life that influences their professional life.
And I've got news for you. People actually LIKE imperfection! It makes them feel like they're not alone. It makes them feel like they're working with a person, not just a business.
But how can you do it? What's the magic formula?
1. Yes, your homepage should have your business information, but I encourage you to use your About page as a platform to have a conversation with your reader. Tell them a little bit about your story. Write it in first person ("I love what I do" rather than "Catherine Tidd is passionate about the digital marketing industry"). Think about what YOU would want to know about the professionals you look for.
2.You CAN share things about yourself without oversharing. I think if you asked anyone in the social media community I built, they'll say they know me. But the truth is, even though I've been open about some areas of my life, I'm a pretty private person. So, I have found the balance lies in sharing the overview rather than the details. Here's how I do it:
I use one personal experience and build a lesson or how-to about it. This means I'm talking about one specific detail and not sharing everything about my life.
I talk about my family, but often don't use their names (I refer to my kids as my oldest, youngest, etc.).
I write as if I'm having a one-on-one conversation with someone over coffee - my blog is not "professional." It's like talking to a friend.
3. THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I DO: I connect my experience to what I imagine others are going through and quickly turn "my story" into something more universal.
I completely understand that if this something new for you, it's kind of scary. But I promise you that the more you get into this mindset and the more you practice it, it makes your marketing so much easier. There is no end to our life experiences which means you have a never-ending wealth of information to share with your audience JUST BY BEING YOU.