Categories
General

The importance of speaking directly to your audience

Do newsletters still have a place?

Do EDMs have an impact?

Will people actually work with you after reading your emails?

YES. The answer is yes! And I learnt this lesson again in 2020 when I finally launched my own newsletter.

I know I know. A communications specialist who doesn’t have an email newsletter. It seems like it would be the first thing I would have set up, but no. I was one of those people who felt that my audience was hearing from me enough.

I am fortunate to have a lot of work that comes through referrals and word of mouth. Over the years, I’ve focused on networking and maintaining connections in person and online and many of my clients have come to me in this way. So why would I reach out on mass?

Do I really have something to say? 

Do they really want to hear from me, again? 

Isn’t social media enough?

The answers here are yes, yes and no!

There is so much power in EDM and being able to speak directly to your audience through their inbox. Getting to connect with your audience and send a message directly to them is a wonderful thing. And the privilege of them giving you the permission to means that it’s more than ok to reach out through this medium.

What took me so long?

The funny thing is, I actually knew all of this and often talk to my clients about it but wasn’t applying it in my own business. You know, plumber with leaky taps and all that.

But in 2020, I decided that it was time and I wanted to speak to my lovely clients, colleagues and audience directly. 

We set up a template, I had the ideas and all I needed to do was put it together. 

But I didn’t push send!

Something held me back. 

All I needed was to put the content, the ideas and stories I wanted to share with my audience, into the template. But I just wasn’t doing it. 

The fear of the above seeped in and I was questioning:

  • Do they really need it?
  • Is what I have to say really that important?
  • Will anyone read it? 
  • Isn’t there enough content already out there on the internet.

I let these thoughts and the pressure to ‘perfect’ take over and hesitated on sending.

Finally in November 2020, I launched my newsletter (which you may even receive, thank you!) I took some deep breaths, started typing and before I knew it, the first copy was ready and before I could back out again – I pushed send!

That afternoon, I received a reply from a woman I’d met through some Facebook groups and had had the pleasure of meeting IRL (in real life) for a coffee once. I hadn’t seen her name for a while, and actually didn’t even know that she’d subscribed to the blog – but there she was – right back in my inbox!

“I’ve been thinking about my brand a lot lately and your email came at the perfect time. Can we talk soon?”

I had a beautiful call with her the next day and we began work the next week!

So 7 months of hesitation and then a beautiful client to work with! I couldn’t believe the opportunity I had missed and the gorgeous conversations I could have been having, had I just reached out to my audience directly.

Your audience want to hear from you

This little lesson reminded me of something that I speak to m clients about all the time. Your audience wants to hear from you.

They have followed, subscribed, connected, clicked “yes” so that they can hear your message.

Whether it’s an audience of 5, 500 or 5000, they are wanting to connect with you and by not reaching out directly, you are both missing a great opportunity.

Not every email is going to translate directly into a client. If it does, yay! But it can lead to the building of trust and a relationship. 

Off the back of that first email, I also had some wonderful replies from my audience that I hadn’t spoken to in a while. It sparked a conversation and it reignited our connection.

Don’t be afraid to put your voice out there. You never know who needs to hear the message you have to share. 

Points to remember with EDM

  • Add value – share stories, information and tips
  • Be personable – think about how you’d communicate one on one
  • Subject lines matter – this is how you engage your audience
  • Keep it simple – include only what you need, be mindful that people do receive a lot of emails
  • Check your frequency – be consistent but that doesn’t mean spammy
  • Show up – when you connect, be authentic and share you. Build genuine connections
  • Always include your contact information – don’t make your audience work to reach out to you

 

Happy connecting!

Categories
Personal Brand

I don’t even know who I am

Recently I was speaking with a colleague’s mentee about her career future. She’s a bright 20 year old who is about to undertake an internship with an organisation. She spoke well, she was engaging and she was keen to learn. But she said something that totally took me by surprise – she doesn’t know who she is or how to present herself.

I thought this issue was reserved for later in life. My clients tend to come to me in a time of transition in their life. They are usually over 40, and generally women and battling with a feeling of being lost and disconnected from themselves.

But this girl is just starting out! She’s only starting to think about what she wants to do for work, where she wants her life to go, and already she has no idea of who she is. And why is that? It’s because of all the messages she receives constantly throughout the day telling her who she should be. It’s because she is a child of the social media age.

Young women and men entering the workforce now do not know a time without social media. They’ve had Facebook and Instagram accounts since the age of 12. They have been influenced by these channels so much so that it’s clouding their view of themselves.

Feeling lost

After sharing about personal branding and how I moved into this space with my 13 years of business experience, she shared how the connection to self and the confidence in who you are was something that she was really missing. 

“When I was a teenager, the way to get in with friends and the way to be connected was through music. I thought that if I liked the music of the people I wanted to be friends with, then they would like who I am. So I would post all about that music. Then I’d meet new people, and I’d do the same. When my memories and posts come up on Facebook now, my music is so eclectic and so not like me. I don’t know what music I even like. I’ve always just taken on what I think others want me to like.”

And she could see how this influence had flowed into other areas of her life.

She felt crippled when it came to sharing a post on social media now. 

“All I want to do is share a nice photo I’ve taken. But when I got to post it, I thought so much about what the caption should be. Do I just put an emoji (which is so basic! – her words), do I write something deep and poetic, do I describe what it is. I don’t know! I don’t know what I want to say and what people will think when they see it.”

So how do you talk about yourself?

This is something common I see with my clients too. They’re so worried about what others might think of them, they end up trying to tailor their message to noone and everyone. 

I so enjoyed the conversation with this gorgeous girl but I also felt so sad getting off the call. She’s about to walk into a world of roles and titles. Where jobs, companies and fellow employees try to shape her. And without a connection to herself and who she really is, she’s going to get even more lost and disconnected over time. 

Now there is so much good and positive in social media. It can bring us together despite distance, it can help us to build on relationships and it can connect us with like minded people around the world. The downside is that with so many messages coming at us constantly, we can easily get lost in that and lose sight of ourselves. Comparison and imposter syndrome is rife due to being bombarded by other people’s content constantly. Tapping into who we are takes more work and more focus than ever. But it can be done.

Listen to yourself

My words of wisdom to her, and the only thing I felt that truly mattered in all of the advice I would impart from my career, be yourself. To be true to yourself. To not do a role or job because you think it’s what you “should” (a word that ought be banned) do. 

I encouraged her wherever possible to tap into how she feels. 

Does she feel good about herself? 

Does she feel confident? 

Does she feel light, or is it all heavy? 

 

Learning how to listen to our body and to our intuition is the first step in reconnecting with who we really are. Our hearts often tell us more than our heads.

I’m so passionate about seeing people live as they truly are, to follow their own path and to really know themselves. Other people are always going to choose how they perceive and receive us, but we get to decide how we show up in the world and we get to control our story. 

Regardless of age, this loss of connection with self is an issue. It’s something I’d like to see have a lot more focus from an early age. To encourage children, adolescents, and young adults to keep focused on who they are and to allow them the freedom to be that. 

It’s not too late though! You can always take back control and start to reconnect with yourself. This is where having a focus on your personal brand begins. Knowing who you are, showing up as who you are and being your authentic self will help you to achieve the life you want. 

 

I’d love to hear from you if this is something you feel is a challenge for you or if this story resonated in any way. Let’s chat!

Categories
General

Pieces of me

I’ve recently started back at work after the birth of my son Finn on 12.1.21 (yes, the coolest birthday ever!) I’ve been enjoying the time off (well, different pace of life) with my family and getting to know this gorgeous little human. 

Recently I was speaking with a friend about how everything was going with my motherhood journey. And she asked “so how are you finding your new identity?”

I really struggled with this subject during my pregnancy. The “role” and “title” of mother and the “new identity” kept coming up in conversation. I felt very fearful for a lot of my pregnancy about losing myself I’d heard so many women had felt they had lost their identity during their transition to motherhood. I also really struggled with this concept of new role and identity as it felt like I had to leave behind ALL of my old self and my old life and I would somehow become a new person. I just couldn’t get on board with that.

My work is built around helping people to connect with who they really are. I truly believe that you are who you are, always. Uniquely you. But over the years it can get lost under a mound of roles, titles, expectations, opinions and outsider views. You lose that connection to the authentic you and it can be hard to see yourself clearly. 

So of course, I was going to fight fiercely to defend and hold onto the person I was. And the person I am. I struggled and pushed and rallied against this new role, even pushing away the “mum” title and rejecting it. Because I felt like it was going to take over my life and my identity, I wasn’t able to see at the time how this role and identity could fit. I wanted to have a family and I wanted so much to have this little person join my world, but I didn’t want to lose myself!

However, as I spoke to this friend, I realised that this new role was integrating into my life. I said to her that motherhood was now a piece of me. And there are many pieces of me. There’s my work of course, there’s my family, my friends, my passions, my travel (a big part), my experiences and so much more. This journey and this new piece is a pretty massive one, arguably one of the biggest additions I’ll ever add into the picture, but it’s still a piece of me. 

I said that I see it as a puzzle. We are all a beautiful puzzle with many many pieces. Without all the pieces, you can’t see the complete picture. Sometimes we lose pieces (check between the sofa cushions). Sometimes we get pieces muddled or in the wrong order. Sometimes there are so many pieces, we don’t know how to bring it all together and get a clear view. But it’s important to know that it’s only when we have all those pieces together, that we get to see the whole and beautiful picture as it’s meant to be.

Motherhood is another piece of the Emma puzzle. I am still me. I am first and foremost Emma. Of course, I’m still integrating this change and navigating this journey (and will do for the rest of my life really) but I’m very much enjoying this additional piece and adding it into the bigger picture.

And you lovely one, are a beautiful puzzle. A combination of hundreds of pieces coming together to make up the full picture. But perhaps you have just misplaced a few pieces – I can help you find them!

Your personal brand is made up of all these pieces. It is the unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that you want the world to see you. It is the telling of your story, and how it reflects your conduct, behaviour, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes.

It’s what makes you, you!

So, is it time to put the pieces of you together so we can all see the beautiful picture?