What if I told you that being yourself is actually your PR superpower?
In an increasingly isolated and digital society, authenticity and transparency win out over carefully curated and seemingly perfect content.
That’s right—even your mistakes and the stories you’re embarrassed to tell have the potential to improve and solidify your relationships with your audience.
Why Does Authenticity Matter in PR?
People simply aren’t compelled to engage with content that they don’t feel is honest—or with brands that they have trouble trusting or relating to. It’s no longer enough for brands to push out surface level content that fails to inspire a dialogue between the consumer and creator.
In fact, according to a recent survey, 90% of respondents said that authenticity was important in deciding which brands they like and support.
Brand authenticity can take many forms. It might mean using a more casual tone in your communications, sharing real-life stories and experiences, or stepping away from highly edited images. The right approach can vary depending on the brand and the target audience they’re trying to engage.
But one thing is true across the board: brands that are honest and authentic consistently inspire higher quality engagement in the long run. Your audience is interested in YOU: your thoughts, your struggles, and your viewpoint. The genuine stories that you tell help build trust, which in turn facilitates engagement.
To take this idea a step further, how you engage with your audience matters just as much as what content you put out. If someone is commenting on your posts, respond as genuinely as possible. People can tell if they’re talking to a robot instead of a real person. Creating a person-to-person dialogue will foster sustainable and dynamic engagement.
Cultivating Authenticity for Your Brand
Before you start posting photos of your pets or your messy at-home office in the name of relatability, remember that incorporating authenticity into your communications strategy only works if it’s in harmony with your brand messaging.
Who is your audience? What experiences have they had? How do they perceive you or your brand? It’s important to communicate in accordance with audience expectations so that your honesty doesn’t backfire. Going too far off-message can look unprofessional or cause your brand story to become muddled.
It would also be unwise to change your brand voice too abruptly. Doing so could confuse your audience and come across as disingenuous. Instead, make thoughtful and nuanced adjustments that will build trust at a reasonable pace.
Ask yourself if there are opportunities to be more forthcoming about why you do the work you do or how you got to where you are. Everyone has a story, and whether positive or negative, it likely contributed to who they are today.
You’ll find your most natural and authentic voice by making case-by-case decisions about what information to share and what information to save for a more appropriate time.
Getting to the Other Side of Fear
Fear is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of sharing powerful stories. Many people feel nervous about “airing their dirty laundry.” I understand those feelings, but I want you to know that they couldn’t be more removed from reality!
Everybody has secrets and stories that they’re nervous to share. I’m no exception. My oldest child has struggled with substance abuse, and I know how difficult it can be to divulge personal information. But I also know how rewarding it is to find support among people who have heard my story. In many cases, people have shared their personal and painful experiences with me and we’ve forged a bond built with trust.
You don’t need to share your most personal story to achieve authenticity. But if the fear of vulnerability is standing in your way, I encourage you to put your fears aside and let your true self shine through.
Authenticity can be tricky to master, but it’s worth working through your initial discomfort. If you want to make a shift in your communications strategy to create a more authentic brand voice, I’m here to help. Contact me today to start the discussion!