Last week Brit talked about finding your blogging voice and today we are going to dive in a bit more with “Finding Your Voice in Social Media and Your Brand”. Cris from Kiss My Tulle is the perfect example of a blogger who has found her voice…and trust me her followers, known as the “tulle nation,” love it! Great Monday read by Cris Stone…
There’s a lot of talk these days about how it is imperative to your brand to have a voice. But, you may be asking, WHAT does that mean? It’s means that your job as a wedding blogger or vendor is so much more than selling your products, services, opinions, or inspiration. It’s about selling yourself.
You’re not just selling your five+ years of coordination experience or killer cake toppers or sidebar content space. You are selling the concept of you. You are selling your memories, your thoughts, your unique collection of beliefs, your challenges and triumphs, your hopes, your dreams, your experience… YOU are selling YOU.
I am exceptionally lucky – I have never struggled to find my unique voice. In fact, some of the best compliments I have ever received have been when the people closest to me have read my work and told me that when they do – they can hear me speaking and even see my body language. I love that and I think it comes through in my blog and my social media networks. I have never lied about who I am or what makes me tick. I’ve never tried to sound smarter (or dumber) than I actually am. I have never pretended to chic or sophisticated or into reality TV or GOOP. Those are all things I am definitely not. I am, however, very witty and enthusiastic and into true crime TV and George Clooney’s buns. I am inappropriate, passionate about budget weddings, I swear a lot, and I have a deep and long-standing relationship with cheese. And that? Comes through in my writing, my blog, and my business’s brand which sees returns in better traffic, more followers, and higher revenues. The posts and tweets that have gotten the most traffic on my site are the ones that came straight from my heart. The ones that shared my fears, my triumphs, and my dreams. They were the ones that shared my voice.
You may be asking WHY your business needs a voice. Can’t you just provide quality services or products and let them speak for themselves? Short answer? Not anymore. These are the days of social media marketing, my friends, and people are buying more than just your “stuff” – they are buying YOU. They don’t want to just know about your amazing vintage veils. They want to know if they can feel comfortable with you, if they can be “friends” with you, and if they can trust you. And they use your actions and “voice” in social media to figure that out for themselves. So HOW do you go about finding this here “voice” I’m talking about? Well, there are several ways – the logic, planned way (i.e Sheldon Cooper) and the random, devil-my-care way (i.e. Penny). I’ll cover both – pick the one that works for you!
- Make a list and write down as many answers as you want. What are you good at? What do you love doing? What need do you fill? What gives your life meaning and purpose? What direction do you see yourself going?
- Examine your list. Is there any overlap? Group similar traits and items together. Try to create a one sentence description of yourself.
- Sometimes, it is too overwhelming for you to figure out who you are all by yourself. Make a list of people you admire (one family member, one friend, one online friend). Ask them to describe you in one sentence. Write those down with the descriptions you made of yourself about yourself. Look for a pattern – can you make your one sentence now?
- Write your one sentence down and put it somewhere you can see it (your computer monitor, a mirror, or a bulletin board). Refer to it every time you’re about to blog or post on social media. Ask yourself – will this follow the guidelines I have set for myself? If not, rewrite it so it does or just nix it completely. Better to have three tweets in your voice than 20 that sound like your mama in Eastern Texas.
- Prepare for evolution. People grow so be ready for your voice to change as you do. Instead of writing down your list and sentences on a single piece of paper why not write each word or phrase on a Post-it and create your sentence by stringing them together? Keep all the Post-its, change them around, and alter your voice as needed.
- Pick a story about yourself that you would be comfortable telling someone new. Now, write it down exactly like you’re saying it in your head (or out loud). Don’t worry about grammar or spelling. Just write it all down in your words, with your italics, with your underlines. Draw doodles or little hearts over the “I”s – just get it all down on paper. Now read it. THAT’S your voice. Embrace it.
- Record yourself talking on audio or video. Watch or listen and transcribe what you’re exactly what you’re saying. Pay attention to the rhythm of your speech, your sentence structures, your volume, and what words you use. Try to incorporate those patterns in your writing and it will come across as your authentic voice.
- Create a character. Maybe you think you’re boring or maybe you’re concerned about your finding out about your filthy mouth. Either way, you can’t be yourself. So pick someone close to what you want your voice to be and channel them in your writing and social media actions. Just be sure to stay consistent and always, always tell the truth (don’t lie and say you have a beach house in Malibu when you really live across the hall from a couple of physicists).
- Write your passion. If you don’t write about what you’re writing about then no one else will. This goes for your social media especially. Don’t write in a voice that you hate or about something that you don’t like just because you think it will turn you a quick buck. Voices do not exist in cheap hotels or the shallow end of the pool. They are livin’ it up in the penthouse or basking in the sunshine at St Bart’s. You have 140 characters to make an impact – strip it down and go with what sings to you.
- Do a Random Thoughts Tweetend. For one weekend, tweet whatever comes to your mind. EVERYTHING. Don’t censor it or “fix” it. Just write it. After the weekend, check your following. Which tweets gained you followers? Those are the ones that show the most appealing side of you – the side that you’re trying to share. That’s your voice.
And one last piece of advice for you Sheldons and Pennys. Dare To Be Dreadful. When trying to find your voice, you’re going to be doing a lot of experimenting and playing around. Some of it will be awful. Some of it will be brilliant. Try to find the middle ground – the overlap is where you’ll find the good stuff, the authentic stuff, the stuff that will sell you and make your brand profitable. This isn’t the time to worry about commercial appeal or viability – whenever that little FCC in your head starts mouthing off… hit ‘em in the groin. YOU and only YOU know what comes from your heart – write that and the rest will find you.
Your voice is your essence. Your trademark to show the world. The copyright you own exclusively. You are not truly able to sell yourself or your business until you have found that elusive thing – your voice. It is the most powerful tool in your business
So use your voice consistently and remember, “One word expresses the pathway to greatness: voice. Those on this path find their voice and inspire others to find theirs. The rest never do.” – Dr. Steven R. Covey