When I began freelancing full time eleven years ago, it wasn’t cool to be different. I struggled with that, because I tend to be an upstart when it comes to communication.
The quirkiness of my personal brand helped me sometimes, but I made myself create a website and client communications that conformed with what people expected from a professional copywriter. Back then, what they expected was a professional writer who did not stray into the unknown. They were more comfortable with a conforming brand.
It is still important to give people what they expect, but changes in the marketing world have made quirkiness more acceptable–even desired.
I’m not saying I’m out there as far as people like crazyman John Carlton: http://pi4mm.com/pi4mm19-pt1-wrath-of-trickster-god/#more-815. He makes his crazy personal brand work and is considered one of today’s most successful copywriters by some standards. But I no longer have to worry so much that even my blog entries are a little too filled with personality.
The world is filled with social media marketing messages, educational marketing information to the tune of thousands of words a day that we all see, just by hanging out and living life. People are saying readers have to sort out anything that is meaningless to them, so they are drawn to a little quirkiness, as well as to people who are like them and believe in the things they believe in.
People now care about authenticity and personality more than ever. I think that’s a good thing, not only for marketing, but for our souls — and our collective soul.
On the other hand, with a few years of experience under my belt, I now realize I probably didn’t have to worry so much all those years. In fact, worrying about it probably was a hindrance to my ability to believe in my own work and press ahead with confidence and joy in my career.
I believe I do good work. But I’m always second guessing myself, and like many creative people I’ve spent some agonizing hours trying to figure out if it’s okay to be me. I’ve learned it’s not just okay to be myself, it’s critical, because it makes my writing better and perhaps most importantly, it makes my writing more authentic and sincere. And sincerity, as we know, is critical in marketing. (“Sincerity is everything. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.) Right!?
One word of warning: don’t confuse the right to be yourself with the right to write sloppily. All the basics of communication and marketing are still important. Be professional in your quirkiness.
Whether you are copywriter or a business owner/marketer who is doing your own writing, my advice to you today is to be yourself. Let a little quirkiness show and people will respect you for it.