It’s one of those things that everyone with a blog has read about at least 100 times already, this whole “be authentic” thing. It was a trendy thing that actually started out as really great advice, but has been so overused that it’s just become something that makes you want to roll your eyes at this point.
But let’s get back to the nugget of good advice that it all started with.
In my opinion, the true meaning of being authentic on your blog and in your business revolves more around the idea that so many people think they have to be “all business” and “put up the look-how-awesome-we-are-all-the-time” front. In reality, you’re not selling yourself or your business to robots. You’re selling to human beings. If you were a carpet manufacturer, you’d probably just advertise about how soft your products feel underfoot, or how durable they are, or stain resistant. All things people care about, yes… but what about the carpet manufacturer that tells the story about all the hard work they put into their business to get to that point? What about when they share how they learned that just the right combination of fiber composition makes for the best stain proof carpet on the market? Did they do a study? Did they put samples down in front of 100 toddlers armed with every sticky, gooey, staining substance they can find? HOW did they come to their conclusions… WHAT did they learn? When they tell that story, it puts proof behind their claims, and therefore makes them more believable, and as such? More buyers.
Now let’s turn it around and talk about a successful artist. Go ahead, pick one you admire. Think about WHY you admire them. Is it because they just make pretty things and sell them online, or is it because you’ve actually learned something about them? Maybe it’s the elderly man with Cerebral Palsy who creates masterpieces with his old-fashioned typewriter. Maybe it’s the woman who lost her arms in a tragic accident and now paints landscapes with her feet. It could be the child who was born deaf, but because of science and technology, can compose sonatas that even Mozart would admire. Maybe it’s dooce, the woman who’s made millions and millions of dollars in advertising revenue alone, all because she started a blog to discuss her post-partum depression. See the pattern? You. Know. Their. Story.
Most of you dear readers are NOT carpet manufacturers. Most of you are artists, crafters, writers, and creatives who pour bits of your heart and soul into everything you make. It’s the heart, and the soul, that your buyers NEED a piece of, to feel connected to you enough to admire and own what you’re putting out there.
I’ve shared my stories here. Not all of them, by any means, and there are plenty of things that I’ll probably always keep private and personal. But it’s ME you’re reading here. It’s ME I want you to feel a connection with, because it’s YOU that needs to understand where I’m coming from in order to believe a single word I say. Some of you won’t, and that’s okay. You’ll probably connect with someone else based on their story, and that’s awesome.
But my point is, stop being afraid to show the world you’re human, because we all need to identify with each other in order to have a mutual benefit from the connection at all. :)
What pieces of you can you learn to share with your readers this week? If you write an “authentic” post, please link to it in the comments and share it, so we can all feel just a little more connected to you.