How To Be Authentic When Creating Content

I was going to write about how celebrities practice mindfulness. I had this whole idea set up; it was going to be a listicle. And then I realized that that felt super contrived and not authentic. I don’t care about how Gwyneth Paltrow or Khloe Kardashian practice mindfulness because I know that it will likely surround something involving meditation or chakras. While it’s cool to read about (because I find almost everything interesting), that’s not something I want to talk to you about.

So, I’m not writing about it. Not today, anyway.

Instead, I want to write about authenticity. I want to write about finding your voice. You’re a drop in the Internet ocean, friend, and you’re fighting to make yourself heard. But you don’t have to want to change the world to do it. Sometimes you just want to vent. Sometimes you want to do your thing without really bothering anybody else.

First of all, that is totally okay.

Second of all, how the hell do you do that?

First Stop: Your Experiences Are Your Backbone

What you need to rely on are your experiences. What makes you, you? I’m a serial list-maker, so that’s my preferred method of getting it down:

  • Grew up on a farm in Ohio.
  • I have a B.A. in history.
  • Read copious amounts of fanfiction in my tween/teen years.
  • Like to lift heavy things.
  • Like to drink tequila.
  • Worked in customer service (fast food and retail) for a number of years before moving to an office job.
  • Currently work in a 9-5 and freelance on the side.

And so on, and so forth. (All of the above are true, by the way.)

The things you’ve experienced in your life literally make you different from everyone else. No one has experienced what you have in the moment that you experienced it. I moved across the country for a dude. Lots of people have done it. But no one else has moved from my hometown to California for a dude, especially this one in particular.

For you, maybe you interned at a politician’s office in high school. Sure, others have done it. But maybe you grew up in the projects and were amazing at both math and foreign languages before you took on the internship. Then that leads to you ace-ing Government class, which leads to better college applications, etc. etc. Those things, individually, seem like a dime a dozen. You take all of that and put it together on paper? You just became the most interesting person in the room, babe.

Next Stop: What Do You Want to Write About?

Now, make a list of things you like to write about. What do you enjoy? The stuff you wrote about in your journal? Valid. Got any hobbies? That goes on your list. Mine would go something like this:

  • Business processes (I swear I’m super fun IRL, guys.)
  • Productivity
  • Creativity
  • Mindfulness
  • Writing
  • Dragons, magic, etc. (I write fiction.)
  • Technology
  • Books

See how this is coming together? With these two lists, you have the base on which to make anything you want. I could make a video about pairing different tequilas with your books for your book club. Or write an article on how studying history can make you a better business analyst.

The blog that you’re reading focuses on finding some balance between using technology and letting it take over your life. I grew up on a farm and I’ve read far too many dystopian novels to be fully comfortable with the Alexas and Siris, ya know?

Your experience, however, is very different from mine. Maybe you love Alexa for the convenience it provides. Or you are far more comfortable with pen and paper and still carry around a flip phone. The point is finding what you enjoy, because that will come through in your content.

How To Be Authentic When Creating Content
Probably had the same look on my face whenever I was in a ballerina costume. Always be authentic, kids.

Third Stop: What Do You Want Your People to See?

When it comes to authenticity, the only thing that really matters is that you’re speaking in a way that’s not fake. (Well, okay, duh.) You want the reader to know who you are as a person by reading your content, without having to spell it out for them. So how do we do that?

If it helps you, you can add one more list – how you want the reader to perceive you. What qualities do you want your readers (listeners, watchers, followers, etc.) to pick up on?

I’d like mine to see me in the way my family and friends do:

  • Encouraging
  • Down-to-earth
  • F-bomb dropping
  • Confident
  • Kind/Warm-hearted
  • Sarcastic
  • Funny
  • Full of no-nonsense love

(There are also some blonde moments thrown in, but I’ll spare you that part.)

Then I take those qualities, and I do my best to create content that feels authentic, that feels the most like me. Remember what I said about what I was originally going to write about? I sat down to write it, and this came out instead. You can tell where my brain was, but it also said a lot about what felt most like me when it came to creating content.

My main goal for this site is to be helpful. Having yet more content about Khloe Kardashian (that’s not covering her business sense) does not currently align with my goal. So, sorry Koko. Maybe next time.

(Psst…. I put together a free worksheet for you to help you gather your thoughts. You should download it to see if it helps.)

Last, But Certainly Not Least: Doing The Work

Now, the last and hardest part of all this is putting pen to paper. Face to camera. Hands to keyboard. Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for doing the work. Lucky for you, doing the work is part of being authentic in the content creation process. So you’re achieving your goal while working towards the goal. Goal-ception. 

Yes, I know how cheesy that sounds.

No, I don’t care.

Here’s the thing: if you want the world to know what the hell it is you’re thinking, then you have to show up. Nobody’s going to read your mind.

There are a myriad of productivity tools out there to help you show up and do the work, but one that I use in my 9-to-5, as well as my freelance life, is the Pomodoro technique. I set a timer (or use a browser application) and work for 25 minutes. Then I get a 5-minute break: I stand up, stretch my legs, refill my water, etc. etc.

What about you, my friends? How do you ensure that your content is authentic? Share any tips you have in the comments, and be sure to share this on Twitter! (I even wrote a tweet for you!)

A freebie to ensure my #content is authentic? Yes, please! https://wp.me/p8qeVY-2i Click To Tweet

2 Comments

  1. This was such a thorough step by step guide! I love how you bring together so many aspects of someone’s life and interests (I love lists too!). I went through a similar thought process (but not in such an organized way) to launch my site and wish I saw this post when I was trying to bring everything together!

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I struggle with this a lot in my writing. I feel like I’m talking to people like I’m their mom sometimes instead of just writing from my heart and experiences. It’s so much easier to talk to people out loud than write (I think because I wrote almost exclusively for research for a long time). I’m downloading your freebie to help me practice! Thanks again!

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