Finding your (authentic) voice, and cutting through the noise
When I first drafted this blog post, I'd written 'finding your voice, and cutting through the crap' as the post title. And then I changed it for something more polite, because my mother taught me not to swear - and this is a business blog, after all. And then I thought: the post where I write about finding your authentic voice is not the place to modify language. Let's talk honestly for a moment about being authentically you in a world where there's an awful lot of noisy nonsense.
Ever felt intimidated by a competitor who just seems to be everywhere? I feel you.
I've certainly spent my fair share of time fretting over a competitor who's so vocal about what they're up to, who they're talking to and how wonderful life is that I wonder how they ever find a spare moment to put in any billable hours. There's a feeling that to have a shot at attracting work, you need to do what they do, say what they say and be in all the same places that they are.
Your real challenge is not to fight against the garb that other companies are spouting - because the chances are that most of the noise is self-gratifying willy-wangling - but to be you.
Remember that clients have choice. They could work with you, or they could work with someone else. But they chose you.
Don't be generic. Often, when I ask a client what makes their business unique, they don't know what to say - they just want to fit in and look industry-appropriate. Be brave. Stand out. Celebrate the fact you're different from the others, and own your space.
Be true to your values. Your audience value your unique approach and the way you tackle projects in a way that no-one else does. That matters. Let your values shine through in every communication that leaves your desk.
Quality, not quantity. Speak from your heart in your blog posts and social media profiles. Better to post one brilliant blog post per week than a tonne of rubbish, simply because you felt the pressure from someone else's hyper-posting.
Practice writing blog posts as though you were writing to a friend. It'll make you much more real.
Authenticity is your trump card. Be the best version of you that you can - not a second rate version of someone else. Your clients are not stupid; they'll recognise authenticity when they see it. And I promise you that being real is so much more engaging than being something you're not.
Over to you - how do you get heard through the noise?