The When and How of Sharing Your Personal Story

A few years ago a blogger asked me for advice on how to come up with ideas for their posts.

My answer?

Rummage through your brain for what hurts, and then write about it.

Most of you who have been following me for some time know that I do not like personal blogs. You know, the ones that share intimate details about what the cat had for lunch or stuff like that.

But I do know that sharing a personal story can be the most powerful and effective tool a blogger can use, so today we’re going to discuss the when and how of sharing your personal story.

Continue reading “The When and How of Sharing Your Personal Story”

See, Read, Think, Feel

You can tell. Just after reading the first few sentences, you know. Reading that blog post is going to change you.

In fact, you are so affected by its message you can’t help but share it.

We’ve all experienced content like this. But the question remains: how to create it?

If you’re serious about blogging, your goal is to create content that makes people pay attention, think, and feel.

And I believe that we should keep in mind these very elements as we do our best to craft an experience that will have a profound effect on our readers.

Continue reading “See, Read, Think, Feel”

Why Emotion is The Key to Great Blogging

We like to think of ourselves as rational beings. Intellectual curiosity took us to the moon and back, beat terrible diseases, and invented the Internet.

But if you think about it, emotion always wins. The man who conquered and lost empires might have only cried when the love of his live broke up with him. We use our brains, yes, but it is our hearts that dictate most of our actions.

If your aim is to persuade, you have to use emotions. The part that tells itself “I’ll have that” is emotional. It’s funny how it works, actually. We decide on an emotional level, and then we rationalize.

Greed is… good. But so is fear.

As Gordon Gecko used to say, greed is good.

In a way, greed is a manifestation of fear – fear of not being able to provide for your family, fear of losing everything and living under a bridge.

You can capitalize on fear, you can sell stuff to folks who have the most to fear, but you can also write in such a way that people feel what you want them to feel.

Pain is the secret ingredient

Fun fact: phantom fear (and its cousins, social isolation and embarrassment) are used a lot because readers often build up imaginary fear-based scenarios to be much more frightening than even a very difficult real problem.

The other advantage of pain is that it tends to linger. We all remember our most painful moments (whether physical or emotional) and can recall them in vivid detail.

We are scared, lonely, and tired, and wish we wouldn’t have to be lonely alone.

It was Blaise Pascal who stated that all of man’s troubles derive from him not being able to sit still in an empty room. Our desire to connect with others is so strong that at times it conflicts with our self-preservation instinct.

Let’s take a blog who has built a genuine community. The blogger acts as a conversation proprietor, greeting commenters by name, welcoming them back. That conversation becomes a powerful emotional benefit. It doesn’t actually matter that most readers never post a comment. They still benefit from a sense of belonging to a warm, comfortable community, by reading what other folks discuss.

We love to entertain you!

People waste a ton of time watching cats being cats on Instagram, because it is entertaining.

That’s a different way to make people feel something.

Make your readers laugh. At least make them smile.

If you want to get results with your blog, use emotions to your benefit. Also, don’t forget to include an element of connection.

Fear or pain might bring them in the door, but it’s connection that will keep them coming back for more.

What Makes The Difference Between A Meh Blog and a Great One

Think of some famous, long-dead person you genuinely admire. Think of this person’s life. What made them worthy of your admiration?

Can you sum up this person’s life in one sentence?

I bet you can.

Yes, the saying is jack of all trades, master of none, but it’s better than master of one, but the truth is that we often spread our resources too thin to become successful at any one thing.

Is your blog like that?

How long does it take you to explain what your blog is about? Continue reading “What Makes The Difference Between A Meh Blog and a Great One”

Warning: 7 Signs You’ve Become a Verbal Narcissist

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You sit down at your desk, hoping to write up a quick blog post. Then an idea hits you. It’s vague at first, but you recognize the distinct voice of possibility: this could be really good. So you start writing a post, becoming more convinced with every word that you’re onto something.

The feeling grows and grows until your fingers are flying across the keyboard.

You’re really punching those damn keys.

The words are flowing, and you’re saying exactly what you want to say, exactly the way you want to say it. You bring the post to a close with an ending that you can only describe as, “Perfect,” and then pause to read what you’ve just written.

A smile spreads across your face. It’s clever, original… brilliant. Not even a second of hesitation before publishing it on your blog. “I can’t wait to see what they say about that,” you think. You walk away from the computer, sure you’ve written a masterpiece.

A couple of hours pass and you come back to reread your post. Uhm… this post isn’t brilliant. It’s arrogant, disconnected, and desperate for attention.

“What was I thinking?” you ask yourself. And I’ll tell you: you weren’t thinking. You were drunk on your own words. Continue reading “Warning: 7 Signs You’ve Become a Verbal Narcissist”

Ah, The Joy of Being a Beginner Again

In case you missed the last couple of posts I shared with you, I am actively building a new platform on Medium.

If you’re just now hearing about this, or if you want to grow your audience on that platform, read on to find out how I gained over a thousand followers, earned over $100, and got a bunch of blog posts curated in a month and a half.

Continue reading “Ah, The Joy of Being a Beginner Again”

The Ultimate Blogging Checklist

Come on, be honest. It’s like this blogging thing betrayed you a bit.

Once upon a time, you looked at blogging and thought, “Oh, I can do that. Writing a few posts a week? Piece of cake.” From the outside, it looks so simple, so easy, so fun, and so you rushed off to start a blog of your own.

But then you realized: this stuff is complicated. Blogging isn’t so much about writing blog posts as it is about juggling dozens of little odds and ends, all of them important, all of them demanding your attention, and all of them requiring you to learn something.

And it’s easy to drop the ball, so to speak, and not because you want to neglect anything, but because it’s too much to keep track of.

What you really need is a checklist of sorts — an itemized breakdown of everything you need to do to transform your blog and dazzle your readers. That way, you can stop trying to handle everything all at once and just go through it one step at a time.

So, that’s what I created for you: a checklist of 52 things you need to do to help you learn how to do this blogging thing well.