I recently was introduced to a seasoned marketing consultant and we started a discussion about many of the changes that have taken place in marketing over the last few years.
Off course correction.
He shared that he had a current engagement with a client where he was retained to help define and clarify the value that his client was offering to non-profits. He was planning to recommend some revisions to the content on his client’s website. But what caught me off guard in our conversation was that he said he was not sure that his client needed a blog.
Really? Why on earth would you not have a blog integrated into any organization’s website?
A blog provides so much value and opportunity for virtually any company, brand or individual. But more importantly, a blog provides the platform for an online voice. Yes, a voice.
Who needs a voice?
You might think that you or your brand has one. And you might even hear it in your mind or when you talk to prospects and customers on the phone or in person. But I would argue that without a blog, no one will ever hear you online. And that is the defining place that matters today in marketing. Everything else pales in comparison.
Your tweets on Twitter and your posts on Facebook may provide minor reflections of you or your organization. But if the content on those social channels is not directing the communities that you’ve developed back to your blog for a deeper disclosure of ideas, content, discussion and media that is unique to you, what exactly is the point of participating in those social activities?
A voice starts here.
Developing and presenting a voice online necessitates a structured value proposition and brand positioning process. The objective is to invest the resources, time and effort to develop a relevant and compelling summary of:
- the value that you offer and what you stand for
- how you’re different
- the support for why prospects should consider what you offer over others
The outcome of doing this properly with a qualified resource will provide you with a specific target benefit that can be “owned” in your marketplace. The result becomes a foundation for all communications messaging including: online, traditional, and social.
Without agreement and alignment on this essential marketing foundation, it’s virtually impossible to have a credible or enduring voice online.
Your voice should be authentic and unique to you with a personality that reflects what you want to be known for. So having something to say and saying it with conviction and consistency is no longer optional.
A voice of reason.
In a recent presentation which I attended, author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Jonathan Fields, shared some insightful views on what’s required to not only find your online voice but also fuel creativity, innovation and new ideas in his book titled Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance.
He recommends that you need to go out on a limb. His premise is originality and great work requires action and decisions in the face of risk and loss. Be forewarned. This path can make you recoil, become paralyzed or move as fast as possible to get it over with.
To successfully manifest the voice in your head and turn it into reality, you need to have skin in the game with the risk of loss. Emotional, reputation, financial or all of the above. And creating your online voice by default creates exposure to judgement because everyone on the Internet can see and hear what you develop—anytime, anywhere, instantly. The result is an uncertain outcome with exposure to judgment by others.
Embrace the uncertainty without falling apart.
So how do you embrace this kind of uncertainty, risk and exposure?
1. Take tiny steps.
Think about what’s the smallest thing you can put out there to get real time feedback on what works or what’s not successful. A small post. A blog comment. Or an updated profile. The smaller the better.
2. Chunk and iterate.
Because of technology, you can now bring many into the process with fast iteration, agile development methods and instantaneous feedback. Think about how you can include your social community to give you feedback or suggestions. Their actions or inactions will tell you a lot about where to focus or change.
3. Have regular review and accountability.
Present your voice to others by putting yourself out there with the content on your blog. You’ll get feedback. Even if all that you hear is silence, you can make adjustments based on the comments, feedback or sharing that follows. The act of this process changes the social psychology to a normalizing experience because suddenly people become less critical and more supportive and constructive in their feedback.
Make no mistake, finding your voice and taking action to express it online in the face of uncertainty is now mandatory. And the good news is that suffering is optional.
As you create your voice, build in some of these mindful practices that are proven to fuel creativity, innovation and authenticity. And most important of all, own your world by being the author of the unique voice that is you.
What have you found useful in creating and finding the online voice that is you?
Looking forward to hear what you have to say.