Last year, I attended a fantastic event in Florida called Heroic Public Speaking Live.
Or, as I now call it, “HPS Live.” That’s insider lingo.
At 8:25am on the first day, I met a woman named Brenda Barbosa.
She’d lined up right behind me to register, in the “last names A-D” line.
Brenda knew that my sister lives in Silverlake, Los Angeles.
She knew that my dad thinks everyone he meets is Jewish and that he calls rain boots “rubbers.”
She knew what I eat for breakfast (watermelon chunks), how I got my first job in TV promos, how self-conscious I am in front of the camera, and that whatever I’m doing, I’d rather be watching Real Housewives.
She’s not a creep. She’s not a stalker. She just reads my stuff.
And she made me feel great.
She made me feel famous.
Not just because she knew all the weird details of my life, but because she knew everyone at the event and told them, “Laura is one of the best copywriters in the business.”
Why’d she do that? Well, for one, she’s an extraordinarily generous person, and loves to pump people up. It’s a gift, and she should get paid a ton for it.
But also, she felt like she knew me. Like we were already friends. (And now we are.)
That’s what happens when you get personal with your writing. When you cram it with specifics, and share it with people you don’t know.
People you’ve never met feel like they know you. Sometimes, that means they can’t stand you. But the cool people? They like you. They trust you. They brag on you.
And voila — you’re famous.
Just ask my friend Ash Ambirge, who attended the event with me. During breaks, readers of her blog kept coming up to her and saying, “Are you Ash? I LOVE YOU.”
At lunch, someone walking past our table pointed at Ash’s pinot noir and said, “You do love wine.” (Ash splashes almost every post with a wine reference.)
You may have heard that, if you want to “deliver value” — whether in your blog posts, your emails, your website copy, even your ABOUT page, for crying out loud — you shouldn’t talk about yourself.
If you’re a fan of someone, isn’t it because you feel like you know them?
You don’t get people to know you and love you and come up to you by writing only about web traffic conversion or photo lenses. You’ve got to put you in there.
Show us your personality.
– What you eat for breakfast.
– How you get scared at the top of escalators.
– Your deep worry that the hotel hairdryer won’t be strong enough to make your hair shiny. (Yes, that one’s me. OK, the escalator thing, too.)
Let us know you.
Talk about yourself. OK, not just about yourself. Gotta learn to weave it in.
Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get your own Brenda Barbosa. Hands off mine, though.
I said to talk about yourself, so do. What do you want us to know about you?
Make yourself famous. If you want to be. Do you? Are you already? Let’s hear about that, too.
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
ps BRENDA — NEXT ROUND OF MARGARITAS IS ON ME.