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Putting the “You” in “You-seful” Content - The 80/20 Rule

There’s an old writing rule that great authors still follow today: “Show, don’t tell.” In other words, don’t tell your audience that what you’re writing about is funny, scary, or serious. Show them how funny, scary, or serious it really is. The same applies to your online social media content, where you show your customers your value instead of just telling them that you offer value. My clients have heard me talk about the 80/20 rule: 80% of your content should be informational, focusing on business trends, new innovations, and other interesting topics. The remaining 20% can highlight your business products and services. See what I mean? The bulk of your online presence focuses on showing, not telling.

When creating that 80% worth of useful content, I find that many businesses simply provide information without letting their own personalities shine through. And in an online space already crowded with content, standing out is key. Have you ever thought about the tone you’re using in your online content? Certainly the voice you use reflects your brand, but how individual is your tone? Here are some examples of how your tone might be perceived by your audience:

  • Humorous/Informal: Suggests that you have an easygoing, fun nature to go along with your vast professional talents

  • Inspirational/Motivational: Readers might see you as leader or mobilizer of people

  • Formal/Reserved: Gives the perception that you have a calm, serious approach to business

  • Questioning/Challenging: Displays your tendency to challenge traditions and appreciate fresh innovations

  • Compassionate: Your audience will see you as a caring person who truly wants to help others

Of course, whichever tone you use has to be appropriate for your target audience. If you’re a funeral director who likes dark humour, you might want to leave jokes out of your content. You risk appearing unprofessional and turn away customers as a result. Maybe use helpful tips on the grieving process. Also, the tone you use must authentically reflect who you really are. If you’re not a funny person, but are just trying to be funny, you will appear exactly like that: someone just trying to be funny. This isn’t the way to foster trust with your customers. You also run the risk of appearing to purposely misrepresent yourself. Nothing is more disappointing than booking a meeting with someone who had a serious, professional demeanour online, only to have them show up to the meeting late, groomed inappropriately, and having an attitude that’s completely opposite to what you were led to believe. Thousands of online dating horror stories can attest to this! If you’re not sure about how to capture the appropriate tone for your content, you can hire a freelance copywriter to help you. Great copywriters can capture any tone you need, and keep it in line with your brand image and business goals. Any great salesperson will tell you that before you sell a product or service, you have to sell yourself. You can’t look someone in the eyes or shake hands when meeting online, but the tone of your content will speak volumes about who you really are. "Your online platforms act as your 'in-person' networking version of you. Make them consistent! " - Hollie And what’s the biggest upside of showing your personality in your content? You will attract customers who are great matches for your mutual professional expectations. Mic drop!

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