Who could forget Joey Tribiani’s hilariously horrible speech for Chandler and Monica’s wedding? (For those who have forgotten, check out this Friends clip.)
That, my friends, is what your blog posts will sound like if you try too hard.
If you focus on how you “should” sound or what you “should” write about, your unique flare isn’t going to come to the surface. Your brand’s blog will soon fall into the trap of being “just another blog about such-and-such.”
What can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen? Glad you asked!
“It is a love based on giving and receiving…”
Building a brand around a topic or industry you’re passionate about is the best thing you can do to reveal your most authentic self.
In order for your social media efforts to resonate with your followers, you have to be honest about why you love your industry, and the contribution you want to make.
If you’re naturally bursting at the seams to get started each day, this energy will also burst through your content (in other words, pull a Gary Vaynerchuk).
It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being honest. Even your weaknesses can be used to your advantage – they show your “human” side, and you can use them to help your readers avoid stumbling blocks with their own career goals.
Your honesty and what you share with your audience will make them feel involved in your big picture, and feel inspired to continue working on their own.
Soon, your brand will have its own tribe, and its growth will become a team effort. Open communication through social media is always a two-way street. Give your audience the information necessary to help them accomplish what you know they’re capable of achieving.
“…as well as having and sharing.”
By engaging with your audience candidly, your distinct voice will stand out amongst the noise. Be open with your audience, and your audience will be open with you.
When you integrate a human element within every marketing message (for example, using personal anecdotes to drive your point home), your brand won’t sound robotic, and your unique perspective will make your brand memorable.
We now expect brands to communicate in a human voice, not a business voice. It’s why we choose the brands we do to become a part of our everyday lives – if we connect with them and they seamlessly integrate with our future goals, we become loyal fans.
You can spot inauthentic a mile away, and so can your readers. In order to make sure they stick around, you have to influence them using depth and substance.
You have to fulfill their basic needs, be empathetic toward their struggles, and inspire them to work hard toward their goals. These simple, natural strategies to connect will go a long way in building a loyal, steady stream of followers.
“And the love they give and have is shared and received.”
As your audience builds, listen to their needs. What they share when commenting on your blog posts and your social media accounts is a clear indication of the information they’re seeking from you.
While you know in advance the audience you’re looking to reach, and you’ll work hard to do so, you’ll find as your audience comes together, they’ll start to tell you what your blog represents to them.
It’s important to connect to the energy of your following, learn who they are, and allow them to tell you what they want to learn from you.
The more open and enthusiastic you are about your readers’ suggestions for future content, the more they’ll trust you and connect with the human presence behind your brand.
Share pieces of yourself as they relate to your brand’s mission, respond to comments thoroughly, and give your readers individual assistance as they ask for it. Doing so will build a strong sense of community amongst your readers, and will transform your blog into a haven they’ll visit on a regular basis.
“And through this having and giving and sharing and receiving, we too can share and love and have and receive.”
The best part about building brands today is there’s no longer such thing as competition. Through networking with other bloggers, we form alliances and look at the much bigger picture of how we can all contribute to make a positive impact on our industries.
Brand owners dedicate time to link to each other, comment on each other’s blog posts, and share each other’s content through social media accounts.
It’s about reaching out and engaging, not selling.
According to Tony Robbins, we have basic human needs “which serve as the basis of every choice we make,” and these needs are the best way to really make a difference for your audience:
- Certainty – The need for certainty and consistency.
- Uncertainty – The need for variety and challenges.
- Significance – The need to feel important and wanted.
- Love & Connection – The need to feel connected with others.
- Growth – The need for constant emotional, intellectual, and spiritual development.
- Contribution – The need to contribute and make a difference in others’ lives.
Stop competing, and start reaching out. If you make your brand something you can’t wait to work on, and your blog a community you can’t wait to check in with, you’ll have created a place your readers will look forward to visiting too.
The Biggest Lesson Joey Teaches Us
When Chandler and Monica finally break the news to Joey that his speech sucks the big one, Joey opens up to them about what he truly wants to say at their wedding, and what he wants his speech to represent.
They love the natural speech that comes from his heart, so much so they beg him to say exactly what he just said, and this is what your readers are looking for from you. Don’t pull a Joey, who at the end of the conversation, goes back to repeating his stiff, contrived (and incoherent) speech.
If you love what you do, and love what you stand for, your words will come out fluently. You’ll represent your brand using a natural voice your readers can connect to.
Everything you post on your blog and share through your social media accounts has to matter to your readers; otherwise, they’ll shift their focus elsewhere. With every post, always make sure to think about what your brand means to them, and their focus will always remain on you.
(And, if you’re ever feeling like you need to reconnect with your readers to gauge how your brand is faring, connect with a simple “How YOU doin’?”)