Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer. This week’s post is all about why you should publicize your mistakes.
I did something stupid. Really, really stupid.
And my first reaction was to hide it. Not talk about it.
Actually, that’s not quite true. As a millennial, my first reaction is almost always to talk about my immediate experiences on social media. But a split second after that, I was like, “Nope. I don’t want anybody to know about this. It’s way too embarrassing.”
But then I started to think about how powerful social media can be as a force for bringing people together over things they have in common, and guess what everyone has in common? Mistakes. We’ve all done things over the years that we’re not proud of, and ultimately, that’s what makes me feel safe in talking about my most recent mistake, which was also probably one of my dumbest.
I also got to thinking about other brand builders and small business owners who have advertised their mistakes or less-than-savory aspects of their lives/businesses online. The reaction is almost always positive.
Why? A couple reasons.
It Let’s Us Know We’re Not Alone
First, we like to know we’re not alone. It makes us feel better about ourselves to look at others and realize they’ve made similar mistakes and come out the other side just fine.
While social media has done some wonderful things in terms of bringing people together, there have also been studies that show it can make people depressed because all they see of their friends’ lives online are the best parts of their lives. They see the engagements and the weddings and the babies and all the happy family moments without seeing any of the fights or messes or mental breakdowns that are also a part of our daily lives.
This is why people respond so strongly to people who publicize their mistakes. It makes them feel better about themselves and their own lives to know that they’re not the only ones screwing up every now and then.
It Reassures Them There’s A Human on the Other Side of the Screen
Second, I’ve said time and again that one of the main goals of content marketing is to build trust and convince people there’s a human, and not just a spambot, on the other side of the screen. What better way to prove your humanity than by talking about how you messed up? People relate to that and they appreciate the vulnerability and honesty it takes to talk about your less-than-genius moments (because talking about our genius moments is easy).
What I Did
So here’s my most recent mistake:
Having gotten some food stuck in my immersion blender, I decided to just stick my finger in there and clear it out … without fully removing my other hand from the trigger.
Don’t worry. My finger is intact, but I did have to get 3 stitches (my first ever and my second trip to the ER when I was the patient). Each of the blades of the blender bit into one side of my finger and one blade went most of the way through my finger nail, though not all the way. Neither blade appears to have reached the bone or any connective tissue.
I lost an entire day of work and wasn’t able to respond to a client as quickly as she needed me to because I was waiting to get stitched up when she called me. I was scheduled to volunteer at my local animal shelter that day, but I called in sick. I was too embarrassed to tell them the real reason I couldn’t make it in, so I just told them I didn’t feel well.
That’s my story. Now it’s your turn. Please assure me I’m not alone by sharing your embarrassingly stupid mistakes in the comments below.
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