Tips for writing authentic content on your website

In a world full of recipes and guides of all kinds, we genuinely believe we need to get back to the roots and remind ourselves of the basics. Being human on your website, it’s not an appealing branding mantra that sounds good. It’s the only way to manifest authenticity and attract the right type of audience for your digital stories. 

September 9, 2019
Reading time 9 – 13 minutes
Katerina Nedelcu capturing the Pixelgrade office

Some of us like to think that polishing a fake yet impressive online image about ourselves will make us look good and successful. I firmly believe that the truth is on the opposite side of the spectrum. Let me explain.

What you are going to discover:

I’ve been working in the communication field (especially in the digital one) for more than years now, so I’m quite familiar with the pressure of finding a blue ocean. To discover a new playground to explore. To be different, to come with something new, to innovate. Everyone aims to have a special impact, right?

Showing vulnerability and being in sync with your values and beliefs makes room for you to flourish.

Well, I noticed so many times that while trying to impress, we often forget about the basic rule of communication: how to craft messages that highlight our personality and pack them in a genuine story. Unfortunately, this authenticity is taken for granted by a lot of content creators. They prefer to copycat big websites out there: to use their tone-of-voice, their language tricks, their expressions. 

In the end, it’s far easier to follow recipes and mark checkboxes than diving into your core and make peace with who you are. Let me tell you something. This is the only way to find your voice in terms of communication.

While the first tactic is definitely a shortcut, something that social media heavily relies on today, and we’re kind of trapped there, the second approach requires process, iteration, rephrasing, dealing with uncertainties. In just a word: discomfort.

In this article, I give you a list of concrete tips about how expressing more human touch on your website impacts the outcomes. It’s not a marketing trick nor a growth hacking strategy. It’s a piece of first-hand advice from my experience, and I aim to bring it to the surface to encourage more people to embrace this path since it’s the only one that makes you memorable.

Let’s do this!

Why writing authentic content on your website brings you closer to the audience?

Express the human touch on your website with good intentions, and show your audience that you care about building stronger relationships with them. How can you do that? Start by writing an authentic yet honest story on your About page, and share meaningful information about how you are, what you stand for, what keeps your wheels spinning. 

At Pixelgrade, I’ve been running Skype calls with a wide range of customers: from small business owners to photographers, from bloggers to visual artists. Even though I only had little over 20 sessions so far, every person I talked with told me about the importance of informal, friendly, and meaningful communication. 

From the e-mails we send them (even those who are automated) to how we write blog posts or messages on social media, from how we respond to their customer support tickets to how we let them know about product updates or the release of a customization tool, everything strengthens a valuable feeling of trust. 

Each of these actions shows the fact that they are in good company and they can rely on us because the people behind the scenes deeply care about them. Moreover, we show we’re transparent because we really mean it, and we identify with this attitude when things are both great and messy, not because it became a hit nowadays, especially among digital businesses.

💡 Takeaway
Don’t be afraid to expose yourself and share what makes you-you. When it comes to communication, you can do that by being upfront across the website: from how you write content (even microcopy on the CTA buttons) to how you engage with your audience on your social media channels, show them who you are.

Pssst, do you want to learn more on this specific topic? I shared my insights about the importance of writing the way you are talking. Discover how you can make it work for yourself. 

How expressing more kindness in writing gives readers a sense of belonging?

The feeling of belonging gives people drive, keeps them together, and often acts as a powerful force which you can turn into concrete actions. Creating it requires time, consistency, authenticity, and open-mindedness. 

The way you communicate across your website can act as a catalyst. By being warm, accessible, true-to-yourself, you increase the chances to attract likeminded people. It’s not news that we are keen to stay around folks who share similar values and understanding of the world.

Deliver your message with kindness and you will start thinking of your audience as a community rather than random people.

As Malcom Gladwell, one of my favorite writers, wisely said in his book, you are the sum of the five people you are spending the most time with.

This powerful liaison occurs because it gives people a strong feeling of belonging in every touchpoint (no matter if they land on the About page, on an article you just wrote, on your portfolio, etc.) far more powerful than just being invited into a private Facebook group or Slack channel. 

Think about all the times you get back to your favorite website just because you feel the need to reconnect with those particular stories. I, for instance, revisit Paul Jarvis’ articles quite often. It reminds me of why I like being part of his tribe, and why I resonate with his approach to creative entrepreneurship.

At Pixelgrade, we invest time and energy in maintaining a cordial dialogue with our customers by sending handwritten letters and other swag. We do that not because it’s a marketing request nor because we want to sell them something extra. We highly appreciate our relationship, and we want to show them we’re grateful for having them aboard.

And yes, we aim to make sure that we show them they’re not an order number in an e-commerce report. We genuinely give a damn about the struggles they are facing with their websites. We take into consideration their insights, and we believe that in so many senses, they’re the best mirror of how good we are.

How you translate this human touch in digital communication can help you nurture powerful connections. The first step is to manifest vulnerability, to show that you are receptive, ready to leave your biases behind and to develop a long-lasting relationship with all the ups-and-down they imply.

💡 Takeaway
Share about the challenges you face and how you navigate murky waters too. Let people know how you felt during some times, what did you learn, why it was hard for you, and how did you make it work in the end. We are all more attracted to honest stories, full of ups-and-downs, because it brings us together, rather than only success case-studies where everything went okay.

Interesting in finding out what’s in it for you if you start launching vulnerable stories? I put together a few thoughts about what it takes to grow an audience. It’s a good reference to start with.

How to write genuinely about your vision of the world on the website?

How you communicate on your website with your readers indicates the values you stand for and the motivations behind your actions. Why you read certain stories, why you embrace a particular approach, what do you plan to obtain with that attitude?

Expressing a human touch doesn’t necessarily mean you are all poetry, and you do not face any struggles of problems. No. It shows that you are not afraid of being vulnerable and show up when you are up or down. 

There’s plenty of room for everyone out there to make it happen. It’s no doubt about that. However, at Pixelgrade, we’ve always been huge believers in the impact we want to have in the digital world. 

Our aim both as a business, but also as individuals, exceeds making money.

With everything we do, we try to create a meaningful legacy and leave something worthwhile behind.

One particular action we take in this sense is to communicate in-depth information about both our business and team. We publish a Transparency Report twice a year and share details regarding how much money we make, how we spend them if we brought new people on board, and so on. 

Moreover, we do something unique in the WordPress ecosystem. We document most of our marketing or product efforts and share what we learned along the way (both hard data and soft).

Basically, by doing so, we reinforce two of our core values: gratitude and care. Gratitude towards the team for their consistent involvement along the way, and care for the community we are part of by helping it became more resilient.

The simple way of publishing this analysis says something about our vision of the world, what kind of people we are, what are our values or beliefs. We do it naturally, on our terms, in our way, mostly because we want to give back because we know for a fact that this is one of the most powerful ways to shape the world we live in and make it better.

💡 Takeaway
There are no frameworks regarding how you should articulate your vision, only knowledge about what’s the difference between vision and mission. I encourage you to look inside of yourself, spend some time analyzing your values, and, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, don’t run away from the tough questions. Put your vision on the website and let your audience know how you plan to make a dent in the universe. 

Eager to see an example from us to know how to start? Read our latest Transparency Report and check out how we package such messages in a way aligned with who we are.

A few specific ways you can express your authenticity through writing:

  • Be vulnerable — share meaningful facts, present yourself on the website with everything that you represent (whims, fears, desires, ambitions, challenges); make sure you reinforce them every time you write new content to show people that you are consistent in your attitude and beliefs.
  • Talk and write in a friendly way —  don’t be afraid to use an accessible and straightforward language when creating content on your website because if this is how you express yourself in the offline world as well it will feel natural, trustworthy, and cordial.
  • Be your own voice —  showcase your personality as it is from top to toe; express gracefulness, emotion, and innocence if this is what defines you; let your tone-of-voice guide the feeling that your audience will have after reading articles on your website. 
  • Show you care — this is the essence of highlighting the human touch and being authentic, especially in the written communication; help people see that you give a damn beyond fulfilling your commercial interests and manifest kindness.
  • Be opinionated — don’t block yourself when it comes to writing down powerful statements you heavily protect or have an impact on your life; by being free in your thoughts and writing honestly about them, you will conquer people’s hearts who resonate with you.

We did not choose to manifest authenticity across our digital channels because it sounded like a good marketing tactic. We did not make a SWOT diagram to see how it will serve us.

We just embraced who we are and translated everything we’ve done in alignment with our essence.

It brought us in a place where we developed liaisons with the people who spend their money on our premium WordPress themes, but that’s just the beginning. It takes consistency and hard work to maintain this dynamic and make the most out of it. It takes two to tango, right?

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📸 Photo credits: Katerina Nedelcu

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