The Invisibility Dilemma: Telling Your Story in Public

My framework, the REACH Visibility Trajectory is all about assembling the building blocks so you can show up and convert your audience. The only problem? Sometimes it’s all too easy (and comfortable) to be invisible. By failing to tell your story in public new prospects won’t discover you, and your existing audience may forget you do whatever it is you do. 

More on that in a minute. The key thing to know here is that no one knows what you’re working on behind the scenes unless you share it with them

That means building your offers in public.

Sharing client success stories.

Talking about your process.

Repeating the same topics over and over to establish authority. Because no one is going to read something from you and say “huh, they said this same thing last week.”

Yet so many of us don’t tell our story in public.

I recently shared this video about The Invisibility Dilemma for business owners — it’s short and definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

 

Prefer the reader’s cliff notes? Here goes.

Invisibility is (too) comfortable.

Sure, there are times when it’s good to be invisible.

Like, when you’re sneaking downstairs for a midnight snack and you don’t want the dog to sense when you open the fridge and wake from a deep sleep with a hankering for cheese (and wake up the whole house).

Or when you’re playing fly on the wall at your spouse’s party and your inner introvert is winning.

Or when you’re a cat hiding from your pouncing friends (or the mouse you should probably catch but you just don’t wanna).

But when you’re in business, the last thing you want to be is invisible.

Because no matter how hard you might work behind the scenes, if no one knows about what you do or what you’re building, they won’t be know to go to you, purchase your offer, or share it with your friends.

So it’s important to be the opposite of invisible — and plant your flag loudly and proudly.

Visibility + Authority = Sales

Because visibility is one of the most important factors in sales. In fact, I often say that visibility + authority = sales. 

So how do you create visibility and authority? You follow the steps in my framework–and I can show you how.

If it’s so important to be visible, why is it so uncomfortable? I have thoughts here that relate to many of us being told to take up less space in our lives, but that’s another story.

Believe me when I say I get it. It can feel risky to put yourself out there.

Even when you’re in sales, when you’re doing anything that’s related to being in public, regardless of what your job is, there is a level of uncomfortableness. But that’s where you learn to take risks, and that’s where the magic happens. 

And I’m not talking about true danger. There are safe risks—like opening a business, which you’ve already done, or showing clients how you can help them meet their goals.

Showing up definitely requires having the right messaging and being able to tell your story to your audience. But that only goes so far when it comes to bypassing your default invisibility setting.

The rest of it lies in actually following through, telling your story, and showing off your expertise.

 

Breaking the Invisibility Barrier

Here 9 things you can do to ease your way into breaking the Invisibility Barrier.

  1. Send an email to your list about something you’re building behind the scenes.
  2. Post to social media about one of your services even if you’ve been doing it forever (because someone needs a reminder).
  3. Reach out to two people you haven’t spoken with in 2-3 months or more for a coffee chat.
  4. Post to social media about an experience you had that was an aha moment.
  5. Create a post for social media that highlights what you know and sets you up as an expert.
  6. Pitch a podcast.
  7. Pitch a reporter (through HARO or Help a B2B Writer).
  8. Go live on your favorite platform (if it’s intimidating and you don’t know what to talk about, invite a friend on for an interview and talk about their business).
  9. Repurpose any of yoru pitches or content into an email for your list.

 

The (in)Visibility Challenge

If you’re reading this you may struggle with visibility in your career or your business. So, I’m challenging you to commit to doing three visibility activities once a week for the next six weeks. Choose three things above and say out loud that you’re going to do them. Or heck, post it on social!

It doesn’t have to be the same three every week, but picking a path can help you stay consistent. 

 

Want to skip to a specific section?

Here’s a quick overview of what to expect and where to find it.

Take a peek through the below timestamps so you can find exactly what you’re looking for to get some audio.

Chapter 1: Introduction to Visibility (Timestamp: 02:14-06:01)

Importance of being visible in business

Talking about the things you normally talk about

Sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses of your business

Building trust and attracting ideal customers

Chapter 2: Overcoming Invisibility (Timestamp: 06:01-07:55)

Facing the fear of showing up and being visible

Taking action and committing to visibility activities

Challenging yourself to do three visibility activities per week for six weeks

Building comfort and confidence in talking about your business

 

Chapter 3: Visibility Activities (Timestamp: 08:07-12:37)

Sending emails to your list about what you’re building

Sharing experiences and launches on social media

Answering questions and starting conversations

Reaching out to colleagues and past clients for coffee chats

Pitching podcasts and reporters to showcase your expertise

Going live on your favorite platform and engaging with your audience

Repurposing conversations and content for additional platforms

 

Chapter 4: Accountability and Follow-through (Timestamp: 12:45-13:35)

Committing to the chosen visibility activities for six weeks

Building accountability and following through on your commitments

Allocating time for these activities and scheduling them

Sharing your progress and tagging the speaker for support and feedback

 

Chapter 5: Conclusion and Invitation (Timestamp: 13:35-end)

Encouragement to take action and set aside time for visibility

Inviting further conversation and assistance with website copy

 

Note: The timestamps provided are approximate and may vary slightly depending on the specific audio/video source.

Want to read along as you watch or listen?

Here’s a transcript of the video. (Beware of AI-transcription errors 🙂 )

00:02
Hello. It’s a rainy hat day here, so you can see that in my caption. It’s hat day. So today I want to talk about something that is probably apropos for Hat Day, because it’s really hard to get visible. And it’s really easy to make excuses as to why it’s better to stay in visible. Because invisible is comfortable, but it’s too comfortable, especially when you’re in business and there’s any number of excuses that we can be making. I don’t have my hair and makeup done. It’s a hat day. I don’t know what to say. I can’t come up with any ideas. I am stumped. I have writers block, I have speakers block. I’m not comfortable speaking in public. I’m not comfortable writing in public. I’m not comfortable planting a flag and owning it. I’m not comfortable doing any number of things right. And so while I don’t ever want to encourage people to be toxically comfortable, and by that I mean breaking barriers that you aren’t comfortable breaking, because you have to show up in an authentic way when you’re in business.


01:14
Even when you’re in sales, when you’re doing anything that’s related to being in public, regardless of what your job is, there is a level of uncomfortableness that’s there, and that is where you learn to take risks, and that’s where the magic happens. And I’m not talking about risks like all of a sudden taking up cave jumping. Can you cave jump anyway? Caving, cliff jumping, bungee jumping, if you’re not comfortable doing it. But there are safe risks like opening a business, which you’ve already done. There are safe risks like going into sales. There are safe risks like showing up for yourself, where as long as you’re not doing anything overtly controversial, most people are there to support you. And it doesn’t matter if they are your friends and family. It doesn’t matter if they’re your colleagues. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone else on the street.


02:06
If you’re doing something for yourself, they 100% want to support you. So taking that risk of, what if I fail out of it? Getting visible is really just about talking about the stuff that you normally talk about. So my email today to my list and a post that I made on LinkedIn are all about the importance of visibility and how critical visibility is to sales. Because as you increase your visibility, you are also increasing your authority. And that’s when the magic happens with sales. And there’s a number of ways that you do that. Sure, you do market research, you figure out your brand messaging. You write really great website copy that attracts your ideal customer, and any other kind of copy as well. You’re developing powerful funnels, and then you’re fueling them. You’re driving traffic to them, whether it’s through content marketing, whether it’s through advertising strategy, whatever that looks like.


03:01
But getting visible is the best way for people to know what you’re doing, because you can hide out in your coffee cave. Erin Pennington looking at you. You can hide out in your coffee cave and go forth and create all of these really cool offers. You can do all of these things behind the scenes, but if you don’t tell anyone what they are going to stay behind the scenes. Now, there’s times when it can be good to be invisible, but not any situation here in business. So, for example, I posted last week, I don’t always build funnels on Fridays, but when I do, it’s usually because I have a summit coming up that I’m speaking at and I need to get my act together. I need to get my ducks in a row. And just the simple act of that simple behind the scenes glimpse into the things that you’re doing, into the things that are happening behind the scenes shares, not just the struggles and like, oh my gosh, I forgot I have to do this.


03:59
This is insane. But also it makes it possible for people to know what’s going on in your business. And it’s like when you first go into business, especially if you’re a freelancer, it can be like, oh, I’m not a copywriter yet. Oh, I’m not a graphic designer yet. But no one’s going to hire you if you don’t say that you can do it. So instead, you can put graphic designer in your bio, in your headline, whatever platform you’re on, because people will then know to come to you. And that’s when it’s your job to be transparent about what your experience is, what your skills are. And again, this is typically advice for freelancers, but the same is true for businesses if you’re like, oh, I don’t have enough of a following yet. I’m too new, or I’ve been doing this forever. I should have more followers.


04:50
So I’m embarrassed to throw this out here. Don’t be. That is where you start, and you have to start somewhere. So it’s important to be the opposite of invisible in Zootopia, which is one of my favorite movies, because all of my movies right now that are in my favorites for the last ten years are animated. But Zootopia there’s like, he was the opposite of friendly. He was unfriendly. And so that’s what I’m thinking. I’m like, you want to be the opposite of invisible. You want to be visible. You want to figure out what you want to stand for. You want to figure out what you’re building and then tell people about it. Because I talk about messaging. I’m a messaging strategist. But having good messaging only gets you so far. Having a compelling brand story only gets you so far. Having great product or service messaging only gets you so far.


05:46
You actually have to implement it in your marketing plan. You actually have to use it. You actually have to use that messaging, tell your story, show up so that people know exactly what you’re talking about. You have Rob’s in the comments. He’s like, I love the motor vehicle scene, Zootopia. Hands down, it’s all sloths. If you have not seen the DMV, which just cracks me up. Again, one of the best movies ever. So before I get too far off track and confuse myself here, the rest of it lies in actually following through. It lies in telling your story. It lies in sharing your expertise, and it means getting visible. Even if it’s a HAP day, even if you’re showing up on LinkedIn, you’re like, I really should be professional here, because there’s no perfect day. It’s like, there’s no perfect time to start. If you waited till you were ready, you’d never start.


06:38
If you waited till it was perfect, you’d never start. So you just have to show up. So what does that look like? How can you show up when you’re stuck, when you’re feeling like, no, I want to be invisible, like, no, I want to hide out in my coffee cave. No, it’s a rainy day. All I want to do is hunker down with a cup of tea or tomato soup and just hang out. You have permission to do that, first of all. But more importantly, there comes a time when you just have to do it, when you just have to take action. So if you have struggled with getting visible, if you have struggled with sharing what you do, with building your offers in public, with talking about the things that you’re doing, with giving people behind the scenes glances at your business because you’re uncomfortable showing up, not perfect, I want you to throw all of that out the window.


07:31
And I’m issuing a challenge, and this is the challenge that I issued to my email list. I am making it live on video today. I want you to commit to doing three visibility activities once a week for the next six weeks. And I want you to see what starts to shift in terms of your conversations, in terms of how you’re building a comfort level, doing things. My friend Amy Collins has an amazing program that’s designed to help you just build this habit of talking and writing and telling your story. So here are some things that you can do. Send an email to your list about something you’re building. Maybe it’s a behind the scenes, like, hey, showed up live today, wore a hat, wasn’t super comfortable with it, but, hey, I’m here. Maybe it’s like, hey, I don’t always build funnels on Fridays, but when I do, it’s because I’m playing catch up in my own business.


08:31
You can be talking about things like that. You can be talking about an upcoming launch, an experience that went well. You’re talking about the things that you’re doing. You’re building people’s trust in the fact that you actually know what you’re talking about. And you’re starting to build this habit of talking about your business. Because, again, if no one knows what you’re doing. It’s very hard for them to know to come to you for it. So sending an email to your list, that’s one thing. Post to social media about one of your services, even if you’ve been doing it forever because someone needs a reminder. What are some of the questions that people are asking you? How can you answer that? To show what you know and really start some conversations. Don’t want to do social media, don’t want to do an email right now? Great.


09:22
Reach out to two people you haven’t spoken with in at least two to three months for a coffee chat. These can be colleagues. These can be past clients. It should be like a no pitch catch up where you’re just letting go of the outcome. You’re like, hey, I just want to know what you’re up to. Can we have copy? And maybe you talk about the fact that it’s raining cats and dogs. Maybe you talk about the fact that it’s been scorching. Maybe you talk about the fact that being a parent is so challenging right now and navigating all of the activities, whatever. It doesn’t matter what you talk about. You can talk about business, sure, but you don’t have to. Some more social media post ideas. So that’s three things. Email, social media about your services. Reach out for coffee chats. Post a social media about an experience you had that wasn’t AHA moment.


10:10
What was something. And it doesn’t have to be business related. It could be like, oh, today I realized that not all dog booties are created the same. You could tell a story about it. Today I realized that maybe or I wish I had known that. I wish I’d known that. It was so easy to propagate plants. I am deep in the plant talk vibe right now. By the way, another social media post idea. What’s something that highlights what you know, what do people come to you for? What are some of the questions you see? What are some of the best advice you see? What are some of the worst types of advice you see? So those are all social and email ideas. Plus reaching out to two people. Pitch a podcast that does not require showing up in public yet. It requires just reaching out to someone, seeing if they’re looking for guests.


11:05
Pitch a reporter, sign up for Haro or help a B, two B writer and see what kinds of advice people are looking for. See what kinds of information they need. Then craft a really amazing pitch that goes into as much detail as possible while simultaneously only being relevant to not only being relevant, but actually being relevant. As someone who has used this for articles, you would be amazed at how many people submit things that have absolutely no relevance to what you’ve actually asked for. So we’ve talked about pitching, we’ve talked about social posts, we’ve talked about copy chats, we’ve talked about emails. Go live on your favorite platform. Now, going live can be really intimidating, especially like the aforementioned Hat Day. If you’re a woman, maybe no makeup or you just don’t feel ready either. There’s clutter in your background. It’s never going to be perfect.


12:01
So go live. And if it’s intimidating, invite a friend on. Do a show. Ask them some questions about their business, do some back and forth. Create almost a panel about something that you both know a lot about. And lastly, any of this stuff that you’ve done, this podcast pitch, this reporter, pitch, these emails, these social posts, some of these coffee chats, repurpose any of that into content to additional social platforms or to an email or any of the above. Some of those conversations can create really great content that again, sets you up as this expert. So I gave you nine things and I asked you to commit to three of them for six weeks. Drop it in the comments, let me know what you’re going to try because it’s really a great opportunity to build some accountability in. And most importantly, don’t just say you’re going to do it, actually follow through.


13:00
Do it. Set aside an hour of time, two or three days a week to do these things and maybe you get a bunch of stuff cranked out. Just pop it in and get it scheduled. And then feel free to tag me in the content. Forward me your emails. I want to see what you’re doing to get visible because that’s where the magic happens. Again. Brand messaging is amazing. Website copy is amazing. That’s what I do. People also stick around for content marketing strategy because I can help them turn that messaging into visibility so that they’re working the messaging that I’ve given them. So want to chat about any of that, let me know very much. Looking forward to future conversations about this stuffy.

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