Why Vulnerability Kicks Arse In Your Content
Vulnerability is a weakness. Or that’s what we tell ourselves.
When you are open in your writing, there’s a feeling that your stomach is churning for leaving yourself prone to attack from anyone.
It’s taking a risk because we can’t control how people will react. But you’re underestimating yourself.
Being vulnerable is no weakness, it’s a power, especially in your content.
Through my formative years, I had this idea that vulnerability shouldn’t be in my vocabulary at all.
You were meant to be tough, solid and confident and could never show your flaws or anxieties to anyone. That risk could cost you a friend, a girl, or some other social connections.
I got that idea reinforced from everyone surrounding me. My friends, my family, even my teachers. A man was a man; no questions asked.
Things began to change in my twenties. I began re-evaluating my sense of self and my place in the world. It still took another decade to get to grips with these ideas.
In 2005, I came across a revealing and entertaining weekly blog post by author Sam de Brito (who sadly died unexpectedly last year) which swam amongst the topics of philosophy, politics, sport, sex and the arts.
It really opened my eyes to what someone could reveal about themselves. This post displayed strength in taking ownership of your own imperfections.
My writing didn’t have to be perfect. But it had to be honest.
In content writing, the power rests in the conversation you have with your audience. It has intimacy and insightfulness.
Forget writing for the majority who don’t get it or believe you’re full of bullshit. They don’t matter.
Your content must speak to a chosen audience; everything else is a bonus.
Why does vulnerability in your content help you with people?
People respond to human emotion. Putting yourself out in front of them paints a better picture of who you are through your content.
When readers engage, the quality of your audience reading your stuff goes up. They’re filtered out by what you say.
The people who turn up already have an idea of who they’re dealing with. Then you’re giving them more substance, and solidifying their trust in you.
There’s tonnes of mediocre content that talks big on confidence and success but the stuff that gains the most traction is relatable.
Having a truth that holds water with an audience. People respond more when there’s a fleshed out person behind a business.
They want to engage someone who has their own challenges but works through them regardless.
When you write your blog post or email, revealing something about yourself gives you an opportunity to link arms with your reader.
For example, James Altucher’s blog posts are vulnerable pieces of content.
He talks about his own failings on a regular basis but that doesn’t stop him growing his massive audience. In fact they trust him more.
I believe it’s because he owns exactly what he says. No-one can slap his face with it, he’s already done that to himself.
He talks fear, loneliness, bad business decisions, and love loss. All come from a place of assured honesty. When he writes, people identify with his trials and tribulations. They are on his level.
Brene Brown’s TED talk highlights the social connections we yearn for and how vulnerability opens them up to us.
She talks about the difficulty in being vulnerable and why people struggle with it. That we’ll be humiliated if people see our flaws and anxieties up close.
Brown discusses this issue against her years of qualitative social research. She found that a sense of worthiness was pivotal to her subjects getting through the tougher parts of life.
That they deserved to be loved and cared for. In feeling this way, they accepted the fear and excruciating vulnerability in revealing themselves to others.
As Brown says, it’s “the idea of, in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.” And this takes “the willingness to do something when there are no guarantees.”
Bringing up a personal journey can add meat to a content’s bones. But throwing an entire kitchen sink at your reader might be as damaging as not saying anything at all.
What you include has to be relevant.
There are many posts out there that bitch and moan for the entire piece and have no value for the reader. So their takeaway is nothing but negativity.
No-one wants to hear you vent for the sake of venting. Your reader cares when it adds something to the topic you’re writing about.
One of the most open articles I’ve read on this topic is by Copywriter Glenn Murray.
He talks about his own personal struggles and how they impact his business and life. Both in good and bad ways.
He shows you how openness and relevancy work together on one topic. It’s frank and fearless writing.
And it stays relevant to his topic of running a business and dealing with your own imperfections, day by day.
The best content out there has a personal flavour to its storytelling and an honesty fused to its words.
People are happy to know the clunky parts of your personality because everyone struggles with their own.
Bringing this forward in some way when writing makes you take ownership of anything you say. Your unique readers, customers or community members will respect you more for being so confident to do it.
It’s a badass power, so I recommend you use it when required.
If you want the right people coming to your blog or website you need to stay the right things in your best voice.
Let me help you do this now – connect here – and bring more ideal business straight to your site.