The other day I was talking to one of my clients who is a divorce coach. We were reviewing her emails and social posts because she was trying to figure out how to make more of a connection with her ideal clients.
Her personal story is probably all too familiar to many women facing the reality they need to leave the marriage. But I noticed what she was sharing was vague.
She mentioned her ex’s infidelity, but shared no specific examples and little about how it made her feel. The result is that while it was honest, it didn’t really tap into the emotion and pain of the betrayal.
So I asked about a specific memory— had she ever seen a text from one of the women and how did it feel? Turns out, that is exactly what happened and she shared the experience with me. Even though this happened years ago, the pain is still there and it is raw.
Be specific with your stories
That is what she needs to share. That is how the women who need her will know she completely understands them.
Sharing your own story is an important part of content creation. The stories don’t have to be as painful as my client’s and the day she realized her husband was having an affair. The story of the moment she realized her life was more joyful without him is equally powerful. Or the story of how the cat fell off the counter and got back up again can be a great analogy for picking your life back up and moving on.
How do you do this? There are three steps.
Create a story library
Millions of incidents comprise our life stories. Some are always with you near the front of your mind. Others you bury deeper, sometimes because they are painful, but often because they were just another thing that happened.
Your story library is where you keep a list of the stories that may be relevant to your audience. I do it by opening a new document, quickly jotting down enough to jog my memory later (usually the highlight of the story and why I think my audience will like it). Then I save it with a title that relates back to the audience. I store them all in a folder on my computer of stories and I go to them when I need inspiration.
Yes, I do this throughout the day as things occur to me because that’s kind of how memories resurface. If I’m not at my computer, I pull out my phone and make a quick note or voice memo.
To use them effectively, you must uncover them and own them. And this you do by journaling.
Journal (using story journal prompts)
Sometimes you have a memory and you aren’t really sure how to talk about it. Or, you can’t pull any memories up. This is where journaling comes in. It’s not only a cathartic and meditative practice, it will fill your story library up.
I created a download of journal prompts designed to help you uncover the stories that will really connect to your audience.
By the way, you don’t have to write pages and pages. However it comes out when you are journaling is fine. My journal entries are very short. I do use pretty journals. I find I’m more willing to do it if I absolutely love the journal I’m writing in.
Observe the world around you
Many of my best stories come from daily life, and you don’t have to be the star. For example, my friend decided NOT to paint her new shop perfectly because it was more important to finish the big job and open! While I was there and had the conversation with her, the story is not really about me. But the story of imperfect action is an important message I share with my audience, so I shared this example in an email. I was there in the story, it’s my memory, but the event was just a normal moment in life.
I think sometimes those are the best stories because they show who you are. You now know I enjoy hanging out at a tea shop even though I haven’t told you that directly.
Once you have your stories, work them into your content. Kind of like I did with this post, starting with the story about my client and working into the steps for finding good stories.
I’m curious, do you have a story library? I’d love to know. And if you need some help in creating one (or adding to it), click the button below to claim your journal prompts to help keep your stories alive.
- Related post: Why Business Journaling is a Must