I have been struggling with this post for a few days now. So instead of worrying about it being just right, I am going to just put it out there and invite your comments and discussion on the topic.
I mentioned in a post on my personal blog about how important it is to accept that you are a unique being, and to revel in that uniqueness. Today I want to talk about how important it is to bring that uniqueness to your blog.
I get asked by a lot of people why it’s so important to have a blog. My answer is always some variation of “It’s the one piece of internet real estate that you have control over (if you have a domain and host it yourself), and it’s the one place you can share your story without having to worry about someone else coming along after you and taking it down.”
In short, your blog is your voice online.
I’ve been blogging since 2004, and in the beginning it was sure a lot easier than it is now. Your blog was your space. You didn’t have to worry about all these marketing and branding rules and showing off your expertise. It was a much more holistic way of blogging where the people who connected with you really connected with you. And to be very frank with you, I miss that.
I don’t mind sharing my expertise, such as it is, with you. I love helping and if what I have to say resonates with just one person, then to me that post has done its job. My problem with blogging the way its been taught recently is the whole separateness that expertise invites. Because it only validates one part of your voice, and silences the rest. I guess that’s okay if you only want to talk at your audience and not really connect with them. For me, when I try blogging that way I always feel like I’m giving a lecture instead of inviting a discussion.
Somewhere along the line our stories and our voices have got lost in the noise of the marketing message. The uniqueness that is what makes us individuals is missing in so many cases. Don’t get me wrong — there are some amazing examples of bloggers who are brilliantly holistic in their approach. A few examples that come to mind are:
Martha Giffen – who is an amazing social media expert and relationship builder, and is not shy about sharing how she lives an inspired life and the effect that has on her business.
Angela Brooks – who shares her social media expertise at the same time as teaching us about the lives of burnt-out nurses and baseball moms.
Tiffany Lambert – who unapologetically shares her life experiences along with her marketing wisdom, and has built an amazing and loyal community because she lets people get to know the real her.
I want to be like these women when I grow up!
Why is this so important?
It’s important because we are whole people. I am a whole person. You are a whole person. We are so much more than just our niche, and we deserve to be able to tell our stories on our terms. But even more important, our prospective customers, clients, fans, followers – whatever you want to call them – deserve to know enough about us to know whether they want to do business with us or not.
And it’s not necessarily your product or service that’s going to be the point of connection. It might be that someone reads a post where you mention that you’re diabetic. Or that you spent all weekend running up and down the roads to hockey tournaments. Or that you’re active in rescuing abused and abandoned dogs. None of those things have to do with your business, but they are all points of connection where that random visitor to your site says “Hey, I do that too. I wonder what else we have in common?” And they explore your site, follow you on social media, maybe even opt-in to your list because you have connected. But if you silence those pieces of your voice and only show the world your business voice, you are going to miss out on so much.
Here’s another example that does directly relate to the way I do business. And some people will resonate with it, and others won’t. And that’s okay because I can’t please everyone, and really have no desire to.
I am a very spiritual person. I’m also very intuitive. And I use that intuition when deciding who to work with and what to create for them. So if you were to ask me to do a graphic for you, the first thing I would do is pay attention to how I feel when you make the request. I have learned the hard way what happens when I ignore those feelings, and so they carry a great deal of weight in my decision making process.
If we decide to go ahead with the project, the next step would be for you to tell me what you are looking for, and then I would go away and think about it for a day or two. I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me things like “I like green and blue” or “Just make something pretty.” My intuition and I love challenges like this, and nine times out of ten if the connection is there to begin with, we get pretty darned good results.
All of which is a really long-winded way of saying that when you hire me to create something for you, you get all of me not just the one little part that the market would label “graphic designer” or “writer”. But you wouldn’t know that unless somewhere there existed a mechanism for us to connect over something other than a boring blog post with five reasons why you need a new banner for your blog.
Am I making sense?
You deserve to tell your story your way. You have a unique gift, and you owe it to yourself to share it with the rest of the world. And the world deserves the chance to connect with you and to learn what you have to teach. That’s what reveling in your uniqueness and holistic blogging are really all about.
As I was struggling with how to put this all down on paper, a new connection Robin Pisciotta, pointed me in the direction of a very cool video that sums up the “Your story your way” theme really nicely.
Please do leave your thoughts on this topic in the comments. I’d love to hear what you think of the whole idea of holistic blogging and blogging your voice.
Thanks for being here!