Hey Ladies, Your Voice Matters and Here's How You Can Use It to Promote Your Business
“I WRITE FOR THOSE WOMEN WHO DO NOT SPEAK, FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE A VOICE BECAUSE THEY WERE SO TERRIFIED, BECAUSE WE ARE TAUGHT TO RESPECT FEAR MORE THAN OURSELVES. WE’VE BEEN TAUGHT THAT SILENCE WILL SAVE US, BUT IT WON’T” - AUDRE LORDE
Hi. I’m Anya. As a little girl, I was shy, well-behaved, and quiet. But you could never imagine that if you met me today. Adult Anya is a brazen, sassy advocate who blazes her own damn path. Growing into the woman I am today is what caused me to place so much value on my voice.
And now, as a businesswoman, I see how powerful the voice of a business owner can really be. You can manifest incredible things when you use your words with eloquence.
Why Your Voice Is So Important
Even today women still receive the message that their thoughts and opinions don’t hold any weight. And hey, it’s not just from men, it’s from other women too. But it’s all rooted in fear–– fear that the ideas of women will change and shape society in the same way men have for the entirety of history. And that fear directly leads to violence.
In other words, the female voice has been historically threatening to men because the fear of women gaining authority is too terrifying to fathom. So terrifying in fact, that men will go to great lengths to silence and undermine the voices of women.
While the silencing of women is not nearly as overt and violent in the Western world as it is used to be, it’s still very much a thing today. It can be found in the subtleties of language, bubbling up from the subconscious.
Allow me to provide some modern, everyday examples of silencing women:
Tropes of Women Talking Too Much/Tuning Out Women/Violence Towards Vociferous Women–– Remember The Little Mermaid? Remember how she had to give up her voice in order to be able to get a soul/feet to live on land? Yeah. That movie wasn’t about romance, it was about some bullshit patriarchal constructs.
Domestic Violence/Emotional Abuse
Negative Characterization of Assertive Women–– I personally have been called a bitch, a cunt, Hitler, and a slew of other insults simply for being assertive and an advocate.
Not Believing Women–– The entire #MeToo movement arose because of society not believing women when they say they’ve been sexually assaulted.
“Remember The Little Mermaid? Remember how she had to give up her voice in order to be able to get a soul/feet to live on land? Yeah. That movie wasn’t about romance, it was about some bullshit patriarchal constructs.”
— ANYA OVERMANN
In short, your voice as a woman is directly correlated to your power. Using your voice is the choice to face the fear of violence. Even in the most progressive corners of the world, it’s a choice to be radical. A woman’s voice is so threatening that when used well, it’s incredibly effective.
So to make a safer, less violent, less hateful, and better world, it’s critical for women to use their voices. It’s critical for you to use your voice.
Harnessing that power to promote your business is taking it to the next level. If a woman using her voice is radical, a businesswoman using her voice is revolutionary.
HOW TO USE YOUR VOICE TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS
Business owners can hold a lot of influence. When your livelihood is dependent on getting and keeping attention in order to build relationships that yield profit, you have to be compelling.
If you’re a woman, that’s a bold choice. You’re accepting the responsibility to influence male consumers. And even if your products or services aren’t targeted toward men, your business can still have influence over them–– and that can welcome a lot of unwanted interactions. Sometimes sexual harassment, sometimes misogynist remarks, many times being disrespected as a business owner. (Misogyny is so very real in business).
So what can we do as women to promote our businesses despite the inherent gender bias?
Here are some tips for embracing your voice to build your business:
The way you communicate and present yourself often says more about you than your talents. To connect with consumers of your content and potential clients, you have to know who you are to them first.
Here are some questions to consider before you begin creating content:
How do you want to be perceived by the people you interact with?
How don’t you want to be perceived by the people you interact with?
What problem(s) are you most passionate about fixing?
How do you want to make people feel?
How don’t you want to make people feel?
What differentiates you from other businesses that do what you do?
For example, I know that I want to be perceived as strong, inspirational, knowledgeable, and creative to the people I interact with. I don’t want to be perceived as incompetent, inconsistent, or unreliable. I’m passionate about using the voices of brands to best promote them, and about advocating for people and issues I care about. I want people to feel empowered and cared for when I work with them because I’m intentional and strategic with the content I create–– and that’s what differentiates me from other content creators.
Because I’ve sorted all this out about myself and my business, I can speak and write very confidently. And when you’re confident, it’s so much easier to promote anything.
CREATE AND SHARE CONTENT
The best way to get your business exposure is by creating content. Sharing your thought leadership in your own voice and style is key to standing out from the noise. Consistently sharing your thought leadership and engaging with others is ultimately what will grow your business.
It may sound daunting to commit to consistently creating content. You may think you just don’t have the time to create content on a consistent basis when you’re already busy doing the work of your clients. But unless you harness the power of your voice to develop your business, your business just won’t grow.
And “creating content” doesn’t have to just mean writing a piece for your blog every week. Here are some other methods of using your voice to make content for your business:
Imagery or infographics
Social media posts
Contributing to someone else’s blog
Automated email campaigns
Speaking at events
Networking at events
Simply speaking to someone one on one in a business setting is creating content while engaging with content. Content is the basis for all relationships.
And you don’t always have to create 100% original content. Repurposing and recycling content is actually strategic in reinforcing your voice.
What’s repurposing, you ask? It’s simply taking pieces of content you’ve created before and using them for a new piece of content. For example, let’s say you create a video and share it on social media. You can then repurpose the video into a piece for your blog by transcribing it. You can use multiple chunks of that written text as posts for your social media, either as quotes or as ideas. You can also use pieces of that written content in an email to your subscribers.
Repurposing content saves you time and ups your content game.
EMBRACE YOUR UNIQUENESS
Your unique passions are the fuel for your authentic voice. When your speech or writing lacks authenticity, it also lacks the jus that inspires action. If there’s no heart in it, no spirit or drive, how will others be motivated to support your business?
For example, I’m passionate about a slew of socio-political issues. For a while, I tried to suppress these passions at work and focus solely on what I’m hired to do. Not only did that make me super unhappy, people weren’t engaging with me as much because they could sense I wasn’t being my true self.
When I embraced that I need to be outspoken and advocate for the issues I care about and that I want others to feel they can do the same, people started engaging with me and my business more. You know why? I stand out. I know what I want and I speak up. And I’m a woman.
You have to be all in, baby. You have to embrace what you care about. That’s how you motivate others to take the action you want them to take.
Ladies, we can’t afford to be set back any farther than we are in this world. It’s imperative to take the high road every time, especially in business. Business inherently involves persuading people and unless you know the difference between persuasion and propaganda, you could be using your voice to be manipulative.
Persuasion uses sound reason to incite some sort of action. Propaganda incites that same action through manipulation and dishonesty. Know the difference and be responsible with your voice.
Please don’t sabotage the progress we’ve made as women by using unethical behavior to promote your business. (I’m looking at you, Ivanka Trump.)
We’re all faced with the choice as women to speak up or remain silent. As business women, we have no choice but to speak up. By knowing who you are and embracing your passions, you have the tools to advocate for your business and yourself, so long as you do it ethically. There are many ways to create and repurpose content. Get creative. Your business will benefit as a result.
Meet the Author: Anya Overmann
Anya is a content creator, marketer, advocate, and Humanist from St. Louis, Missouri. When she’s not marketing her Uncle’s gymnastics business or teaching gymnastics herself, she’s busy running her own business. Anya provides digital marketing and content services to small businesses. She’s on a mission to empower others to affect change using their voices, not only in business but in all aspects of life.
Anya loves to travel and is active in Humanist communities internationally. She’s a vocal advocate of human rights, science and reason, and social justice. Anya’s long-term goal is to become a digital nomad and roam the world freely while promoting Humanist values through her business.
You can find her on Instagram @anyaovermann