Sharing your knowledge

Sharing your knowledge can feel a bit like tearing tearing off your clothes in public – it is the stuff nightmares are made of! Many of us grew up at a time when we were encouraged to ‘keep ourselves to ourselves’ and not tell the world everything that was on our minds. Times have changed, and as you have probably noticed, people now are not in the least bit reluctant to share exceptionally personal information. I’m not certainly suggesting that sharing your knowledge also has to done in a brash and tasteless way, but times have changed, and now it is no longer considered to be rude to share your knowledge publicly – especially when it can help others. (Think of Martha Stewart and her empire that grew from sharing recipes and housekeeping tips!)

sharing your knowledgeSo what are some of the ways you can share your life story, share your poetry, or share your knowledge? It may surprise you to know that both blogs and websites can be password protected so that only those you want to see the information can do so. It is also possible to password protect single pages that may contain sensitive material. I have a client who has a huge family genealogical database site. He wants to share enough about his family, that distant relatives can see the family origins, but all contact details for family members in the current generations are securely hidden. We have taken the added precaution of telling google not to add the site to their list of sites found in searches. This doesn’t mean the site is unfindable, but it does mean it wont be very public.

This makes a safe way to begin to share life stories, share your story online, or share any stories you may write online. Down the road you may decide to publish any of this material for members of your family to keep, but I understand that it takes time – and courage – to start putting your deeper thoughts out online. You may also feel protective of your knowledge, especially if it concerns a sensitive matter or is about a family member who is still alive.

Sharing Your Knowledge

What I have found when it comes to sharing your knowledge is this; you tend to have to start sharing gently. Exposing too much makes us feel uncomfortable, and as humans we are disinclined to keep doing anything that makes us feel uncomfortable! I began by creating a family recipe book that included favourite recipes, and included family photos, but which didn’t share anything too revealing. I still keep the book ‘private’ on the site, and only buy copies to send to friends and family members. Even now, that book isn’t listed amongst the books I have created, in part because it is about my family, and in part because my book designing skills have (mercifully) advanced somewhat since then… (The book in the photo isn’t my recipe book!) Clients also generally start by sharing less personal information to get started. They will post about public events and their thoughts about them for quite some time before they are comfortable sharing their own thoughts.

So sharing your knowledge is likely to feel odd and a bit uncomfortable at first. Unfortunately you have to start somewhere, and by password protecting your content, you can start writing, and keep adding to your knowledge base for as long as you need before you feel confident about letting it go public!

Save

Telling Your Story

Many people see websites as a practical way to sell their products, ideas, courses or seminars. This is a perfectly reasonable use for websites, but today I want to add telling your story into the mix. While your product has definite value, it is unlikely to attract raving fans if you, the creator of that thing try to hide behind it.

What do I mean? I mean clients who struggle over giving me a photo of themselves to use on the site, and then produce on from 30 years ago, or solo-preneurs who hide behind the use of “we” in all their information. So why are these things a problem? People buy online because they relate to the person behind the product. They want to identify with your story, the struggles that gave rise to your eBook, the path you took to get your grandchild to be less shy. In the olden days, say 1995, people went into shops and talked to the person behind the counter (mostly) and in the process saw the marketing materials around the shop that told the story of the grocery store, the independent bookshop, the person care products. Part of the buying experience came from entering the shop and interacting with the owner or staff.

Fast forward 20 years, and you are much more likely to buy products online, and more often from people who you have never met – and who may live a continent away from you. The website gives a taste of what the product is, and a bit about the seller, but it is still a long way from meeting the seller in person and having a conversation with them. To overcome that lack of contact, it is vital that as the site owner, you allow more of yourself and your story to appear. I may love your eBook about traveling to England, but if I can find no evidence of your ever having been to England, or any travel philosophy tucked into the page, I have no idea whether your experience of traveling to England might match my expectations. I need to know whether you, as the author, have things in common with me in order to feel I can trust what you are saying.

I know this can feel scary, but it is an important part of getting your product bought. If you are uncomfortable with a ‘warts and all’ view of yourself, then craft your story from just the relevant parts of your past – you don’t need to go into gory detail, just hit the crucial spots that put together explain what caused you to create what you did, who you designed it for, and the problem it solves. It also helps to explain how it has helped you (or the recipient) so the reader can get a sense of whether this product is for them. If they want a quick fix and your system takes 90 days to work, then they will be disgruntled, and disgruntled customers go online and complain…

So think about your story when you come to write your “About Me” page. Write it offline so you can edit and never inadvertently allow something you would regret go online. Remember, this is in part your sales pitch, so it can be a tidied up version of a life event, it doesn’t need to be the version your sister or best friend might hear. Do make sure that the story has a a beginning to set the scene, a middle where you describe the problem and early attempts to resolve it, then a conclusion where you give the final result and how well it works. (Yes, that is what you were taught in school, and I ma a former teacher!)

So, what is the story behind your product?

 

 

 

Telling Your Online Story

Many people see websites as a practical way to sell their products, ideas, courses or seminars. This is a perfectly reasonable use for websites, but today I want to add telling your story into the mix. While your product has definite value, it is unlikely to attract raving fans if you, the creator of that thing try to hide.

What do I mean? I mean clients who struggle over giving me a recent photo of themselves to use on the site, but finally produce a photo from 30 years ago, or solopreneurs who hide behind the use of the plural, “we” in all their information. So why are these things a problem? People interact online because they relate to the person behind the product. They want to identify with your story, the struggles that gave rise to your eBook, or the path you took to get your grandchild to be less shy. In the olden days, say 1995(!), people went into the shop and talked to the person behind the counter (mostly) and in the process looked around the shop and saw the story behind the grocery store, the independent bookshop, the seller of personal care products. Part of the buying experience came from entering the shop and interacting with the owner or staff.

Fast forward 20 years, and you are much more likely to buy products online, and more often from people who you have never met – and who may live a continent away from you. Their website gives you a taste of what their product is like, and something about the life and tastes of the seller – but it is still a long way from meeting the seller in person and having a conversation with them. To overcome that lack of personal contact, it is vital that as the site owner, you allow more of yourself and your story to appear. I may love your eBook about traveling to England, but if I can find no evidence of your ever having been to England, or any travel philosophy tucked into the sales page, I have no idea whether your experience of traveling to England match my expectations. I need to know whether you, as the author, have things in common with me in order to feel I can trust what you are saying, and buy the product.

I know this can feel scary, but it is an important part of the process. If you are uncomfortable with a ‘warts and all’ view of yourself, then craft your story from just the relevant parts of your past – you don’t need to go into gory detail, just hit the crucial spots that explain what caused you to create what you did, who you designed it for, and – if relevant – the problem it solves. It also helps to explain how it has helped you so the reader can get a sense of whether this product is right for them. If they want a quick fix and your system takes 90 days to work, then they will be disgruntled, and disgruntled customers go online and complain…

So think about your story when you come to write your “About Me” page. Write it offline so you can edit it, and never inadvertently allow something you would regret go out online. Remember, this is in part your sales pitch, so it can be a somewhat tidied up version of your life event, it doesn’t need to be the version your sister or best friend might hear. Do make sure that the story has a a beginning to set the scene, a middle where you describe the problem and early attempts to resolve it, then a conclusion where you give the final result and how well it works. (Yes, that is what you were taught in school, and I am a former teacher!)

So, what is the story behind your project – or product?