This post is for small businesses and brands with BIG voices and extreme gumption (a word used in one of my favorite moves, The Holiday). I’m talking to the ones who say what most people are thinking but never have the nerve to vocalize. Is that you? Keep reading because today I’m diving into how to masterfully reel in your ideal clients without compromising one drop of your authenticity.
Stay true to yourself.
That’s one piece of advice we hear all the time. But sometimes, it’s easier said than done. And in the corporate-focused world we live in, it can be challenging to keep your authenticity intact. We’re often told that to be “professional,” we must conform to specific standards. You know what I mean…
Sit up straight.
Use appropriate language.
Wear a power suit (nothing too colorful so people can take you seriously).
<deep sigh and hard eyeroll>
I often think about how I show up in the world and present myself as the CEO and Lead Brand Copywriter of Kopy Fresh. I question if my messaging comes across too opinionated, sassy, or perhaps, casual.
It makes me wonder…do other entrepreneurs and small business owners feel the same? Is there a fear of being and doing too much?
This leads me to the question informing this post:
How can you master the art of BOLDNESS without appearing offensive or aggressive?
I learned a hard lesson when I launched Kopy Fresh. My introduction to the online space was inundated with “safe” posts that most expected of me as a new copywriter. Check below for one of my first:
Though my brand personality was minimally present, I wanted to express my perspective more profoundly. I refrained from “doing too much,” as I recalled my English studies, sales and marketing training in education, and the strict compliance approach from my HR career.
But that didn’t sit well with me.
I was afraid if I strayed away from my deeply-rooted brand voice (you know, the black, laid-back girl who uses lots of isms and lingo), I would become a puppet, falling in line with the status quo.
So, I smartened up and clarified my role as a non-conventional word whisperer with something to say. My goal continues to be to change the lame narrative that copywriting has to be “formal” or “structured” in its delivery. I'm proud to say I'm still empowering businesses and brands to carve out a unique online space by cultivating their authentic voices.
And the undeniable truth is that content has evolved. Hop on LinkedIn, and you’ll see CEOs, directors, executives, entrepreneurs, college students, and retirees sharing and commenting on what most would classify as “unprofessional” topics that thrive on more casual platforms like IG or TikTok.
No longer is it taboo to be transparent about your personal and professional lives while stifling your genuine POV.
Take it from me — you don’t have to sacrifice your voice to conform to traditional business standards. And if you’re struggling to share your inner BOLDNESS without coming off as brash or too aggressive, keep reading to learn how to stay true to yourself (and the people who rock with you) without compromise or conformity.
✨Invite your audience into your world.
Who doesn’t love “A Day in the Life” or BTS content? I’ll admit that I enjoy hanging out with my favorite YouTubers when they merely tackle daily activities — most of which I do at home. There’s nothing special about what they’re doing, but it’s the fact that they’re opening the door to their lives and inviting me to take a front-row seat.
So, open up about your experiences as an entrepreneur; discuss the highs and lows freely. You would be surprised how many people stifle their voices to fit a certain mold and attract a specific audience. Take that as an opportunity to discuss how you became the outspoken brand or business you are today. Speaking your truth gives others the permission (and courage) to do the same. Openly expressing yourself also differentiates and humanizes your brand, which is highly attractive in a world of robots.
✨Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Most of us come to social media for a reprieve. We step away from the regular cadence of our days and indulge in other people’s lives for a bit. I don’t know about you, but I need a good laugh throughout the day. That’s why incorporating some humor into your content is a logical move. Not only is this type of content fun to make, but it also shows you don’t take yourself too seriously! The best part is you won’t have to sacrifice your message or morals to do it. Humor through gifs and memes is a natural magnet to attract a more diverse audience.
✨Share your voice. Often.
It’s one thing to express yourself, but it’s even more gratifying to elevate that expression with two “e” words: Evidence and Elaboration. Audacious businesses and brands benefit from sharing why they believe what they believe. It’s a must to support your views and offer insight to bolster your credibility (and likeability) as the BOLD brand/business that you are.
✨Be open and responsive to feedback.
Bold businesses and brands don’t shy away from confrontation or controversy. Instead, they address things head-on, listen, and respect other opinions. Being fearless doesn’t come without its share of blowback. Be prepared to answer complex questions and be open to new ways to view things. The ideal way to do that is by sharing video content and allowing people to hear you speak so nothing is taken out of context. Also, take advantage of social media by going live or guest speaking on other platforms so people get to know YOU...for real.
Friend, the fine line between bold and brash is hella slim, and we don't have time for mean girl/mean guy vibes.
If you say something that comes across as offensive to some, acknowledge it and allow yourself to learn from the experience. That doesn't mean you have to ditch the "I said what I said" energy! The most honorable thing to do is show your sincerity and set good intentions.
The best advice I can give as an entrepreneur and a human being finding her way is to be unapologetically yourself. Whether you realize it or not, people don't want the smoke and mirrors; they want a genuine connection. And what better way to offer that than by presenting yourself, your story, and what you bring to the table as only you can?
If you’re struggling to translate your BOLDNESS into relatable messaging that reflects who you are at the core, you’re in the right place! Take the “What’s Your Brand’s Perfect Persona” quiz to discover which of the five distinct personas aligns best with your brand. My guess is you'll likely identify with the Outlier persona. Ready for your results?