I got out my big calendar, sticky notes, colored pens and every ounce of courage I could muster and set a date for every product launch, free training webinar, business trip, mastermind call and important deadline.
That was relatively easy (especially with some music, scented candles and a glass of wine). Then, it came time to create my content calendar.
Now, if you are a client, I would tell you that a content calendar is vital to your online success.
You have to know what you are going to talk about and when, how you are going to promote your products, build your tribe, offer free content, connect with influencers, attract new prospects, grow your list, yada…
Having a well planned content calendar keeps you from staring at a blank screen for hours and prevents the sort of frustration that requires alcohol and/or chocolate to cure.
If consistency is key and content is king, then having a calendar of what you are going to blog about, post about, pin about and tweet about is the door.
So, here I am to admit that I created my content calendar. Filled it with all sorts of great topics on marketing, social media, copywriting, SEO, branding, messaging and that sort of stuff. It was ambitious, but doable. Professional, but personable.
It was impressive. And it gave me the icks.
My intention is to present thoughtful, helpful, educational, informational and maybe even entertaining articles that people will love to read and want to comment on.
Problem is, there are a ton of other people better at these topics than me.
For messaging (with their truly authentic voice) there’s Nisha Moodley, Sarah Jenks, Lisa Fabrega, Danielle LaPorte, Gabrielle Bernstein, Jen Blackstock, Sara Mazenko, Terri Cole, Vasavi Kumar and too many more to list.
For social media, I’d go with Amy Porterfield, Kate Buck Jr, Mari Smith and the dozen or so great blogs that are dedicated to the latest and greatest tips and strategies for making social media work for your business.
So, what in the world do I have to offer? How can I compete? And how in the world can I be expansive, playful, connected, ease and creative (my core desire feelings for 2014) if I am consistently writing blog posts?
See why I freaked out?
Here’s what I came up with (my commitment to you):
- I will share great articles from the amazing people (and others) listed above so you can learn from the very best.
- I will write articles that mean something to me and, hopefully, you. They could be business-related posts or personal posts or thought-provoking posts or anything else I think you might like posts.
- I will post said articles as often as possible. That could be every day. Or every week. Or even once a month. I don’t know yet. I’m still trying to figure that one out.
- I will let you know how this experiment goes. Is it really about consistency or is producing great content that people really want to read enough to create a buzz?
But what I know is that at least this plan doesn’t suck the life out of me and makes my calendar a whole lot more fun to look at.
I have this innate need to hide- always have. So the idea of posting a video of me wildly dancing on my Facebook page seems impossible. And it is.
But that’s exactly what one of the ladies that I love to follow did. I shouldn’t be surprised. She is constantly updating her profile pic and forever posting super close up pictures of herself.
In some cases I am jealous. She is beautiful and clearly very comfortable with herself and her body. I, on the other hand, haven’t managed to get a new headshot in years and still use a selfie from the inside of my car as my professional image (I know, it’s all sorts of wrong).
But I couldn’t help wonder if she was being her authentic self, or crying out for attention and stroking her ego with all of the comments she knew she would get from her friends.
So the question becomes, how do you know if someone is being authentic or if they are being egotistical?
For me, it’s their ick factor. I just couldn’t watch the video she made. It seemed too forced, too personal and private, and too inappropriate to share with the entire Facebook community.
It makes me not want to work with her because now I wonder if she cares about my success or more about showing herself off and promoting how wonderful she is.
Maybe it’s my ego shining through right now, but that’s how I feel. And, as we all know, it’s how we feel that determines what we buy.
* * *
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to be more authentic in my own life and in my own business. It seems so silly. How do you become more authentic? You just be the real you. Ah, if only it were that easy.
In an effort to talk my talk and walk my walk, I feel the need to open up and share what I have been going through over the past few months. But I have hesitated because I don’t want anyone to think less of me.
I mean, marketing is based on the Know, Like and Trust factor, right?
So, would you be less likely to trust me with your own business if you knew how I have struggled to find my own voice, fell completely out of love with my business, spent days on end looking for “real” jobs because I just don’t want to do this anymore?
How about if you knew that I still do marketing tasks that I hate, even while preaching that marketing should feel good and be fun?
It is super scary to be so open and vulnerable while being the person you are supposed to come to for strength, confidence, clarity and consistency.
I’m drawn to inspirational leaders and life coaches who are super raw and very real in their communications and ways of being. They share their struggles, secrets, limiting beliefs, challenges, and shadows as a way to connect with their audience, offer proof that there is a way through the darkness and lead others to a better life.
And that works, for them.
But can that same approach work for a marketing coach or consultant? Can being open and honest with my own struggles make it easier for clients to believe that I can help them grow their own business? Or will I seem incompetent, incapable, unstable, weak, insecure and/or flaky?
Is being vulnerable an authentic marketing strategy or a dangerous position that turns prospects off?
It’s important to note that you should never show your mess while you are in your mess. For your own safety and sanity, really.
But if being honest about how you are feeling and what you went through, and sharing how you made it out of the dark, can benefit others, shouldn’t you tell everyone?
You know those people that are always happy? I mean, annoyingly positive and sweet that you get a toothache after reading their email. Yeah, those people that never, ever have a bad day.
Yeah, I don’t trust those people. I don’t believe them. And frankly, I don’t like them. They seem fake to me (and you know how much I love authenticity).
I like emotions. I like messy. I like pain because I love pleasure. I handle hate because I love love. I accept being different because I crave authenticity.
And I embrace vulnerability because I desire freedom.
In business and in life.