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Chapter
7

Identify what makes you an [E]xception

We’ve got the PI of the PIERS framework, so now it’s time to make PIE! We’re talking about Exceptions, i.e. the surprise element that wows people. What makes you different? What makes you quirky? Your Principles and Interests are important, of course, but this is the part of PIERS that makes you stand out on Twitter. 

Exceptions can be a little scary to newer Twitter users because the best ones don’t have universal appeal. Remember: The goal is to make you stand out. That means there are going to be people who don't like the things that are special or weird about you. And that’s fine! Those are probably not the people you want to work with. 

Here are some questions to help you figure out what your Exceptions are: 

  • What are three true things about me?

  • What are three special things about me? 

  • What makes me different from my colleagues?

  • Would sharing this scare people away? 

Here’s what I found out about myself:

  • I’m obsessed with my family. You probably already knew this about me—and so do my Twitter followers. That’s because my family is the most important thing in my life, so I want to emphasize it as much as possible. If someone isn’t into cheesy wife and daughter content, that’s fine!

  • I’m silly. Business is important to me, but it can be so boring. I’m pretty joyful and silly in real life, so even though I talk about business all the time, I want to bring those qualities to my online presence. On Twitter, I do that by adding a broccoli emoji next to my name—because I love eating broccoli. It not only shows my fun side but also is a great conversation starter.

  • I’m casual. You hear “business guy” and think “suit and tie,” but I’m not like that. To show the internet that I’m casually conversational, I write things like  “lol” and ”hahaha” and use emojis in my tweets, blog posts, and newsletters. It communicates that I’m not your stodgy, old-school business dude.

Here are some real-life examples that show off these qualities:

In this tweet, I’m showing how important my family is to me, while also giving my audience a little peek into my daily life. 

Here the combination of mentioning my daughter (“my daughter runs from me”) and the broccoli emoji piqued Padraig’s interest enough that he reached out directly. That’s the kind of interaction you should be looking for on Twitter because a freelancer’s network is the best way to get work. The more personal connections you make, the better.

In this example, you can see how my more casual tone resonates with my intended audience. (Plus the broccoli, of course!)

Exercise: Exhibit your Exceptions

Now it’s your turn. Figuring out your Exceptions is the first step to coming up with the wow factor for your Twitter profile. Take a minute to reflect on these questions and write down responses for each of them.

  • What are three really true things about me?

  • What are three special things about me? 

  • What makes me different from my colleagues?

  • Would sharing this scare people away? 

Now,  highlight the key Exception in each section. 

What did we learn?

What is an Exception?

Why is it important to include Exceptions in your Twitter profile?

What are two of your Exceptions?

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