Marketing is no longer exclusively about telling people what you do and how that would benefit them. That is how it used to be, with mile-long sales pages that list all the ways a product or service will change your life.
The same topics reiterated in a dozen different ways to drive the point home that you just can't live without a product or service. And it's the only one that will solve your problem.
That was the content of old and while many marketers and businesses are still using that outdated method, more and more are catching onto the pulling power of storytelling.
Some of the biggest and most powerful stories to tell people are the ones where you are the hero. A hero that is not afraid to reveal her weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
A hero that sees power and connection in sharing her challenges, her fails, her falls and everything that comes along with business and life.
When you share your vulnerabilities with your audience, a few things happen.
They see you as a human being instead of a brand or a business that does XYZ. You become this person who is going through the same challenges in life as they are. That makes you relatable.
It also shows people that it's OK to be imperfect. Imperfection is not something that holds you back and therefore it won't hold them back either.
You earn respect when you are able to wear and take responsibility for the fails in your business, the mistakes you make and your shortcomings.
This is especially important when you are inspired to strive for a leadership role in your community. People need heroes they can look up to and aspire to emulate. Not people who are so out of reach that makes them feel like nothing they will ever do will be enough to attain that level.
Here are some ideas for you to think about including in your content that will show that vulnerability to your audience without making you sound like you have a messianic complex.
Talk about things/causes you're passionate about and encourage your tribe to share.
When you talk about things you have a passion for, people get an insight into your motivation. Your "Why". It also helps them see what you stand for.
When you stand for a cause, for example, it will draw people to you who are passionate about the same or a similar type of causes themselves.
They don't have to be business related.
In fact, when you reveal this about yourself, you are letting people see behind the scenes a little bit.
And everyone wants a behind the scenes peek of people they look up to or look to for support, advice and leadership.
Share harsh lessons you have learnt.
The only thing better than learning a good life lesson yourself is when someone else does the learning for you.
This is where all those inspirational internet memes with quotes come from.
There would be no memes if no one ever learnt anything that they wanted to share with others.
In business, the quicker you learn your lessons, and we all learn lessons, the quicker you can move on to the next challenge.
The quicker you move onto the next challenge, the quicker you grow as a person and as a business.
When you share harsh lessons you have learnt during your journey, it shows your audience that you care about their wellbeing.
You went through something that taught you a valuable lesson and now you want to share it with your people, so they don't have to learn the hard way.
Not only do they get your wisdom on that challenge but also a quicker way to a solution and even an opportunity to avoid it, if possible.
Being willing to share those lessons shows that you care about your community and that you're an inclusive person.
It's also a good opportunity to ask your audience to share their own stories of similar challenges and lessons. This can help you start a discussion around solutions and different experiences.
Talk about the heroes in your life, not just business but personal as well.
Who are the people in your life that you immediately think of when you need support? When you need a lift, inspiration, advice and something to aspire to?
When you share about the people you look up and why you look up to them, you are inviting your followers into that circle.
Again, you're being inclusive.
You're showing your audience that even though you are successful and very good at what you do, you still have someone to aspire to.
It brings wherever you are with your business into the realm of reality for people. It shows that you are human and you don't stake a claim to being the top of the food chain.
You want to remain accessible to your audience and content that tells them about your heroes will do that.
It will also show them a lot about what motivates you and will create that feeling of belonging I talk about so often.
Talk about milestones in your journey and why they are important.
Milestones are something to be celebrated. They can be as big or as small as you like. They can be your first customer signed, your website finally completed, your first blog written.
There is no rule on what a milestone can be for you or for your business.
I have celebrated a few of my own as well, though not as many as I should have.
I realised it too late with many of them, that it's important to stop and pat yourself on the back for even the little things.
When you talk about and celebrate your milestones, your audience will celebrate with you. This sharing makes them feel like they're a part of your extended family.
They also serve as a great reminder to the people who follow you that they need to stop and celebrate their own milestones.
It also gives them something to aspire to. You can actually become their hero!
See my previous point in this blog.
When you share your milestones, you invite your tribe to participate in that celebration with you. It's no wonder that Facebook even made it a special feature on pages.
It's a great engagement generator.
It tells people that you dared to dream and then reach for that dream.
If that's not inspirational, then I don't' know what is!
Share your fears about what you are doing, your business and how you have overcome past fears.
This is the hardest. Sharing your fears makes you feel the most vulnerable.
What if people won't like me anymore?
What if they think I'm incompetent or not good enough?
What if they will use my fear against me?
These are just some of the questions that might come up for you when you read this.
You know what?
Some people will stop liking you.
Some people will think your incompetent or not good enough.
Some might try to use a fear you share against you.
This will happen, no matter what.
Those who are inclined to behave that way will find a reason and a way to project that onto you.
Fears are what make people the most vulnerable. Including your audience.
Your audience have the same fears as you.
They haven't voiced it yet.
They haven't discovered it yet.
They haven't owned it yet.
You have. And that gives them permission to do the same. Maybe publicly, maybe in private to their close friends or maybe only to themselves.
The first step in tackling and moving through any fear is acknowledging it.
When you can inspire someone to do that, they will remember you.
Fearlessness doesn't exist. Forging ahead despite fear and developing your confidence in yourself does.
Share with your followers about your fears and how you have overcome them and you will be building your community based on mutual respect.
You can be vulnerable with your content without sounding like you're looking for sympathy or attention.
You can use storytelling to tap into your own vulnerabilities and share them with your audience.
This sharing will serve and benefit both your audience and you in building a strong community and following around you, your brand and your business.
Not sure how to tackle the "v" word in your content? I can help.
Book in your free discovery call and let's have a chat about building vulnerability into your content in a meaningful way.