Bloggers always ask me about being more “authentic” online. A word that has been over-used to the point of turning into meaningless blogging jargon. Unless you’re making shit up and writing about things you don’t genuinely care about, you’re already being authentic.
What they really want to know is how can they be vulnerable without feeling nervous about hitting publish every time? How can they be open and share personal things without worrying how it will affect their business? How can they appear put together and smart, while also showing the flaws that make them human?
So first, let’s get past that idea that everyone who comes to your blog should think you’re fantastic and what you’re writing is genius. Some people just aren’t going to be down with you. Some people are going to spend two minutes on your blog and think your totally annoying and they aren’t going to like you no matter that you write about.
And that is FINE. Those are not the people we care about. (Unless you’re totally being a jerk and then maybe you should adjust a few things)
What we do care about are those people who are going to connect with you, all your quirks, all the things you screw up, AND all the things you’re great at.
Sally Hope is one of my favorite bloggers lately. I love that her posts begin with a story – to draw readers in, set the scene, and create a connection – and then flow into the lesson she is trying to share. She posts videos of herself dancing and talks about crying her eyes out.
She shares the good stuff with the bad and therefore, she comes across as authentic. And I’m betting every single vulnerable thing she’s posted has resonated deeply with at least a few readers because they’ve had those experiences too.
Erika Lyremark‘s book is based on the fact that she was a stripper. Don’t tell me that some people aren’t going to stop by her site, see that, and turn right around and leave. I know plenty of women who would say, “Oh hell no!” to their man going to a strip club, but I’m sure a whole lot of women are going to say, “Hell yes!” to her website BECAUSE of it.
What ever experience have shaped you, don’t be afraid to share them. I guarantee more readers will feel connected to you than turned off. And creating a profound connection with a few people is much more valuable, to them and you, than churning out bland informational posts.
So, how do you apply this to your own blog? How open and vulnerable should you be?
You don’t need to go full-tilt into controversial or difficult experiences you’ve had. Try sharing a speed bump you’ve overcome in your life or business and talk about how it made you FEEL and what you LEARNED.
Start your posts like Sally with a sentence or two sharing a piece of your week or how the post idea came to life.
Being authentic for me means sharing how stressful it was working non-stop in the months leading up to my escape or my feelings surrounding selling my house and leaving my friends and family when I moved to San Diego.
I’ve got plenty of personal things I don’t share, but letting readers into my life a little bit allows them to understand me, my motivations for building my business, and what I’m like offline. And it hopefully draws the right people into my circle and allows the rest to walk on by.