Writing blogs from everyday experience
Writer's block. Ick. Several small business clients of mine who are wanting to write more blogs have been expressing recently how difficult it is to write and produce content on a regular basis. I happen to love getting virtual coffee with folks and working with them to coax inspiration out into the open while still maintaining brand integrity. These conversations are not only useful for the clients, but they also serve as reminders for myself when I face the same conundrum (boy, I do love that word!). Here are the prompts I've enjoyed asking my clients when we start meandering down the path to escape writer's block.
Explore your struggles. It can be really hard as a business owner to open up about those things that weigh you down - especially when you haven't grown up in the age of social media writing cryptic statuses meant for your crush (but if they actually KNEW it was about them you would DIE!!!) or spewing long venting rants on Twitter without using any names (a good ol' around the bush beating). Frequently, I find that simply asking business owners about struggles they are working through suddenly opens up new ideas...new blog post topics, new Instagram posts, etc. When we are willing to be vulnerable, we realize that our struggles can echo those of others. We can help others in their struggle when we point to a constructive solution or coping mechanism, we can connect with a potential client in a much greater way than simply writing a list of "top ten ideas for content creation" (which can be useful - but aren't there a lot of those already?). I like to look at theater and storytelling for clues into how I build a brand's personality. Think about your favorite character of all time...pinpoint the moment they were most vulnerable. Didn't you adore that moment? That's when you probably related to that character the most. I recently finished Steve Jobs' biography by Walter Isaacson. Steve was eccentric and dangerous, but hearing about his struggles with his health and sense of purpose made him infinitely more endearing to me.
What have you learned recently? Have you been thinking about a particular topic as it relates to your business? Chances are your clients might be thinking the same. Did you hear a great panel discussion recently and have some followup thoughts? Write them down! Sharing what we are learning not only provides for interesting content, but it also shows your clients that when they work with your company, they'll have the benefit of your resourcefulness. They'll get a partner who is constantly pushing the limits of their knowledge and making their product better. People will value this characteristic, and you'll get some fun new blogs out of it.
What are clients asking or struggling with? We have all had clients with questions that make us stop and think, "Wow, I didn't realize this information isn't public knowledge." WRITE ABOUT THIS! A client of mine has a list of blogs and articles she sends to clients when these situations arise. Start creating your own library of resources for these common client or project questions.
What kinds of things do you love doing in your free time? This sounds so elementary, but I find people enjoy giving their business to businesses run by folks they might enjoy spending some free time with. Perhaps this is true because when we hone in on our ideal client, we probably find that we, as business owners, enjoy the same things they do. So, what's your favorite TV show and how has it shown you what you're good at? If you like hiking, find a way to tie in the "journey" of being a business owners. What's a great movie you've seen recently, and how did it challenge your perspective? Did you have a family game night and finally beat someone in Monopoly? Write a blog about how AWESOME that is and how perseverance and pushing through emotional stress can lead to a great outcome!!!! I think these moments have hidden gems of truth buried in them that make us invaluable to our clients. Find these gems and share them in context of the experience!
These are four simple prompts...and as you might imagine, there are infinitely more questions you can ask yourself (or your client) should you be looking at a blank page. And if all else fails, follow the words of my 8th grade algebra teacher, Mr. Lamb, and "Just write something on the page! Stop wasting my oxygen! Just write something!" Seriously, the guy was a great teacher (but definitely wore dentures and would smack them as he walked around) and he took pride in reminding us that sometimes all you need to do is just write something - anything - down! I'm always willing to chat through any writing issues you may find, so never hesitate to reach out to me!
Look at the world around you, notice the small things, and find ways to share how it caused you to see your business in a different way. Your clients will thank you for your creativity, and you might find it to be even a little fun!