When I was a kid, my dad said I’d never need a microphone if I were ever on TV.
So, maybe I was loud or just, “pathologically enthusiastic” — something that should have been beaten out of me years ago since I’m in the media. 😉
That phrase (and the positive outlook it describes) is one of my trademarks. It was coined by me and a journalist buddy and it’s part of my voice, my personality, the way I look at the world.
It’s also part of my brand, my business and this website.
Your voice = your brand = your business = YOU.
You may not feel comfortable sharing a personal story like that — part of who you really are — on your business website. Maybe you freeze up when you think of blurring the line between the personal and the professional.
Or, you may come from a corporate background and are so accustomed to leaving yourself out of your writing that you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
So, you use your “professional” voice and your personality (along with several leads) leaves the building.
Speak directly to potential clients
You can hear that “professional” voice in About Pages that sound like this: “Mary Jane earned her masters degree at…..”
Mary Jane’s personality just drained right off the page! If you look closely, you can see a little puddle of it at the bottom of the screen. 😉
Mary should be speaking to us directly, not giving an academic summary in the third person. She should be sharing a little of what makes her tick and why she started her business.
And unless it’s relevant to her clients, she should skip the recitation of her credentials. If necessary, they could be placed near the bottom of the page.
Sharing your humanity draws clients to you
When your voice – your personality — doesn’t show up on your website, there is no human presence there to intrigue anyone.
Your company could be a perfect match for someone who visited your site but they may never know it because they didn’t find you there. They didn’t hear your voice – so they left to check out the competition.
Don’t let that happen.
Here are 4 ways to get your personality into your website while remaining professional
1) Keep it conversational
Remember some of the talks you’ve had with clients in person? Imagine you’re speaking to one of them. Just one client.
Address the issues they told you about in a friendly, professional way with your words.
2) Listen to yourself talk
Whether you are dictating web content for your copywriter or writing it yourself, be sure to record your words.
Then, listen to yourself speak them.
This is one of the best ways to see if you’re coming across as yourself. Any false notes will pop up right away.
3) Show your passion for your business on your website
Ask a friend to interview you using the following questions. Record your answers.
- What is your business about, for you?
- Why did you start your business?
- How did you find the courage to become an entrepreneur?
- What challenges have you overcome in building your business?
- What are you most proud of in your business?
- Tell me about a memorable client and the difference you made for them.
- What legacy do you want to leave with your business?
Your responses will reveal the way you really speak as well as your passion for your business – two things your website must show.
See where you can incorporate some of this content into your site. HINT: Try your About Page.
4) Make sure your brand is present in your website
You may be too close to your business to know if the qualities that make your brand unique (i.e. key aspects of your personality) are present in your website.
So, ask four or five friends or business associates whom you trust, to answer this question:
What is the one word (or more than one if you like) that comes to mind when you think of me?
Talk to several people so that you get a decent sample size. You will begin to see similarities in the words and phrases they use to describe you.
Now, read through your company’s website.
Do those qualities come across? Does your business seem like the sort that would be led by the person your friends described?
What personality is coming off the page?
If you’re witty, is there humour on your site? If you are soulful, is that sensibility present?
Do you recognize your own spirit in your website’s pages or does reading your copy make you feel stifled or compromised? Are you trying to sound like someone else?
This is the website for your business so you’ve got to be present in it.
If you’re not, how would you re-write that content so that it sounds more like you? What would you remove? What would you add?
Your website must communicate to clients using your words — your voice.
Whether you do the writing yourself or you hire someone to do it, it’s personal.
And that’s good for business. 😉
How do you make sure your business website reflects your personality while also remaining professional? Share your tips with a comment below.
If you need a hand merging the two, head over here to see how I can help you.
c 2014 Kathy Barthel