Last week, we talked about two content sharing styles: the documenter and the teacher. If you missed that post, you can catch up here.
My assumption is that most of you are teachers in at least one area of your content, since my work is all about helping you share your special blend of knowledge, passions, wisdom, and experiences in a way that can help others who need to hear (and be inspired / comforted / educated / helped by) what you know.
I’m also assuming that at least one of two things is true:
1 | You draw from both your personal and your work life for your content, whether you keep the two separate or not.
2 | There’s a wide range of things you want to talk about, and you’re not sure how to connect them all, whether that’s all personal, all business, or a blend.
So this week, we’re going to talk a little more generally about how to combine all the things you want to share, whether that’s personal, professional, or both. Let’s jump right in!
When I work with content coaching clients, I always ask them this question:
If you could make everyone in the world understand only one thing, what would that be?
This is the foundation of your core message, which acts as a lens through which you share all those ideas that (right now) feel so disjointed.
Now I’ll be honest and say that it’s really hard to come up with one thing. You’ll likely think of a few, and then end up with a small list or a couple of sentences that define your lens. (For me, it’s my list of beliefs and my mission.)
But if you can start by listing just one thing you want everyone to know—for me, it’s that we should all be sharing what we know because there are people out there who need our help—you’ll already have a much better grasp on what to share and how you share it.
So let’s go back to our blogger friend. Let’s say that her lens is the special skills she can bring to this industry she wants to break into. But, as we know, she’s also passionate about running and about learning a new language. When she sits down to write, she should think about how each topic she has in mind (like running and learning a new language) can be a way to either talk directly about or demonstrate a bit more abstractly those skills she brings to her desired industry.
So she might talk about running as a tool she uses for coming up with new ideas (to show she consciously pays attention to and nurtures her creative process, which is likely important in her industry), or compare the process of training for a marathon to something in her industry that also takes time and dedication (to show that she has an understanding of what it takes to succeed, and that she is capable of doing that work). By carefully framing how she writes about something seemingly unrelated, she can create content that has meaning for her intended audience, no matter the subject.
I know that’s might seem a little abstract, so let’s use me as an example (since I can point you to specific posts I’ve written). Here are two interests I have outside of my business: I love being with and learning from my family and I’m pretty into yoga (among many other things). I’ve written about each of those things at least once on my blog, but each time, I've done so through the lens of my core message.
In this post, I talk about how my family shaped my belief that while you can share what you know, you can’t make other people believe what you’re saying or change their mind. Only they can do that.
This connects directly to my core message (that we should all be sharing what we know), but it also looks at one angle of that core message—namely, how can you share what you know without being pushy?
And then in this post, I talk about how one moment in a yoga class (when our teacher asked us what we could soften) made me think about my relationship with routine and flexibility.
This connects to my core message as well, though a bit more indirectly. We can’t focus on helping others through what we know if we’re holding on to everything in our lives way too tightly—we’ll be spending too much energy just trying to keep up with it all.
So think about how your personal and professional interests overlap and connect in ways that can help you share your core message. Each time you think of something you’d like to write about, ask yourself, “Does this further my core message?” If yes, filter it through that lens as you write and just put it out there. If you keep creating content that you know is relevant to your core message, that message will continue to strengthen for both you and your audience.
P. S. If you’re still struggling to identify your core message / lens and use it to connect all those ideas inside of you, check out content coaching. We explore all your ideas, shape them up into something that has meaning for you and your audience, and then get you sharing consistently!
P.P.S. If you want to read more about blending who you are with what you do, check out my friends over at Braid Creative. That blend is one of their core messages and they’re always finding interesting ways to talk about it.