Myths of authenticity

And some things you should think about before baring the real you

No fakery is pretty much my ethos.

I’ll never pretend to be making mega-money when I’m not, I don’t pretend to have it all figured out, I just don’t pretend. I don’t do fakery.

But I’m not fully bought into this ‘authentic’ mantra either, because I see some ugly gaping flaws in this approach.

Myth #1 Show your readers the real you

There’s no one real version of me. Like a sparkling diamond, or a good-quality hair dye, I’m multifaceted. There are different sides to me, light and dark, fun and serious, caring and callous, that make up my perfectly imperfect personality.

The Laura-From-Worditude that co-presented a webinar on Monday night, was not the same Laura-The-Mum who quietly sobbed in her room 24 hours later, after dealing with a two-hour Aspie meltdown from her son.

If I drew a pie chart reflecting all my many personality traits and what percentage of me they make up, it’d be more colourful than a rainbow in a food mixer. I’m not meticulously recreating those proportions in all my online communications so that I may project a fair and balanced representation of my ‘authentic self’.

Like a good Instagrammer, I’m offering only the edited highlights, with an occasional low-light for contrast.

Myth #2 Ask yourself would you feel awkward reading this to your mum/bestie?

I wrote this post about testimonials. I am irritatingly proud of it. It sounds like me. It sounds like me when my house is empty, I’m in the mood to write, I’m on my third cup of tea, and everything just flows. It sounds like me, being my best self.

Would it feel awkward to read that out to my Mum or my best friend? YES! I don’t talk to them about this business stuff. I wouldn’t use the word ‘solopreneur’ in light conversation.

If you are writing for your mum/best friend, then sure, you should worry about how it would sound if you read it out to them.

If you are writing for a client, you need to ask yourself a different question.

If a prospective client read this blog/email/web copy, then immediately jumped on a Skype call with me, would they know they were speaking with the same person?

Myth #3 Be conversational

Later today my friend is coming over for a coffee and we’ll enjoy some conversation. I’ll ask how her pregnancy is going. Beyond this I don’t know what we will be talking about, because it will be a conversation, and conversations go wherever they go as we exchange news, gossip, stories and ideas. Conversations don’t have an agenda.

When you write blogs, emails, web copy or any time you interact online you have an agenda – be honest with yourself about that, and set a goal for every piece of content you create.

You can keep the tone conversational without losing direction.

Authenticity isn’t something you do

It’s what happens when you make a commitment to stop pretending, avoid fakery, and get real.

Where is your line between being honest, open and authentic; and being downright irrelevant or embarrassing?

Laura Robinson

Laura Robinson

Copywriting & Content Strategy

With an Award in Direct & Digital Marketing under her belt, Laura uses her knowledge and skills to help small business owners create customer relationships using the words on their website and blog.

1 Comment

  1. Jessica

    Excellent take on the ‘authenticity’ bug that’s going around Cat. Makes me realise that I am fully authentic in my approach to business after all!

    Reply

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