The weekend before last, I told my family where to go. The trouble is, I gave them the wrong directions.
Fortunately everything turned out great and not just because we eventually arrived at the right destination. No, even though extra miles were traveled and time was lost, my big blunder and the subsequent lessons learned have all the makings of an inspirational yet informative blog post.
We bloggers tend to think of inspiration as being mysterious and ‘out there,’ but the truth is, inspiration usually arrives in the form of a big glob of goo that goes *splat* against the windshield of our lives.
Unfortunately, we’re usually so busy wiping up the mess and cursing the source of the goo that we miss the blog post potential.
Let’s say you just got laid off from your job. Chances are, your first reaction isn’t, “Wheeeeee!!! Now I’ll never run out of things to write about!”
Maybe it should be though . . . .
Because it’s in moments like these–those times when your world is being shaken and stirred and your human-frailty undies are showing–that you have the greatest ability to write posts that resonate with your readers.
Now, maybe those readers didn’t just get thunked on the noggin with a big life-lemon like losing a job, but they’ve all lost something. Whether they lost their their favorite sock monkey, their hair, their nerve, or their one true love, they’ve experienced the universal feelings loss–or any life-lemon– brings, like fear, regret, shame, disappointment, sadness, and anger.
And it’s through those universal feelings that you have the potential to make the most powerful connections with your readers.
Here’s how to make it happen:
- Know your lemons. Create four columns in a notebook or computer spreadsheet. In the first column, write down all of the situations in your life you can think of that trigger uncomfortable feelings like stress, overwhelm, fear, embarrassment, etc. Paint vivid pictures as you make your list. Rather than saying, “being unemployed,” write down specific ways being unemployed affects you, such as, “an ever-expanding stack of unopened bills on my kitchen counter.”
- Acknowledge your feelings. Use the second column to record the emotions these situations bring up, like, “I feel paralyzed and hopeless every time I walk by those bills.“
- Link to your readers. Thinking of your niche and target audience, move to the third column and list circumstances that would trigger similar feelings in your readers. For example, if your blog is about cooking and your target audience is working moms, you might write, “My reader feels paralyzed and hopeless when she comes home from work and everyone’s waiting for her to fix dinner.”
- Share your lessons and offer solutions to readers. The fourth column is for jotting down notes on things you’ve learned from dealing with your life-lemon that might also bring relief to your reader’s situation. As an example, you might write, “Just as I accepted the fact I need help to deal with my finances, my reader needs to accept she needs help in the kitchen. Some options for getting this help include enlisting her husband or older kids to share the workload or hiring someone a few hours a week to shop and cook.”
- Mix things up your way. There are many varieties of real-life lemonade and plenty of different pitchers to pour it from, and it’s the same thing with blog post lemonade. Your chart will give you all the ingredients you need for an abundance of inspiring, informative content, but it’s up to you to decide exactly how to use your personal stories and solutions to flavor, sweeten, and blend each post for ultimate reader satisfaction.
Just remember to keep a watch out for incoming, low-flying, goo-splatters at all times, and you’ll never run short of blog post inspiration again
Your Turn: Do you use personal challenges and life lessons as material for blog posts?