If you came here expecting some long informative post that you’re used to seeing on here, this isn’t one of them. If this upsets you, click the back button. If you can handle that, read on.
I have noticed an ever increasing trend both in my business life and my personal life of people feeling as if they must do things by the book. They are afraid to do what they believe is right, because other people have not confirmed their ideas. They are afraid to take chances or do things differently.
Quite frankly, that hurts everybody. The business owner, because you get none of the rewards that come with taking risks, and for your visitors as well, because you’re probably boring like the vast majority of people are.
We can talk all day about how to get people to like you, trust you, whatever. But none of that is important if they don’t even remember who you are.
Get People To Connect With You
I work harder on getting people to connect with me than getting them to connect with my content.
Because of that, I truly enjoy going off on these random, only-vaguely-related-to-blogging rants because I get to truly show myself in them.
After all, there are only so many ways you can say pieces of information like “write for your readers, not for search engines” or “content is king, didn’t you know?”
I hate repeating information over and over and over again, which is why when I do write informative, helpful posts I try to make them as good as I possibly can. Heck, my post last week on building an online media empire was nearly 3000 words – but I won’t have to write about that topic again. Ever. Until I decide to update it, anyway.
Remember that opinions are unique because everybody’s opinions are different, and they are always changing. More importantly, opinions are easier to connect with. You are far more likely to make friends talking about their interests rather than a concrete subject like the economy or the stock market.
Another thing worth mentioning is that when people connect with you rather than your content, you can take those people with you anywhere and they will like you just as much for it. If you closed down your website tomorrow but had a way to keep in contact with the people that like you, you’d be able to reopen anywhere and still have an audience. That’s pretty cool.
The key is to find the balance between your business and you when it comes to content you publish. On one hand, your business should still be able to be successful even if you had someone else manage it completely. On the other, you won’t retain an audience very well if your content sounds like a robot is speaking it.
Quit Sucking Up To Other People
I touched on this point in a brilliant post I wrote a while back called, “You Can’t Please Everybody, So Be Yourself (And Quit Sucking Up!)”
Unfortunately, a single blog post can only reach so many people. The reality is that everybody is going to do what they believe to be the best choice for them, and in many instances this involves sucking up to others.
This hurts more than it helps, and it upsets me greatly.
As mentioned earlier, you have opinions.
Hopefully these opinions are truly yours, and have not been formed by someone else.
The problem I see today is that most people are afraid to have opinions that differ from somebody else’s. Even worse, their opinions are so light and delicate that they will change them completely if they want to make friends with or impress somebody they deem to be more important than them.
You need to hold strong opinions if you want to be able to ever truly connect with somebody. Agreeing with everyone gets you nowhere and makes you look dishonest.
I believe that if you’re not making somebody mad, you don’t have strong enough opinions.
This is another case where you need to focus on appealing to the right person, the type of person that will connect with you, like you, and stick around wherever you may go.
Case In Point
A few weeks ago, something interesting happened.
I was browsing Triberr, looking over posts that I’d like to schedule to share out on Twitter throughout the week.
I clicked on one from someone I knew that seemed really interesting, looking forward to hear what was going to be said.
Only one problem – when I landed on the page, I was greeted by a 404. The blog post had been removed.
I went back on Triberr and saw the post again in another tribe I was a part of. Someone had commented that they found the post offensive, and with no argument whatsoever the original poster removed it and apologized.
If you’re like me, you’d be shaking your head and thinking “…what?”
Hours of work spent writing what was probably a great piece of content and you remove it because somebody found it offensive?
Didn’t they know it’s “in style” now to be offended by anything and everything?
Then again, I guess he was only following the same rules many other major companies have been following, such as Target pulling GTA V off the shelves for “promoting violence against women” and PayPal cutting off funding from every company they don’t agree with.
Criticism Is Usually Good
If you’re writing personal or opinion pieces, criticism is a great thing.
In fact, you should welcome it with open arms.
I do. I sincerely hope somebody rants at me about how I’m a horrible businessman because I don’t try to act professional 100% of the time. Then I can laugh at them and tell them how little I care.
Here’s the thing. If you receive some criticism about something you’ve written or someone disagrees with you, then you don’t have to change what you say to agree with them.
“I said this, but I actually meant this…”
The only time you need to worry about something like this is if you posted an informational article, and the information you posted is wrong.
Don’t apologize for your opinions.
If you’d like, share an example where you’ve seen someone in business (or even in their personal life) go against what they believe, to do what someone else told them was right.
I know I can’t be the only one seeing this everywhere!
Nice post you’ve got here.
You said it all, just be yourself; If being opinionated works for you, then by all means go along with that.
I think it’s pathetic to delete your post because somebody does not share your opinion on the post.
Thanks for the post again; It’s my first time here though.
I really think marketing is all about connecting with people, and allowing people to connect with you. Most of us don’t have huge brands and a huge team of staff, it’s usually just a few people so we’ve got to capitalize on that by making ‘us’ part of our strategy. Having strong opinions helps with that and makes it easy to connect with the right people.
You see this less and less with the bigger companies, but it’s still there at even the highest level. Think of how iconic Steve Jobs was for Apple. Heck, look at some of their classic commercials and you can see that their marketing revolved around connecting with a very specific type of person. It works, and it works well.
Hope to see you again soon!
James McAllister recently posted…Aweber vs GetResponse: A Detailed Analysis And Review
Hi James, thanks for this tell it like it is kinda post. Perfect. I think it’s vital that we speak with our own voice and if that means we have to express strong opinions so be it. Not that we should necessarily set out to alienate people (although the effective use of provocation has worked well for me in the past!).
The reality is that most people are looking for the alpha leader to follow. So if we don’t demonstrate that we are in fact the alpha leader why on earth would people want to do business with us?
Thanks again James!
I agree with you, and it upsets me that so many people think they need to conjure some fake ‘image’ to live out. Not only is it easier to just be yourself, but it allows people to truly connect with you which obviously has huge benefits. Of course we don’t want to intentionally upset people but the problem I see is that people act like they need to try and appeal to everybody, and as a result of this they never truly connect with anybody. If I’m discussing a controversial topic I’d much rather have a strong opinion one way or the other, even if it means half the people would be mad at me for it. At least that means the other half truly have something to connect with me over right?
You make a good point about leadership. I have noticed this not only in business but in many aspects of my personal life as well. I’ll have to think about this one further, this fact can definitely be used to our advantage in many areas.
Thanks Kim for stopping by!
James McAllister recently posted…CTA Skin Review – Highlight Your Call To Action And Increase Conversions!
Right on, James! Someone wise said this: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Marketers need to nail their colors to the mast and attract raving fans rather than hoards of people who couldn’t give a shit
Wow, someone seriously removed their post AND apologized? No way… I’m still laughing from reading that. People are gonna hate you, no matter what. For whatever reasons they choose to hate you doesn’t matter, but you definitely shouldn’t change your voice as a person because eventually you’ll put yourself outta business.
Laria Rionel recently posted…Online Dating Safety Tips
It was seriously one of the most ridiculous things I had ever seen hahaha. Strong opinions cause strong emotional reactions in people, and whether they love you or they hate you, they’re still thinking about you and promoting you either way.
How are people supposed to remember us if we don’t stand for something, right?
James McAllister recently posted…You Wouldn’t Believe How Blogging Has Transformed My Life
Everyone stands for SOMETHING or has views about something. I just pictured Peter Griffin from family guy protesting something then saying “No, I didn’t really mean what I said, guys. That was a mistake”. As he runs back home and locks the door.
I agree though, might as well say what you think and let whatever comes after that just happen.
Laria Rionel recently posted…Blogger Square: James McAllister of HelpStartMySite