Writing Fresh Content that Wows Your Readers
Ask yourself, “What is no one else saying?”
Some of most popular blog posts I’ve ever written have been those that answered this question.
For example: Perhaps I would notice that I had seen a lot of blog posts about being courageous enough to take the risk of letting go of your job and striking out on your own as an entrepreneur. Perhaps I would notice that I’m actually liking the freedom that I get from working two nights a week (plus a monthlong Christmas break and an entire summer vacation) as an English professor. With that backup income, I’m freer than a lot of entrepreneurs who quit their jobs to attain “freedom” and now lose sleep over paying bills. My union-backed health insurance package is pretty sweet, too. Yet there are any number of articles out there that say that backup plans are for suckers.
So, I write a piece called: “Honey, there’s no shame in having health insurance.”
Other times, answering this question has not necessarily brought about my most popular posts, but it has spurred me to think differently about a commonly addressed issue, and given me something to write about.
For example: Perhaps I would notice that I had seen a lot of blog posts about so-called “energy vampires.” As I read one after the other, I would think,
“This concept of ‘energy vampires’ is B.S. Everyone’s talking about how to avoid so-called ‘energy vampires.’ No one is talking about taking responsibility for yourself–about how vampires can’t drink blood if there is no open vein. The answer seems to be ‘Get away from the energy vampires,’ when I think that’s a cop-out and the real answer is, ‘Quit blaming other people for how you feel when you’re around them, and do something pro-active like speak up for yourself when you feel something’s not right. That’s true power.’ ”
So, I’d write a post about how energy vampires are B.S.
There are certain topics that are going to be so utterly over-done in our industry, and it’s good for you to cover them with your own unique spin.
Then it’s good to ask what no one else is saying.
- What is no one else saying about “making your dreams come true”?
- What is no one else saying about relationships?
- What is no one else saying about running a business, online? (After copping to taking a digital sabbatical, I received more emails than you can know from other coaches–coaches you think are endlessly happy and who never have a care in the world because they roll around in their piles of money–who confessed to me that they were Burnt. Out.)
A Word of Caution
Sometimes I’ve seen someone take the “what is no one else saying?” approach and then “respond to” a blog post in a way that’s…well, combative.
I once wrote a series of posts about boundaries and they seemed to resonate with a lot of people on one concentrated day. Then someone wrote a response blog post that dismantled what I was saying, made statements that took what I wrote out of context, made assumptions about what I was saying that I actually wouldn’t have agreed with, and generally carried on a pretty condescending tone. I mean…blecch. Why do that?
Sure, people can disagree. I’m not suggesting that everyone has to play nicey-nice on the internet.
It’s all about tone.
Is the tone, “Good god, I’ve been reading all of these stupid posts on the internet about such-and-such, and I’m just sick of it” with a lot of condescending commentary? (Because that was the tone of this particular blogger).
Or, is the tone, “I’ve read a lot of these post on the internet about Topic X, all interesting to think about. I notice that this one piece isn’t being addressed. Here are my thoughts to add to the conversation.”
With the former, I look at that blogger and think, “Yikes. Remind me never to work with you.” (For what it’s worth, they clearly weren’t trying to establish a relationship).
With the latter, I think, “Someone else is engaged in the conversation, even adding to it. Let me tweet that.”
Transparency: my trigger finger gets condescending any time someone in business tries to paint running a business as easy, making six figures as easy, and you and me as hapless if we aren’t having as easy a time as they are–but we could be having an easy time, if we’d just give them some money and follow their plan…
I suppose, then, that when someone gets this way, they’re triggered by what someone else has said. Compassion is in order.
Just notice for yourself what energy you’re carrying when you’re writing. Is it the energy of “I’m right; you’re wrong”? By presenting a differing opinion, what are you hoping to accomplish?
Here’s How You Create FRESH Content:
- Within the focus that you’ve defined for yourself and your coaching practice, what are the common themes? For example, a health coach would probably identify common themes of working with nutrition, finding time for exercise, finding sources of motivation, creating a tribe.
- Brainstorm all of the common themes that you associate with your practice:
- Now ask yourself, what is already being said about these themes? What’s common? For instance, it’s common within the health coaching world to talk a lot about strategies for breaking through resistance. What else?
- Having assessed what’s commonly done, what’s NOT being said? Is there any dark underbelly to the work? For example, plenty of holistic health coaches talk about juicing programs, but few acknowledge that for some women, juicing and “clean” diets are just more “trying to control my life through my body” dysfunction.
- Keep a running editorial calendar of topics. I do this by printing out a free calendar through www.pdfcalendar.com , and then penciling in topics that I’d like to talk about. See the chapter on Creating an Editorial Calendar for more information on how to be an organized blogger. When I plan my content themes in advance, I find that I can organize around a particular theme for a few weeks, and then people come along for the ride.
- Explore dichotomous relationships. Dichotomous relationships are those where something can be simultaneously true and not true. For instance, we can look at the benefits of organization while also looking at the benefits of saying, “Forget organization!” We can be immersed in our Story while also being curious about what our Story will say next. Most people explore one side of an issue in a one-sided way. Keep your content fresh by looking at an issue from multiple sides, and acknowledging how something can be both good and bad, all at the same time, or true/false, all at the same time.