You're a real person.
But I'm just boggled by how you don't seem like one sometimes.
You work your tush off building a valuable business.
But no one is seeing you.
You're just a faceless blog on the Internet.
(Of course, I know you're more than that. But does your audience?)
Whether you have a blog with a readership at this moment or not, your content can stand to have a little [extra] human injection.
You know it.
And so do I. (About my own, that is.)
So let's band together and upgrade our content, yeah?
With more "humanness" woven in, you'll find:
- more email subscribers at a higher subscription rate
- more shares from those email subscribers and visitors
- more engagement or responses on topics you cover
- a more trusting, satisfied audience and fan base
Sounds like a good deal, right?
Because it is. And here's exactly how you can turn your humanness into an audience and business benefiting content strategy.
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Let me explain what I mean by "humanness".
The qualities that make you a unique human being. Qualities that should seep from the pores of your content like:
- your story
- your goals
- why you do what you do
- who you are
It's being open and exposed, without sharing inappropriate information slapped across the Internet.
(Depending on what kind of business you've built or want to build, that is.)
Because you're a real person. Just like your audience are all composed of real, living, breathing people.
They want to feel like they know you.
They trust you. And they want you to succeed.
Because you're real, just like them. And if you can "do it", so can they.
But is your content conveying that?
I think grade school language arts murders creativity.
At least from back in my day...
It taught us to write inside a blunt-edged box. A cubicle that focuses more on formality than readability and communication.
I remember when Creative Writing class in college slapped me in the face with imaginative works.
Writing was tedious before that iconic class with Professor Farr.
(I remember his name after all this time... and all these kids...)
The first year was easy.
Top of my class. "Natural writer".
My peers were asking to pay me for tutoring.
But then second year rolled around.
I took Professor Farr's advanced class since, clearly, I could handle it.
He decided to make an example of me.
"A lazy writer."
I floated on the infused cockiness from first year.
He made me pay for my lazy sins this time.
The second year I worked my ass off to earn a 3.8 GPA.
I wrote creatively, sure. It was a Creative Writing class, after all.
But my writing had little depth.
My lead story characters were always robust and well defined. But the supporting roles were hollow.
They weren't believable.
They weren't real.
They had no stories. No futures. Nothing outside of lives revolving around the main character.
That's not life.
Sure, sometimes we feel like the world's spotlight follows us everywhere. But it's not reality.
(And it doesn't have a returning blog audience, either.)
Your audience online wants it to be about them. Something relatable that they can use to better or fix or do for themselves.
It doesn't make your audience selfish. It makes them human.
So, who do you write for?
How can you seem more human in your content?
It's simple, actually.
It's called a story [idea] bank.
You have a story to tell. Several, I'm sure.
Now you just need to fill up your story bank for at-the-ready stories and real examples you can use in your content whenever necessary.
1. What's a "story bank"?
A story bank is a collection of categorized stories you can draw from when you need it.
Think of it like shareable content snippets. Personal tidbits and examples you can infuse into specific topics to make them more valuable. More genuine. More relatable.
So, my "Professor Farr / Creative Writing / College" story is in my story bank.
I use the notes app on my iPhone (Simplenote). I segment my notes by tagging them with hashtag #storybank.
Within that tag, I use categories (separate notes) titled:
- On Writing
- On Blogging
- On Business Growth
- On Social Media
- On Failure
- On Being A Mompreneur
And within them, I have lists of bullet pointed stories that have happened to me or that I've observed.
These story lists help me to always have "a story" to tell.
That story that a decent blog post needs to make it pivotal in someone else's life.
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2. How do you find good stories to share?
You know how I've preached about writing things down that come across your consciousness?
The whole "Morning Pages" bit from Julia Cameron.
Well, this is where it started for me.
In Journal Entries, Brain Dump Sessions, and Notes
I'd find myself journaling in the morning, and right before bed to brain dump the stress before passing out.
A couple months ago, I decided to re-read some of my entries (in DayOne for iPhone).
I found a lot of brushed off, meaningless stress relieving quips. But there was also a lot of stories.
Stories I'd never consider beneficial to others until I went back, months later, and had a lightning bolt of:
"My readers could totally relate to this!"
There was no way I'd remember them all. So I pulled up a note on my computer and just started jotting details down.
I give each story note a title.
The title would include someone's name or a location, or a snippet to remind you of what happened.
Below it I include specific, bulleted details to help me recall or simply compose enough info to add to a post.
In Observed Everyday Life
Just like a consultant always looking for their next great client, you should be on the lookout for new stories.
Your stories don't have to be lengthy, drawn out epic occurrences.
They can be useful, basic examples you see happening around you.
They don't always have to be about you, either.
Sometimes your observations of others' situations, filtered through your eyes can be a revelatory experience for your readers.
You just need to write it down.
You never know when that, "Eh, I don't think anyone would care about this" story can be a goldmine in the future.
From Photos Or Images
A few weeks ago my husband and I were looking at pictures of our kids through the years.
It brought back an overwhelming amount of memories and emotions. And great, valuable lessons I could pass onto my audience.
Even scoping out Pixabay for royalty-free images for this post, lots of stories and ideas spawned from that hunting trip.
What can photos or images online generate for you?
In Others' Blog Content Or In Books
Ever read something and it just sparked a flood of original ideas?
Or, you realized you could "do it better"? (Write that post, but make it a heck of a lot better than that blogger's.)
There are stories in everything.
You just have to get out to find them. Sometimes it's just getting out of your own head.
Create opportunities to ignite epic stories.
3. How do you find the content to put the story in?
This one depends on who you are and how your brain works.
EXAMPLE: Sometimes I'll be writing a first draft and BAM! An unrecorded or banked story will pop into mind.
"This fits perfect."
Other times I just write the first draft. No story in mind.
When I finish the unedited first draft, with it still fresh in my mind, I'll comb through a related category of stories to find something useful.
And sometimes, a simple story from that story bank fuels an entire blog post, all in itself.
When you have to blog post idea or you're writing the first draft, sometimes the story just develops with it, too.
All you need is:
- the story bank
- moments of undisrupted observance (time outside to yourself)
- an open mind to new stories from every experience and angle of life
You'll have no issue coming up with blog post topics and having an arsenal of ready-to-grab stories and examples.
This method has proven to be great for my readers, my content, and myself.
I know it can work for you, too.
Take this post and start building the framework for your story bank today.
Label your notes or spreadsheet(s).
If you're motivated to start populating your new bank, you can jump into a brainstorming session while you're at it.
You'll love your human-infused content just as much as your audience will, too.