Friday, August 22, 2008

Find Your Voice

"When you think of the Internet, don't think of Mack trucks full of widgets
destined for distributorships, whizzing by countless billboards.

Think of a table for two."
-Doc Searles, The Cluetrain Manifesto.

One of the toughest things (in my humble opinion) about succeeding online is BEING REAL. Why? Most of us have spent the bulk of our careers perfecting the art of "corporate speak."
  • Don't be passionate.
  • Don't be spontaneous.
  • DON'T SAY ANY THING that hasn't been approved by PR.
  • In short, don't be real.
We've let the natural tenure, tone, and passion of our voices erode.

This is a serious problem because talking like an organization is BORING at best and PATRONIZING at worst. There's simply no life to "corporate speak." No love.

If you want to succeed on the Web, and by this I mean, if you want people to
  • read your stuff
  • visit your website
  • "tell a friend"
  • "donate now"
  • etc.
You've got to find your voice - again.
You've got to BE REAL.

Like Doc Searles says, the Internet IS A HUGE INTERSTATE. There's so much stuff out here, it's AMAZING! At the same time - at it's core - it's still a one-to-one medium. Think about it. You e-mail me. I e-mail you. I do a blog post. You comment. You "friend" me. I chat back.

The Point: Talk online just the way you would with you next door neighbor. No jargon-filled messaging. No over-my-head euphemisms. Just regular, righteous, real-time SPEAK!

If you need help finding your voice, answer the questions below. I also ENCOURAGE you to to read Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word of Mouth Marketing, by Lois Kelly. She's got some great tips on being interesting and finding your unique point of view.

1. What do you LOVE about your job?
2. What do you HATE about your job?
3. What is your organization's greatest failure/success?
4. What is the biggest misperception people have about your cause?
5. What does everyone need to know now about your issue?