Finding your voice in online marketing is something that many new and even experience bloggers face. For business owners this seems even more difficult, with the additional challenge of differentiating between your personal life and the voice of your company.
Here is my advice on finding your voice in online marketing:
1. Be Honest
First, take an honest approach to representing yourself and your company online. Be yourself, not someone you think you should be. Be human, especially when it comes to social media networks, even if you are representing a company brand. It has been suggested, and I have to agree, that people want to deal with people, not corporations. Of course, use your best judgment and find a voice that makes you and your audience most comfortable.
2. Practice & Keep it Private (at first)
Second, practice various approaches until you find your own style and format. Do you feel more comfortable blogging, shooting a video, or narrating a podcast? There is no need to tackle all three, unless of course that works for you. If you are nervous at first, try writing a few blog posts or shooting a video and saving it as a draft. If you do this everyday for 30 days you will not only find out what is best, but you will also get a lot better at it.
3. Add Variety
Third, mix things up to build trust, credibility and rapport. On Twitter for example, I recommend you balance 1) tweets about yourself or something more on the personal side; 2) tweets about your company, your products and services, and your employees; and 3) tweets about others and news in your industry. This balance shares your human side, promotes your business, and illustrates your market leadership. Do only one of these three and you are it might be an uphill battle.
4. Give First & You Shall Receive
Fourth, connect with others by giving first with no expectation to get anything in return. Many companies approach the Internet and social media with a sell, sell, sell mentality. “Buy this now!” Is that what you would say at a party or company event when you meet prospects for the first time? Maybe so, but it will not fly online. Sure you can be aggressive, but I recommend a certain level of tact when it comes to earning others’ trust. If you offer true value, they will respond when you present them with a valuable offer.
5. Do Not Give Up
Finally, do not give up. You might write 100 blog posts or shoot 25 videos only to find that nobody is listening. Marketing online takes time and unless you have loads of cash to invest in online advertising, chances are you will end up spinning your wheels for a while until you find your groove and something catches on. Stay focused on your expertise and passion to maintain your enthusiasm and momentum. And, of course, map out your goals and objectives for marketing online. Too often, folks just jump in without a goal in mind. Do not fall into this trap.
6. Ask Your Customers for Feedback
Once you have found your voice online and a format that fits, do a periodic gut check. Hopefully you have a social network or group of subscribers you can ask for feedback. Is you message resonating with them? Do they find the format compelling? A quick email, tweet, or poll can help uncover any shortcomings and take your online presence to the next level.
P.S. – after writing this post, I found this article from 1999, Find Your Voice … not much as changed.
How do you feel? Have you found your voice online yet? What has worked for you?