When you start a business of your own, writing about what it is that you do or the product you create can be overwhelming.
You might worry that you sound bossy, or that you’re boasting, or bigging yourself up too much.
Yet we have to consistently create content for the many different communication channels; our social media, newsletters, e mails and websites.
So how do you build your confidence in writing?
In this podcast I’m going to share thoughts you might experience and strategies that have helped me and clients I’ve worked with which will help you feel more at ease.
Plus case studies of pet business owners I’ve worked with who have overcome their fears about writing and have gone on to achieve amazing things.
You can listen to this as a podcast on the player link or continue reading as a blog post.
We all feel the same when we start out
Back in 2015, I had my website redesigned and Malcolm from 360 Spin suggested blogging.
(PS if you are looking for help with SEO he is amazing and his website is here: 360Spin.com )
He said it would be a way for me to share helpful information about the topics I could support potential clients with.
Things like press releases and copywriting. I felt like I couldn’t write about this stuff, that people would laugh at me, that I would get it wrong.
I thought other journalists and PRs would read it and think, ‘Who does she think she is?’ Now, I have this blog and podcast and I put myself out there every week.
I know people in my industry might take the mickey or think it’s rubbish, but I have moved past caring about it.
Accept that at first, you might be a bit rubbish
We all have to start somewhere and at the beginning, what you create is going to be a work in progress.
The key thing is that you make that start, that first step. Accept that it’s not going to be perfect.
My first few (more like 20) podcasts have me doing heavy breathing through most of the recording and there are so many ‘ummms’ and ‘errrs’ but I had to make those to get better.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
Give yourself time to find your voice
At first when you start writing, you might feel like you’re being a bit bossy or telling people what to do – this is the case for service providers like trainers.
Take a step back and think about how you would talk to a client in real life. You could even have a fake conversation and record it. That is your real voice.
When you’re reading your words back, does it sound like how you would be in real life? Keep tweaking it until it feels more ‘you.’
Suzanne Gould from Edinburgh Holistic Dogs felt her tone was too bossy when we started working together on a Create Content With Confidence course I did in March 2019.
She followed these exact steps and developed her voice. This summer she wrote a book – 40,000 words – supporting rescue dog owners.
Suzanne writes exactly as she would in a real life conversation. She’s warm, understanding and has lots of empathy, not bossy at all.
Learn more about Suzanne in this blog post and podcast.
If you have a product business, try to emulate the way you talk about your products in real life, so if you were explaining how they work at an event, on your posts.
Write for your clients, not for your peers
One of the things that held me back when it came to writing about how small businesses could get publicity was I worried what other journalists and PRs would think.
But I’m not writing for them, I’m writing for small business owners. So keep this in mind when you write.
It isn’t about showing off what you know to your peers, it’s about taking the knowledge you have and sharing it so others can use it in a practical way.
If you’re writing about behaviour for example, keep it simple for the most inexperienced owner to understand.
Try to avoid jargon and instead walk in their shoes. This podcast and blog with behaviourist Helen Motteram goes into this in more detail.
This can be hard to let go of, but when you have people come to you and share how your content has helped them, it will encourage you to keep going.
Create helpful and educational content
This will mean you will be more inclined to stay consistent and share the content you’ve created.
If you’re worried about just putting random content out there, then keep a log of the questions or challenges you hear from your clients.
Then when you’re creating your content, it can help your mindset around it.
Rather than feeling like it’s cringe or spammy to share it, you’ll see it as giving value, so will be more inclined to tell people about it and feel positive about it.
If you’re unsure of your grammar, try Grammarly
When it comes to writing, there are tools you can use to check over your work.
I used to use these when I wrote for online as this is different to print and they are really helpful.
Grammarly is a free tool and you can find it here: www.grammarly.com/
If you’re unsure of how you sound, try asking a friend or colleague
Worried about hitting the publish button? I remember hiding behind my hands as I did this when I first started with the pet blog.
If you’ve written something and you’re not sure of how it sounds, ask a friend or colleague to have a look over it.
When I started my blog, my friend Helen Gilbert, another journalist, started one at the same time.
Each week we would encourage each other, talk about what we’d written about and often I would send her my posts and vice versa.
Find a friend or colleague whose opinion you trust and do the same.
Read magazines or websites and find a style that you like
There are so many brilliant pet magazines out there and you can also draw inspiration from mainstream titles.
If there’s a particular style you like, keep clippings and when you’re writing, try to follow the same format.
A few years ago, I used an article from a health magazine as a template to follow for a blogging course I was running as it was a really nicely laid out Q and A.
Have fun and use your content to express your personality
One of my blogging course clients Alex Smith did a testimonial video for me recently and she said: “When people have read my blog, it’s like they already know me.
“They know my personality and what to expect and it’s just brilliant.”
I loved that she said that because a year earlier, Alex wasn’t sure about blogging but she has totally taken the bit between her teeth and run with it.
She packs her blogs with her personality, feelings and values and it’s attracted the right kind of people to her – AND secured her a job with a huge American pet brand.
So be like Alex, be yourself and attract people who get you.
Need some support in being more confidence in your writing?
If you’ve found this post helpful and would like some more support when it comes to your content strategy, I have a course running at the moment (November 2020).
It’s called Get Your Pet Business Found On Google with four weeks of live training from November 10th to December 8th.
Next week, November 17th, I’ll be covering Content Made Simple and building your confidence is a key part of the session.
Learn more in this podcast episode: What’s inside the Get Your Pet Business Found On Google programme
You can join here: Get Your Pet Business Found On Google
Alternatively, you can book a Power Hour which is one to one consultancy and can be used to talk about content strategy here.