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The importance of being YOU.

In this article, I want to explore why so much of my focus is on bringing personality back into business through content. If you're a service based organisation in particular you should definitely read on.

Throughout our lives we're constantly reminded that we're all unique. We all have different stories to tell, paths to follow, desires and skills. People love us, hate us or are indifferent to us because of our uniqueness, but overwhelmingly we all understand that being unique is a good thing.

Until, that is, we get into the world of business.

For so many decades businesses and brands tried to remove the personal and homogenise the interaction between business and consumer. From the world's biggest brands through to the smallest businesses, adding too much of your own personality was seen as unprofessional.

Today, thankfully, this is changing. Organisations are realising that their staff are real people, and that their customer base appreciates this. Major organisations are lifting the veil, allowing consumers to get to know the people behind the brands they interact with. One great example is Australia Post. We all know that they don't exactly have a great reputation at the moment, but their new social media campaign focused on the people behind the mail deliveries is doing wonders for them. It disarms negativity by reminding people that these are real humans who get their mail into the letterboxes, and seeks to provide a humanised view of an otherwise faceless and poorly understood brand.

Interestingly, this approach probably works even better for small organisations. In small to medium sized businesses the personality of the owners and staff are often the key differentiator. By focusing on this, these businesses can leverage something which is very difficult to advertise, and often referred to as the 'intangible'.

So, how do you become more engaged with your audience on a personal level, whilst still remaining professional?

Here are 5 tips that any business can employ:

Tip 1: Use social media as a community, not just an advertising platform. This is an interesting one, as organic traffic to social sites is becoming harder and harder to achieve, so paid posts are becoming very common. Making sure that you interact with your audience is key - reply to comments and moderate properly. Don't just delete anything that seems slightly negative, consider what you can write to turn it into a positive. Post articles that offer loads of free advice, and consider what your voice is in every post. Finally, make sure you use a mix of organic and boosted content, and never buy likes.

Tip 2: Don't hide your personal life away. So many small to medium businesses try and look more professional by mimicking faceless organisations. Be bold, let people know about your life and what values you represent and let them see the real you. For those in the service industry, this is hugely important. Images on Instagram, articles on your team or introducing the team in an about us page - let your people shine!

Tip 3: Blog about it. Blogs are great. They help with SEO and offer great organic content opportunities. If you're a small business write your own blog as often as you can, or have someone help you to write on your behalf. Focus on personal experiences and let people know who you are. For larger organisations consider having your staff suggest their own ideas for blog content and allow them time to create it.

Tip 4: Videos with people in them do really well. People buy from people, and engaged audiences are better customers. All businesses and brands have one asset in common - people. Whether it's the business owner or other team members, don't shy away from focusing on people for your video content. Conversely, it's important that you don't create boring, 5 minute long, talking head videos. There are creative ways to create stunning videos with your people, so get a great concept going and let your people shine.

Tip 5: Don't use jargon. Jargon has almost no place in marketing. Keep your voice fresh, to the point and consider that most people engaging with your content will turn off as soon as they hear something that sounds like it was meant for the boardroom.

If you'd like help in developing strategies that take the above into account I'd love to help. With close to a decade in the content marketing field and many hundreds of pieces of content produced I can help you create effective content marketing campaigns that get results.