A writer for one of my favorite TV shows, Parks and Recreation, coined a new term last year: “humble brag.” Have you heard it? A person is humble bragging when he or she tempers an obviously boastful sentiment with false modesty. Here’s a perfect example from Joe Jonas: “”Totally walked down the wrong escalator at the airport from the flashes of the cameras.”
While there are definitely some classic examples of humble brags spoken by women, I’ve found that women tend more often toward “amiable deprecation.” The term doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily, but it accurately describes what we women too often do when talking about ourselves. Instead of frankly talking about our accomplishments, we qualify them. We diminish them. We wrap them in self-effacing humor. I’m not going to get into a sociological discussion of why women do this, but many of us do. It is okay to be humble; I’d never say otherwise! But when it comes to presenting ourselves as qualified professionals, too much humility hurts.
I love writing, but the About Me section of my blog sat barely touched for years after I started blogging. I just couldn’t get over my distaste of having to write an entire page about myself. Just recently, I drew up a pitch outlining why I would be the perfect candidate to promote their fabulous product. It was hard. Harder than it should have been.
The old writing adage says “write what you know.” But it can be difficult to objectively know ourselves well enough to write about our own accomplishments without fear. If you are writing your first media kit or are looking to pitch a brand with confidence or if you just need to find the courage to attack that About Me page, check out the tips below to help conquer your fear of writing about yourself!
CHECK THE FACTS
Obsessively checking your pageviews is not a great way to build up your confidence as a professional blogger. Those pageviews will never quite live up to your hopes; as the numbers get higher, so will your expectations. It’s easy to let plateau-ing, or dropping (GASP), pageviews make you feel like a sub-par blogger. Make sure to look at those numbers in context!
Log into Google Analytics and do the following:
- Click Audience> Overview
- Click on the pull down date menu in the top right corner
- Check the box next to “Compare to”
- From the small drop down menu, select “Custom”
- In the date boxes, enter the first and last date of the VERY FIRST MONTH you started blogging
- Click Apply.
Feel better? Look at what you’ve done in relatively little time! And YOU did it! On your own! You had ideas and you published them yourself. You learned how your blogging platform worked and how to edit photos. You even joined G+. And nobody’s on G+! You did that!
BELIEVE THE HYPE
Even though you may receive the occasional troll-y comment or sniping email, I’d be willing to guess that the vast amount of feedback that you get on your blog is positive. Don’t dismiss all that admiration so easily! Take even the most superlative comment (THAT IS THE MOST AWESOMEST BLOG POST I HAVE EVER READ IN THE HISTORY OF EVARRRRRR!) for its intended purpose. You put something cool into the world that wasn’t there before.
There is no denying that blog readers are commenting far less frequently than they used to. That’s because they are showing their appreciation in other, more social ways. Instead of checking which of your posts has the most comments, look for posts that have been shared on social media. Check your analytics and ping backs to see if a project has been featured on another blog. You do good work, and other people notice it.
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
An easy way to take the edge off of writing about yourself is to stop making it all about you. Remember that any piece of writing that is published is as much about the reader as it is about the writer. Focus on the reader to take some of the heat off of yourself.
When you write your About Me page you should ask yourself: What does the reader want to know about me? Here you can include things like how you chose the name of your blog, where you live, or unique personality traits that make you stand out from everyone else. The page should help to quench your readers’ curiosity about you.
If you are creating a general media kit or a specific pitch to a brand, you should ask: What does the brand need from me? First determine what where the brand can use help (social media reach, product recognition, etc.), then demonstrate how you and your blog can fill those needs. If you’ve completed the two activities I suggested above, you should have a pretty good idea of what strengths you and your blog have to offer.
If you are still battling with some writing self-consciousness, try the following writing exercises which aim to help you recognize what a rad blogger you really are. Open blank documents and:
- Compile ALL of your blog-related credentials, accomplishments, and awards. And I mean all of them — from your college degree to magazine features to writing for other blogs. List them all. Obviously, you won’t transfer all of these items to your media kit or about me page, but it’s a good exercise to see them all written out in front of you.
- Gather testimonials. Copy down some of the most complimentary blog or social media comments you have received. Testimonials are especially great additions to pitches and media kits.
- Type “WHY I BLOG” at the top of the page. Now start writing. Don’t stop to question what you’ve written or second-guess your answers. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. Get your freewrite on.
For more blog writing tips and exercises aimed specifically at creative bloggers, check out my e-book Mad Writing Skills: A Non-threatening Guide to Grammar and Writing for the Creative Blogger.