October is swiftly passing by, with a cheerful swirl of writing and translation projects on my desk. It’s one of those times of the year again – and my craved-for November detox will be all about prepping for the December madness.
One project definitely stood out. A social media manager got in touch for a copywriting overhaul of her website. On a preliminary Skype call, I asked her a bit more about her needs and desiderata.
– Tell me, Maria, why would you like to change your website copy?
– The text is kinda lame, and bland. I need copy that sounds like me.
– That makes sense. Tell me, how would describe your personality?
– I’m a female Seth Godin.
The screen almost cracked. My brain was in fight mode.
Somehow, I managed to slow it down.
– That won’t do, Maria. We’re trying to find YOUR voice here.
– What’s wrong with that? Think Seth Godin, and tweak it a bit.
A glimmer. I decided to give it a try.
– OK. So, what makes you different from him?
– Well, my blog posts are usually longer. I use tons of examples, and plenty of references to movies and fashion, my passions. Also, my posts are packed with visuals, and my approach is very personal, almost intimate. And …
Fifteen minutes later, Maria wasn’t a female Seth Godin anymore. As her mind stepped away from the role model, she found other ways to define and describe herself. And that was the key to making her voice shine through her new website copy.
Want to find your own voice? Think of yourself as … well, you.
Copycat voices don’t come across as trustworthy. They sound artificial and off-key. To grow your audience and sales, you need content that nurtures relationships. And business relationships are all about trust.
Your website copy. Your tweets and posts. Your emails. To build trust, your tone of voice has to be genuine and personal.
Hence, stop obsessing with sounding like “the new X”.
Embrace being your very own Maria.