They always say “write what you know,” so are “they” talking about spending the afternoon looking at internet kittens? Maybe… but what I think is meant by writing what you know, is not only about writing authentically, but also solving a problem authentically for the reader. After all, we are all protagonists on our blogs, intentionally or not.
Personal blogs are great, but outstanding personal blogs touch upon a conflict/resolution found in stories, resources and basically anything we find interesting. People love problems, and love fixing problems even more. Problems give us something to think about, like a puzzle to solve, they're entertaining, useful and therefore, make excellent content.
Problems don't have to be Oprah-worthy to be interesting. They can be universal problems, niche problems, fun problems or personal…whatever they are, chances are someone somewhere can relate. When I started IFB, I did not know how to make my dream of becoming a professional blogger come true, so I approached the blog with my problem. Then, taking everything I didn't know, every problem I faced, found a solution then posted about it. It then became a resource for other bloggers.
Write down all the problems you have faced relating to your blog's niche
Whether it's finding that mythical shoe that's both cute and comfortable, dressing for your body type, or something deeply more personal. Every niche has problems associated with it. With IFB, if I was in a business meeting and the potential client asked for case studies and I didn't know how to create a case study… that would be a problem. With Eat, Sleep, Denim, if I was confused what the difference between Mom Jeans and Boyfriend Jeans was, that was a problem that needed to be solved. If I just had a baby and none of my clothes fit, that is also a problem. Chances are there are lots of bloggers who don't know how to create a case study, denim enthusiasts who don't know the difference between Mom Jeans and Boyfriend Jeans and new moms who don't fit into any of old their clothes but don't want to buy new clothes for their temporary post-baby body.
To brainstorm your content, write down a list of all the problems you face in your niche. Nothing is too big or too small. Just let it flow. It can be therapeutic because there are no wrong problems!
Personalize your challenges
Nothing is more compelling than a personal challenge. Talking about problems in a general way is ok, but really relating your experience is the most authentic way to connect with your readers. It makes your blog more unique, it opens your posts up for more creative storytelling, and no one can argue with things that happened in your life. “This was my experience learning to walk in high heels.” No one can argue that it took five years before you realized you walked like a duck in heels (that happened to me). No one can argue with the challenges you faced overcoming insecurities around your crazy hair or “Valley Girl” accent (also happened to me), and sharing your real experiences helps other people to connect with your solutions.
Focus on SOLUTIONS in your posts
No one likes a complainer. If you just post about your problems, you'll just come across as whiny. That's why we need solutions.
“None of my clothes fit me! Wah!” I sound like my baby! Unless my readers were other babies who wanted to come and complain, what could anyone do with this post? Nothing.
“After having a baby, these are the five things, not only fit, they looked good enough to cure my postpartum ‘blahs'” Problem… solution. Readers could come to my blog and read about what clothing they could wear after they had a baby. A lot of people have that problem, so it could open the blog to new readers in search of a solution.
You may not find solutions to all your problems, such is life, however focusing on finding a solution for the problems in your posts allows for progress to happen. If your problem is too big to solve all at once, maybe break it down into smaller more solvable pieces for your posts. That way you'll have more content for your blog and a broader resource for your readers.
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]