Fuck fuck fuck. It’s been a long ass time since my last post, but I’m back into my groove.
I want to write about an interview that changed the way I look at my brand and career, and I think the following story can also dramatically change the way YOU handle your online presence.
A few weeks ago, I listened to an interview on Endingthegrind.com
Steve, the owner of the site, is a family guy who’s stuck in a 9-5 and wants to get out ASAP. He interviewed famed bloggess Penelope Trunk to get some tips on living and working on one’s own terms.
The first 10 mins were standard stuff. A typical interview you have witnessed a 1000 times. But in the middle the game changed, and the shit hit the fan. In fact, the shit wasn’t hitting the fan, it was hitting a fucking Harrier Jet TURBINE.
Penelope Trunk turned the interview around – instead of HER answering the questions from the interviewer Steve, she started asking questions, and boy, were they uncomfortable. She claimed that Steve had no real vision of leaving his dead-end job – that he’d lack any specific goals. With each passing minute, she was getting down his throat, putting him in a deadlock and exposing him online.
I said to myself: Jeez, this guy is getting torn apart on his own podcast. Penelope Trunk was like a rocket launcher, piercing thin-armored and unprepared Steve with multiple rounds and hitting all of them. Bang. Bang. Baaaaannng.
I almost wanted to stop listening, but I couldn’t, because it was SOOO compelling. Unlike any other boring interview, this one evoked real DRAMATIC emotion, like a good Hollywood flick.
Steve could have just quit the interview without EVER publishing it. It felt embarrassing after all. But he didn’t. He decided to put up the podcast for the whole wide world to witness.
Stupid choice ? No. Not all. It was actually the SMARTEST thing he could have done.
We human creatures CRAVE emotions. That’s why Hollywood blockbusters like Forrest Gump reap hundred of MILLION DOLLARS – they’re like crack for our souls and we want MORE.
Goood (personal) branding is ALL about creating emotional experiences for your customers and CONNECTING with them. The more vulnerable and honest a person or product, the stronger the emotional response. When Steve got ripped apart, we got the true sense of his current situation – we saw his vulnerable side and it was compelling like crack.
Think about it – how much emotional bonding do you create when you show us your pitch-perfect, cleaner-than-slick seemingly IMPECCABLE side ?
Come on, we both know the answer.
The reason why Steve’s podcast was so COMPELLING and successful ( it attracted hundreds of comments and what’s more important, it literally changed his life & goals) is because it was DRAMATIC – it showed us the “negative” side – the imperfect side of an interview seemingly gone wrong. It was RAW and authentic.
And that’s what CONNECTS your brand with your audience – being RAW and authentic. Here’s what this means for you:
Reveal yourself (and your stats)
Some people tend to reveal their monthly income, right down TO THE LAST penny. That’s a pretty brave thing to do (especially if it’s near zero), but that openness also WOWS your audience. It takes guts and some well-grown BALLS (women, choose what ever word you find appropriate here) to SHOW THAT TO THE WORLD. In a world where it’s EASY to manipulate the numbers and hide behind avatars, it’s comforting to see someone showing us his cards.
If you don’t feel like showing us your income online, use other metrics. Show people how many sales you actually made. Show us how many people visit your site. Or even mention how many didn’t turn up for an event that you thought WOULD dominate.
Everyone admires the brave, no one cheers for the coward.
Enjoy bathing in the crossfire of people’s opinions (or: invite the haters)
It would have been an easy (and ) understandable for Steve to NOT publish the interview, because who likes to publicly show oneself getting torn apart by his own interviewees ?
If people criticize and maybe even expose you , it’s tempting to go dictatorship style and censor anyone who disapproves of you. Well, you shouldn’t. Only showing what approves of your brand is safe and feels fake. We know there’s shadow behind your sun. Instead of denying it and waiting for your audience to find out about it (they will), be the first one to break the news. When people disagree , leave it and don’t get rid of it. Or better: Approach that opinion with arms wide open and be 100% frank about it.
You will draw people even closer to you, because you show that you are just as human (and imperfect ) as they are.
Share the yin and yang
“Look how much I succeed. Wow, my traffic TRIPLED, everything’s GOING GREAT I’M SOON GOING TO BE A BLOG MILLIONAIRE..MUAHAHAHA.”
Listen, we know you’re full of shit. Nobody CONSTANTLY hits the target with every single shot. A lot of them totally miss the target, and that’s fine. Instead of JUST showing the moments where you hit the target, show us when (and why) you missed. “Learning from failure” is not just a boring-ass saying, it’s true as well. And very captivating coming from an authentic person.
(pardon my German)
Too many people online (heck, I’m one of them…errr…I USED TO BE !) only show success, because they think that failures weaken their presence. BULLshit with capital B. Everyone fails on their way to success, and showing that PUBLICLY helps you relate with your audience.
If you fuck up, don’t hide it. Show us your fuck-up. Tell us what you learned and show us the lesson. It’s compelling.
Wha-at ? So much openness and vulnerability may crack your ego – it certainly cracked mine (I’m still scraping some pieces off from my floor).
Listen, in the end, YOU decide how much you want to reveal online. No one’s pulling a shotgun up your neck and ordering you to reveal everything – you are the final choice maker. But remember – showing us your pitch-perfect robotic persona (like 99% of the online peeps out there) isn’t helping you bond with your people. They want the FULL 3 dimensional package, with all the flaws, foibles and fuckups (that’s 3 M for you !). The more you reveal, the stronger your effect on people, even, or ESPECIALLY when YOU’re the one who’s in the crossfire.
Now, how will you reveal your “vulnerable” side ?
And please share this message with the people you care about !