Authenticity is a huge buzzword online. And it only grew in popularity because the amount of fake, garbage, forced, clickbait content that has been building up online for the past few years.
So what do I mean by Authentic and why am I going on about it?
Being authentic means being true to yourself and who you are. If you say the word “amazeballs” in your everyday life and it’s part of your vernacular, then that sounds natural in your branding. But if you’ve never used that word in your life but you think it will make you trendy or cute to use in an email or sales page, you’re going to get found out. Eventually.
Why am I writing about Authenticity? Because it was a very hard lesson for me to learn when I first started out, it wasn’t natural for me at first and now that I would say I’m pretty authentic, I see it like a glaring neon sign when others are not.
How many people do you follow online to see what they are doing? That you watch their videos, read their posts, their emails, in hopes of learning more about HOW THEY DO IT? How do they sound so great in their emails, and online? What’s the secret to their stuff?
What is sparking me to write this post is that I have always followed some influencers online, I subscribe to their emails and follow their launches etc because I am intrigued and interested in what they are doing. But what a lot of people do is they take on that influencers branding as their own.
Imitation is the best form of flattery they say… but honestly it’s not.
If you copy someone else’s branding as your own, if your own voice is masked behind buzzwords you THINK will make you trendy or cool, your message might get out for a bit, you might see some success, but the veneer of keeping up appearances will wear thin and eventually crack. People will see through the cracks and begin to distance themselves and gravitate to someone whose message they resonate with and who feels more authentic.
Develop your own style – Tap into it instead of borrowing someone else’s. Dig deep and determine your voice and your strengths, you do have them. Think back to when you were a kid and how you liked to describe something… Were you a story teller or very factual? Your style will come back to you the more you use it. Trust me.
My own style… When I was a kid I told the most intricate and fantastical stories. I was obsessed with The Neverending Story and I was always super excited to share my love of the book with anyone who could keep up with my rapid-fire recounting of it. Plus I was always going to have a horse called Artax and marry Atreyu. Just saying.
As a teen I wrote some pretty dark poetry and I was obsessed with gothic romances. My writing continued to develop as I went into university, and most of my electives were either creative writing or English Lit of any kind. I wrote poems, stories and even penned a very silly play that will never EVER see the light of day 🙂
I’m sharing this because my writing now as an entrepreneur is the result of that 8 year old kid who adored fantasy movies, of that messed up teen writing about vampires, and that young adult reading Chaucer.
Be true to yourself – Being authentic means if you swear in your everyday conversations, then swearing is in your personal brand. If saying fuck or shit makes your cheeks blush, then don’t think of using it in an email or sales page copy. I know we are all about the “disruptors” right now (phrases that jolt your brain, often curse words) but there are other ways of getting attention that are authentically you! I would never say amazeballs without snickering, it’s just not me, and it would be inauthentic of me to say it in any of my copy… ever. My word is amazing, it’s on the tip of my tongue all the time, that’s my word.
Tell your story every time you write – A very good friend of mine who makes her living copywriting for other people taught me this. When she writes for her clients she has them fill out a questionnaire before hand, and part of that is asking them what is their story, what got them to where they are? Made them who they are? She then crafts VERY persuasive copy that sells because she threads the client’s own story into what she writes. Genious!
You’re going to evolve – Evolving your personal brand is totally ok, it’s like fashion, and I don’t wear acid wash jeans or jelly shoes like I did when I was a kid in the 80’s anymore, I evolved as I grew and my tastes changed (but seriously, jelly shoes were gross, your feet always stunk in them!)
Authenticity is being yourself and expressing yourself as you would every damn day. Don’t change that for anyone. Be you, and don’t go down the road of slightly changing who that is for anyone or anything else. Trust me, your audience is out there, they will find you 🙂
So… have you ever struggled with authenticity? Care to share? Comment below and be sure to check out M Community where we’re encouraging over a thousand entrepreneurs to connect to their authentic selves and grow their businesses!