How to Find Your Authentic Voice (And Use it to Win Over Clients!)

by Michelle Salater on March 5, 2012


These days, authenticity is king in marketing. That’s why you see labels like “made with real cheese” on snack foods like Cheez-Its—even though we know eating these crackers is not the same as eating actual cheese, we feel somehow comforted that, at some point during the production process, real cheese was involved.

Establishing authenticity especially matters for entrepreneurs and small-business owners who more or less embody their brand. But authenticity is a fickle mistress. Here’s a look at how to find your authentic voice and use it in your marketing materials to win the hearts and minds of your prospective clients.

Discovering Your Authentic Voice

 Establishing authenticity requires that you build three separate elements in your marketing materials:

  • A distinct point of view. You need to have your own take on things, partly to distinguish yourself from your competition, and partly to illustrate to potential clients how you go about doing things. Think of Subway, which uses the slogan “Eat fresh.” The sandwich chain’s point of view is that fast food doesn’t have to be highly processed food, and that this particular restaurant will serve you fresher, healthier products than its competitors.
  • A message or a larger purpose. Many entrepreneurs find this part easy: did you launch your business to help people master online marketing ? To help people dress better? Whatever your bigger reason for doing what you do, you must communicate that with your audience. In the case of Subway, its larger purpose is to promote healthier lifestyles. It illustrated this with Jared, the face of its weight-loss campaign that highlighted the chain’s health-oriented menu items.
  • Integrity. Finally, you need to demonstrate that you’ll actually follow through with your beliefs. If you say you want to help more people learn the basics of salsa dancing, you’d better offer some kind of discount to your next class session (for example). Subway shows its integrity every time it adds a healthful menu item and makes these items affordable to the masses.

To discover your authentic voice, identify what your point of view is, what your message is, and how you will follow through with both.

Communicating in Your Voice

If you’re not sure how to get the words on the screen to match the ones in your head, try recording yourself speaking about your business or explaining a service you offer. Then transcribe your speech. Touch it up to make it readable, but don’t force it into “standard” diction.

If you aren’t confident with your ability to capture your voice on the page, consider working with a professional copywriter or online marketing firm that can help you nail it every time.

Ultimately, you want to be able to tell your potential clients a story about themselves that they want to hear—and that you can make come true. What will be authentic is the way you tell the story—and the happy ending the only you can provide.

How have you created authenticity in your brand?

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