Experts need to be in their content, but I’m asked all the time, ‘How do I talk about myself in my content?’ Here’s what holds you back, and what you can do to move past it.
A woman I know, Karen, was recently reviewing her practice. She was looking at everything she needed to take herself to the next level – things like systems, support and marketing. But as she looked at her list, she realised the thing that was really missing from her practice was herself. She was missing from her practice.
Karen exhibited incredible self-awareness and she recognised that she’d been holding herself back from putting herself in her content. And Karen’s story reminded me of how important it is for us to put ourselves into our content.
Why You Must Talk About Yourself in Your Content
Buying Decisions are Emotional
Research shows that buying decisions are 20% logical and 80% emotional. While a study by The New York Times found that emotional articles were shared more often than data-driven ones. And to appeal to our customers’ emotions, we must be real, true and open. That comes from sharing ourselves.
Personalised Content Drives Engagement
A study from HubSpot found that businesses who consistently provide fresh content to their blog see as many as 126% more leads than those companies without a blog. And personalised, story-based content drives that engagement even further.
Most of Us Are Under Communicating with Our Audience
Research from my Expert to Influencer program shows that of the almost 3,000 people who have signed up, 80% are under communicating with their clients. And even once they are creating content, they’re not leveraging that piece of content to its full potential.
As you can see, the first graph shows that most experts aren’t creating enough content. Specifically, they aren’t creating content frequently enough. The next graph shows that even when they are creating content, they aren’t leveraging that content across their platforms. Instead, most only do one or two (or none at all). Finally, the third graph indicates that only 2% of experts have a podcast (one of the best ways to put yourself into your content).
So, what holds you back from talking about yourself in your content? And what strategies can you employ to counteract those things?
What Holds Us Back From Putting Ourselves Out There
We find it uncomfortable to talk about ourselves.
The tall poppy syndrome means that we’re conditioned to feel uneasy talking about ourselves. That can often keep us from putting ourselves into our content.
We lack clarity.
When we’re unsure about what we really want, we struggle to talk about it in our content. Maybe we don’t understand where we want our business to head, what our niche is or who we really service.
We’re unsure about what we want to say.
Many, many of my clients worry about not having anything to say. They say, ‘Everything’s already been said before and I have nothing more to add’.
We’re not sure what people want to hear.
This is another common worry – that we really don’t know what our audience wants to hear. We worry that our content isn’t adding value to our readers’ lives because we don’t understand they types of things that will be valuable.
It takes effort.
Creating content, especially content that includes you and your story, takes effort. It takes time, resources and sometimes a tremendous amount of emotional resilience.
We’re paralysed by the imposter syndrome (the fear of being found out).
Imposter syndrome strikes even the best of us. It niggles into our brains and says, ‘You can’t do it. You’re no good. You’re not an expert’. Feeling like a fraud keeps us from putting ourselves forward into our content, because we’re afraid of having the light shone on us.
We have a fear of being annoying.
Many people worry that their content will come across as annoying. They aren’t sure how often to post, or what to say, that won’t be seen as an imposition into the readers’ lives.
We have a fear of rejection.
At one of our most basic human level, we worry that if we put ourselves into our content, we’re setting ourselves up to be rejected. And no one likes to be rejected.
We’re afraid of what people might think.
We’re afraid of being judged and found lacking. When we open ourselves up, we’re essentially showing our soft underbelly and making ourselves vulnerable to disparagement.
We’re afraid of failing.
Fear of failure is one of the most basic worries. We worry that if we put ourselves into our content, and then don’t make any impact, that we’ll have failed. More importantly, everyone will see that failure.
BONUS: We’re afraid of success.
In a strange twist, we’re also afraid of success. We’re afraid of what being successful might mean for our lives and for the demands on our time. And we’re afraid of what we’ll have to do to keep maintain that success.
Strategies to Counteract the Things That Hold Us Back
Despite all these fears and doubts, and all the things that hold us back from putting ourselves out there, it is essential that we do so. Here are a few strategies to counteract and those things that could be holding you back.
Study the data.
The research all shows that putting yourself in your content is good for your business. It leads to more engagement, more conversions and more success. For example, the data shows that 68% of people spend their time reading about brands that interest them and 80% of people want to learn about a company (or an expert) through custom content.
When you understand the data, you’ll be more motivated to do what it takes to bring that success to your own brand.
Study people and brands you admire.
One woman I know wanted to start a podcast but she didn’t like her voice or her accent. She was afraid of being judged. But what finally pushed her to take the chance was listening to another podcast where the host spoke about using his own fear to motivate himself. She took this on board, and was able to get over her own fear in the process.
The first time you share a part of yourself or your story on social media and in your content is scary and uncomfortable. But the second time, it’s just a little easier. And the third it’s easier still. So, one fantastic way to work past the things that hold you back is to simply take some action. Even if it’s small.
One small step, one small post, one part of one article, might be enough to get you started. And I promise that it will get easier.
‘To be vulnerable – to really put yourself out there, and lean into it – is to live courageously.’ – Brene Brown
I’d love to hear your thoughts….
Jane Anderson is a strategic communications expert, speaker and the author of seven books including the upcoming Catalyst Content. With over 20 years of experience helping people to communicate confidently, she is obsessed with authentic influence and human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. She delivers Content Creation Bootcamps (Virtual and Face to Face), Coaching and Keynotes. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.