Creatives and entrepreneurs are a heart-centered bunch, aren’t we?
We’re all “passionate” …
and “authentic” … right? 🙂
Here’s the thing: the word “authentic” — and its cousins — started out with the most noble of intentions.
But somewhere along the way, I’d argue the word “authentic” got a smidge bit rote and tired.
Do you feel like that?
And I know, I know — as entrepreneurs, we tend to be guilty of killing words by overuse.
As a copywriter for creative entrepreneurs, “authentic” crops up on about 8 out of every 10 client questionnaires I dole out: many creatives describe themselves — or what they do — as authentic.
And I don’t doubt for a minute that you are, friend.
I do, however, want to challenge you to think outside the box when it comes to your copy. Today, I’m bringing you a list of 36 words to try instead of authentic.
Why You Should Switch It Up
According to Business Insider, “[Words like authentic] have been corrupted by those who claim to honor their meaning but do not act accordingly.”
Remember that kid who ruined recess for the whole class?
So, before you dig into this list of 36 alternative words to use, first, challenge yourself to show up as authentic IN your writing … in lieu of spelling it out.
For example: in my own brand voice doc, I say “AW voice should be Southern without ever having to say it’s Southern.”
On that note, can you be authentic … without ever having to say it?
Similarly, writer Logan Zanelli points out that the best way to develop an authentic voice is to simply “write the way you talk.”
Which brings me to …
5 Quick Tips for Writing in an Authentic Voice
Yup, I get writer’s block, too, and YES, sometimes my words tumble out contrived across a blank screen.
But over time, there have been 5 little tools that ninja’d their way in to help me sound more, well, Ashlyn.
Here my 5 battle-tested tips to writing copy that’s authentic.
1. The BFF Test (aka The Wes Test): If I say this outloud to Wes (my smokin’ hot husband), will I sound like a tool? Yes? Backspace.
2. Hit record: I typically only do this for more long-form writing, like emails or sales pages, but just use that handy-dandy voice recorder app on your iPhone. Play it back, and if you don’t like the way you sound, backspace.
3. Relax: Call me crazy, but I have to zone a bit: coffee/tea/wine, phone in a drawer, Spotify concentration playlist on, YoungLiving essential oil diffuser bumpin’ … If I feel stressed-out and rushed, I write like a robot.
4. Nix $10 words: Utilize, I’m looking at you. SAY “USE” — UTILIZE DOESN’T MAKE YOU SOUND SMARTER. When was the last time youthrew in fancy words to sound more boss? Senior year of college thesis? It’s okay. I did it too. But let’s thesaurus games like that in the college library.
5. Rewrite. If I learned anything writing copy in a PR agency for years, it was the value of “fresh eyes.” My boss on the Delta Air Lines account always told me to bake in a day to look at something with fresh eyes — aka the day after it’s written — to review before I sent it to her.
In fact … she kinda got ticked if I didn’t do this, which made me a sharper writer.
It always got the riff-raff out of my writing.
Ready? Let’s hit it!
36 Words You Can Say Instead of “Authentic” in Your Copy
So, without further adieu, here’s a list of 36 words you can fold into your about page, website, or Instagram bio that aren’t “authentic.”
Bookmark this page, or just pin the graphic below and keep it on hand!
There you have it! I even told my friend Jenna on her GoalDigger podcast last year (click here to listen!) that there are 5 words I don’t like to see in copy unless they’re backed up with data, and “authentic” was on the list.
It’s NOT that “authentic” is a miserable word — au contraire! It’s just a tish jargon-y now, dontcha think?
Challenge yourself to use one of these words next time you want to write your about page or Instagram bio and say “authentic,” ’cause you’re totally worth it.
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