Businesses Are People Too
It’s Not Chemistry, it’s Humanity
I saw the greatest thing this week and unfortunately (because what is this week, or time, or seeing?) I can’t recall where. (If you know, please email me so I can attribute the creator.) The headline said: forget B2B and B2C, it’s about H2H. #Micdrop.
Most of you know that B2B is business to business and B2C is business to consumer, but H2H is — you guessed it, human to human. If you’ve been following me for a while, or for a minute, you know that I’m all about talking to your audience as if they’re people (psst: because they are).
Even back in the day when I worked in television marketing and I wrote content to woo potential advertisers, the decision-maker wasn’t Ford the company, it was a person who represented Ford the company. So my copy was always friendly and digestible because I understood that although B2B was the category I played in, H2H was the vehicle I drove to get there.
All Aboard the Humanity Train
I couldn’t be happier with this movement to embrace humanity and write in a more friendly way. For years I’ve been battling those who think friendly means not professional. Wrong! It just means not formal or stiff. There’s no rule that says that authenticity and professionalism are mutually exclusive. It’s utter BS. (You can see me say this in Ilise Benun’s Office Hours last week. Jump to 32:50 in the video. And if you want to attend these sessions, check out her Simplest Marketing Plan which gives you access to these sessions and more. It’s the biggest bargain in town.)
Seeking Professional Swearer
Fun fact: you can even curse and be professional (just check out Gary V...and me!). It’s about understanding your audience and owning your message. The more real you are, the more likely that cursing won’t matter. But if you drop some F-bombs just because you think it sounds cool, that’s inauthentic and therefore could be seen as unprofessional. Not to make this just about cursing because unprofessionalism has so many layers, but I guarantee that if you’re concerned with being unprofessional in your message, you’re likely the last person who has to worry about it. Your concern instantly means you’re thoughtful, caring and considerate about what you say, and there’s nothing unprofessional about that.
Being Human is Hard
The more I talk about Personality Brand and creating a Kick-Ass About Page, the more I realize that being human is really hard for a lot of people when it comes to their message or their work. I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me their writing comes across as stiff, but they’re so funny in person. Or they try to write about themselves but they end up being so generic. I assure you, you’re not alone. Not by a long shot.
It’s like Science
But why? Why is being ourselves easy but writing about ourselves so effing hard?! For most people it goes back to people pleasing and not wanting to alienate anyone. Humans are hard-wired for connection. We WANT people to like us. It’s literally in our DNA. Without connection we can’t survive as a species. Even when people say “I don’t care what people think about me,” they still want some people to like them. No one wants to be hated. Myself included.
Express Ticket to Brag Town
Writing about ourselves is hard because it also means bragging about ourselves. In order to write a compelling bio, you need to know what you do well and be willing to talk about it. Nay, not talk about it, f%&king yell that s%&t from the rooftop! Men are typically more comfortable with this than women, but even for them it can be hard to make the connection. Because it’s not just ‘I’m awesome’. It’s ‘I’m awesome at doing this for these kinds of people and here’s why’.
Making the Connection
And while we all do things well, most of us take those things for granted. We don’t realize that always being insanely punctual is a trait an employer might want. Or having an ability to understand two sides of an argument and create a solution. Or being extremely detail-oriented. We might take these things for granted because we’re so good at them we don’t even think about it. But I guarantee you that those are the very things potential clients, customers and employers want to know. Those are the things that make you different (that and your passions, hobbies, favorite color, etc). And those are the things that address your audience’s pain points!
They need someone to keep them accountable to time. They need a manager who can listen to both sides and find a solution. They need someone who isn’t going to turn in work with typos or missing pages. Those things are gigantically important in distinguishing you from the rest of the pack. Because those are the human things that organizations need and customers crave. Help them feel assured that their needs will get met. That’s really what we all want. Someone who will take care of the things we can’t, don’t want to and don’t have time for.
Working With Me is Like...
All of this comes back to demonstrating in your message what it will be like for a client to work with you, or what a customer can expect if they buy from you, or what an employer will get if they hire you. Your bio or content isn’t just a litany of words about you, it’s about you in a way that serves the needs of your audience. End. Of. Story. And the more human that content is, the more it will attract, the more it will resonate and the more it will connect. So go out there and be you. The real you. I guarantee the world will thank you for it (and want to work with you).