If you’re writing for your business, how much of yourself should you include? Everyone agrees that blogs are a place to have a conversation. How personal should you be? How do you keep the YOU in Business Blogging and still make it work for business?
There’s an ongoing trend to be personal with business communications. Rohit Bhargava’s written a whole book about it, filled with examples of how companies are successfully using personalities to market their business products and services: Personality Not Included.
I get updates from a professional who writes about arguments with her husband. I can’t help myself, I’m drawn into reading the damn things. And sure, she’s promoting a program…And there’s only a loose tie between the story, the husband, and the program she’s promoting!
But she tells the story so well, you don’t care! I can’t stop myself from reading her blog and newsletters. Why? As a psychologist, I can tell you why:
We’re hard wired to connect with others, especially about family stories, and we all relate to each others’ predicaments.
So, the dilemma remains: how do you do this successfully without embarrassing yourself – or worse – incurring the wrath of a family member?
Here are 5 tips I recommend you follow when sharing personal stories with your business readers.
- Decide ahead of time what you feel comfortable sharing, and what remains locked in the box. (I’ll easily share about my tennis, my kitties, and our home in Mexico, but arguments with the Hubby – no!)
- Share a few details, enough to make it real. Don’t go overboard. Details make it real and make it easy for readers to identify and connect.
- Tie it into some lesson you learned, and what you would do differently next time. Admitting a mistake or doubt is something all people can relate to.
- Bring your readers into the story by asking them what they would do, or if they’ve had similar experiences.
- If the story is emotional for you, save it as a draft, then sleep on it before you publish. You’ll find that with a bit of distance, you can usually edit out half the details; you’ll be clearer and more comfortable.
Including your personality in business communications doesn’t mean you have to get overly personal. Au contraire. You can write about your experiences at a trade conference for that matter.
Readers want to know you as a real human being, with feelings, thoughts and foibles. Put more of “you” in what you write about. As most of us can agree, nobody cares what you had for breakfast. But it’s nice to get to know something about a blog author you spend time reading.
For more tips on story telling, check out this blog post (and webinar) I did last April where I share tips on communicating your back story (the free transcript and other tools are still available here).
Excuse me now, I’ve got to go feed Huey, Dewey and the Hubby!