There’s no doubt that being vulnerable has value. Author Brené Brown has proven that vulnerability can transform relationships, including those between customers and business owners. Being transparent is the new customer service, but care should be taken to avoid confusing transparency for intimacy. There’s a fine line between being vulnerable and over sharing.

Transparency should feel like a warm hug that lets others know you understand, you’ve been there… You may even be there in the current moment. Transparency shouldn’t feel icky, awkward, and uncomfortable. Some things are better left for the therapist’s couch, not your content.


Content marketers know that compelling content sells. It sells airplanes, professional services, household goods, houses, and bank accounts. Show me great content deployed and promoted skillfully and I’ll show you an organization that’s mastered the art of lead generation.


When creating compelling content, it’s important to know the line between transparency and intimacy. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will help you create compelling content that doesn’t undermine your authority or make people feel weird.

Do: Do share true stories and current topics that are meaningful. Even if the topic is tough, it’s ok to share if the context is to show growth you are making, positive steps you are taking, or valuable lessons learned. Focusing on the best of a hard situation is fine. Sharing despair, hopelessness, or helplessness is never a good idea.


Do: Remember you are an authority. Your audience is looking for you to be the authority, sharing content that shows you are human, fallible, and vulnerable is one thing. Sharing content that exposes your innermost secrets is an inappropriate intimacy.


Do: Wait to share. Sometimes you are not in the best place to share information. If you are experiencing a difficult time, it might be best to wait things out and share the journey in hindsight. You may be too emotionally attached to share the content with your tribe too soon.  

Don’t: Send the wrong message. Being vulnerable can backfire when it crosses into intimacy. Sharing certain types of information with the general public may undermine your expertise and authority. Be sure your content puts you in the proper light and doesn’t look like a spotlight on every skeleton in your closet.


Don’t: Forget to share the whole journey. Follow up your transparent content with closure. Letting your tribe know how you solved a difficult problem, overcame a setback, or conquered a fear gives them the full range of information that lets them know you are human, and you are well-rounded.


Don’t: Share difficult content without a second set of eyes. Being transparent can feel powerful and helps people relate to you but it might be a good idea to have a colleague review your material if it skates on the edge of intimacy.

Being vulnerable is a great way to win friends and increase your following but it’s important to know the difference between being transparent and being too intimate. Intimacy is best reserved for your inner circle. Follow these do’s and don’ts and you’ll create compelling content that makes a genuine impact.



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Bio: Speaker Support Consultant

Deborah Northcutt is the CEO of  I am a Speaker Support Consultant who helps new and aspiring speakers find their ideal speaking opportunities. I help free you up to speak so that you can make more money and live the life that you dreamed of.


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