First impressions are always important in business.
I've recently heard a couple of presentations from people who have discussed personal appearance and even what colour you should be wearing to attract more clients. Apparently, it's an essential part of any person's business approach.
I personally hope that people will judge me more on my track record, the qualifications I have and the career I have spent more than 10 years building than how I look, but that's just me.
From a PR point of view they do have a point, which is why high-profile people have stylists and personal shoppers.
However, as someone who admires people for their individuality, I've been contemplating if and how I judge people and as a writer and journalist, I have to admit, I do and it comes back to the written word.
This is where I'm probably going to shoot myself in the foot, but here are my tips for creating an authentic written brand.
Check your spelling and grammar
People are just as likely to judge you on your written word as they are your general appearance. You've probably witnessed on Facebook, when someone makes a spelling or grammatical error (especially a media outlet), everyone jumps in to correct them. It has an educational benefit, but usually it's just people being mean. I admit it, I've done it myself...but I do try and make my response lighthearted when I do. After all, we're only humans and we have feelings. Even journalists.
It's the same for your business. If you aren't confident with the English language (or whichever language you're using-I only specialise in one), then I would wholeheartedly suggest you work with a professional copywriter on your website, social media and blog. You want to be known for your expertise in your field, not for your grammatical slurs.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, social media has to come from you. If you have a written style and voice, then stick to them to give your brand some consistency. You may have noticed that I write quite informally on my blog and try to adopt a conversational tone. When writing a news article, my style is completely different. I want my blog to reflect who I am as a person, my professional views and give a sense of what it's like to sit and have a chat with me.
Watch your tongue
Unless swear words are very much a part of your brand (think Gordon Ramsey) then try to be as inoffensive as you can be. Don't put your audience off by using professional jargon and if you need to, make sure you explain it because even though you might use it regularly, your clients might not (that's why they need your help).
Don't be afraid to ask for help
If you have something you want to say but aren't sure of how to say it, ask for help. Your messages are vital to driving your business and your brand forward and sometimes it really helps to chat them through with someone. I have to do it myself... it's always helpful to have a second opinion or the opinion of someone who isn't invested in your business.
If you're a sole-trader like me, find a business buddy-someone who's the in same field as you who you can chat to over a cuppa. Or hire a professional. I'm always available for Skype, phone or email chats. Please do get in touch.