Do you have a nagging doubt that you're letting your readers down? You're white-hot with social media and you've a creative vision to die for but your wording, is well, not really you. It's not quite right but you can't quite put your finger on it.
You've jumped through the SEO hoops and although your keywords seem like the the best thing for getting your head above the competition, your uniqueness has been lost in the process.
You need a more creative approach but where do you start?
Read on for some word-pampering self-help.
Banish damp squib cliches to the bin and find your (word) tribe with just a few cool tips.
The tiny details mean everything
You're a time-strapped small business owner, so it's easier said than done, right? But with a few pointers and a a little soul-searching, I believe everyone can develop a bank of words to reflect their human nature and what they do for a living. After all, when it comes to B2B or B2C, we're more likely to buy into a personality rather than a faceless corporation - so it's worth your time.
Get a pad and pen at the ready for the following prompts and jot down the first ideas that come to mind. Let them sit awhile - make some tea or pop out for a sandwich - then come back, let the words percolate. A few friends will come to join them, others will leave. This is your word bank, this belongs to you.
After each point, just write an unstructured list. Sentences aren't helpful. Scribble up, down and sideways. Use different coloured pens if you want, or doodle alongside - this belongs to you.
A little introspection is a good thing. Remember you are fabulously unique - your talents, portfolio and experience in the field make up your USP.
Who are you?
Imagine sauntering along the shore on a hot summer's day. The breeze is playing with your hair, the sun is kissing your skin, you're relaxed, able to breathe, looking forward to a leisurely dinner overlooking the bay. How do you feel? Don't think. Just write.
How do you do what you do?
Now you're click-clacking across a square in London. Huge shoulder pads, coiffed to within an inch of your life, you look up to a high-rise office-block and admire the sun bouncing off the tinted glass. In through the lobby doors, you make straight for the elevator and you're riding all the way to the top. How do you feel now? Again, don't think, just write.
And what do you do?
There's a big dinner, a surprise birthday party and the world is invited. There's white table cloths, silver cutlery, the finest china and everyone's sat down, ready for what's next. You're the surprise, wheeled in on a trolley in a huge box, wrapped in red ribbon. The box bursts open and your talents festoon the room, like confetti. What are they? And by this, I mean real, human benefit. What real human benefit do you bring to the world? Through your business? Through your talents?
What does it all mean?
The shoreline you? That's your authentic self.
The city-slicker you? That's your ambition, your drive, your power.
The gift? Simply put, that's your gift - the unique thing you bring to the world, no matter the sector you work in.
The important bit
You've done really well. Ten or twenty words for each heading is awesome - if you've not reached that many, don't worry, they'll come to you, I promise.
Don't rush this next stage. It's meant to take a while, so just let it happen.
Sit with the words on the page. Watch them carefully.
Don't hurry, or it won't work.
After a while, some of them will start to shine. They'll resonate with you.
Cherish them, these are your words.
If you really want to show them some love, pick up a thesaurus or visit www.thesaurus.com.
While you're here, check out a few of my blog posts, I love getting people thinking and writing for themselves.
I love to spread the love, so I've delivered the above as a mini-workshop at a few networking events with amazing results. There's nothing like watching a whole room-full of happy people writing. I've been asked for a handy worksheet a few times, so here it is . Please feel free to share it with others but I kindly ask that you credit me and please put in a good word while you're at it.
A more personal service
I also offer one-to-one brand language sessions to help your words take flight. Please email me for an informal chat and we'll go from there.
Amanda Fearn is a brand language and tone of voice specialist. She also writes content for multinationals and sole-practitioners.