Absorbed. Connected. Engaged.
These are three things we all want our audience to feel when they read our website.
And the way to allow them to feel all of this? It comes down to your brand personality: the words you use, the images you share and the colours that tie it all together.
But what if, when it comes to personality, your website just… falls short?
Read on. Here, I’ll go into the detail of pinpointing exactly what your brand personality is, and how to use it effectively to attract, engage and connect.
1. Know your audience
Your brand will stand for nothing if it doesn’t connect with your audience.
Which is why it’s important to understand who they are, so you can tailor your messaging to them specifically.
Here’s an exercise that’ll help you understand them:
- Look at all the interactions you have with your audience: blog post comments, emails, social media interactions, call notes, etc.
- Go to sites your audience engages with that you might not (think forums like reddit.com, news sites, other sites in your niche) and make a list of the questions they ask, advice they want, struggles they detail.
- Write down what personality traits you notice, their profession, demographics, etc.
To organize your findings, create a spreadsheet with the following headings and copy and paste the relevant text you found in the steps above into each section:
- Problem/Struggles - What specific issues are they writing about? (for example, I don’t know how to start a Facebook group; Creating a header for my website’s a nightmare! or I have too many business ideas and don’t know which one to choose!)
- Desired solutions - Note those sentences that start with phrases like: I want help with …, I really want someone to…, I wish I could…
- Service or post ideas - Using the text in the above two sections, write all the ideas you now have for services you could offer, or posts you could write, that help solve the problems your audience is struggling with.
- Demographic - In this section, write any details you find about their personalities/lives - age, location, cultural interests - anything that helps you define which demographic categories the majority of your audience falls into.
For your copy, the table you populated above is a goldmine of ideas. What patterns do you notice in the kinds of struggles they discuss? What pain points have you identified that you can you address as part of headlines, opening lines or sales copy? Also, what ideas do you have for blog posts, services and products as a result?
2. Simplify the complex
Your personality is yours and yours alone, but it’s never simple. With a personality (and history) that’s complex, how do you simplify this down to core messages that represent your brand and resonate with your target audience you’ve worked so hard to get to know?
The key to brand consistency is to repeat certain, relevant messages, so they stick in the minds of your audience and become associated with you and your brand.
You don’t have to share every detail. To figure out which parts of your personality are significant to share (and worthy of repetition), answer these questions:
- What life experiences connect you with others? What difficulties have you experienced, and what risks have you taken (or not taken)?
- What are your beliefs? What do you stand for?
- What are your cultural influences?
Decide which stories/anecdotes are part of your bigger message, and most significant to the audience you most want to connect with. Start including these in your marketing messages.
From there, pinpoint your brand vocabulary down even further by paying attention to the words you use in your everyday communication. Try this exercise:
Keep a notebook (or app like Evernote) with you for a week and notice the words you use. Which ones do you use repeatedly? Which ones feel satisfying to say?
Jot these down.
Next, take a page on your website, or a blog post you’ve written, and edit it with the words and stories you noted. Slowly edit your work over time, and infuse your brand vocabulary into new work you create. Over time, with enough repetition of these words, your brand personality will start to shine.
Here are some examples where personality branding with consistent messaging and vocabulary works swimmingly:
Ashley Ambirge: Talks about life in Costa Rica and her experiences as an entrepreneur with a sarcastic and ever-entertaining tone. This connects her to her audience who are entrepreneurs (or aspiring to be) that enjoy the freedom that travel brings and the snarkiness of someone who tells it like it is. Her consistent message: smart businesses don’t do boring.
Danielle LaPorte: Her social media and blog updates consistently mention her spiritual side, her dog and her son. Is it a coincidence that her audience have these things in common with her? I think not. Her consistent message: it all gets back to desire.
Ramit Sethi: His audience largely consists of 20-30 year old men, so Ramit references his college scholarship applications, the bi-coastal life he lives and the fun he’s having in New York. His audience both relates to his past and wants his present to be their future. His consistent message: I will teach you to be rich.
How will you use the significant pieces of who you are to build consistency in your messaging and connect with your tribe? (Editor’s note: All three of these examples ended up on our 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs list for a reason!)
3. Try something different
If writing isn’t your thing, find what medium is.
Whether it’s videos, podcasting, infographics, photos – find something that both you and your audience are comfortable with, that genuinely reflects your personality.
To discover which medium works best for your business, try these ideas:
- Are you confident on camera? Rather than writing your blog posts, or having a PDF download for a teaching document, record videos instead. Don’t worry about “wowing” with technology in the beginning - get some videos out there and see how your audience reacts.
- Do you interview experts as part of your business? Record the interviews and offer replays using voice alone - but don’t hesitate to offer the transcript for those who prefer to read.
- Change text documents to infographics to appeal to visual learners.
What other interests do you have that you can bring into your business? For example, if you’re into photography but your business is unrelated, use your own photographs with text overlays as images on your site. It beats paying for them, amIright?
Being creative takes the limits away from how you present your material.
Branding takes less investment than you may think...
We often look at personality-driven brands and assume some huge branding exercise went into creating the brand we see today. While that is, indeed, sometimes the case, to create a brand around your personality doesn’t always require that level of investment. In fact, what the owners of brands like Ash Ambirge, Danielle LaPorte, and Ramit Sethi have done is decided to use their unique selling point - themselves - to differentiate their brands in the market.
In turn? This has meant their audience is always absorbed, connected and engaged.
Now, I’m curious: What aspects of your personality do you infuse in your writing to attract the kind of audience you most want to engage? Tell me below.