When I was in year 8, before I sat an English test, I wrote the answers down on my hand.
I don’t know why.
Probably because I thought I wasn’t smart enough to pass.
To be honest, I was a bit of a rebel in my teenage days. I went on to get suspended a few months later for smoking in the sick bay (yes, seriously) and as a result my parents sent me to another school which I then got expelled from.
I then got sent to boarding school.
Don’t ask me what I was thinking back then, but I was not a well-behaved teenager.
Anyway, that test I cheated on set me up to have major limiting beliefs for the next 10 odd years.
That I wasn’t good enough, smart enough or pretty enough to adult in the real world.
Those limiting beliefs continued into my jobs and even into motherhood. Compounded by the fact that I was always a rectangle business woman trying to fit into the square employment world.
In hindsight, I can see that it wasn’t because I was dumb, it was simply because my skills were not aligned with what I was doing in my life.
What I find quite fascinating now, is that storytelling is such a major component to the success of my business and for a long time. I have spent years thinking I was crap at writing because I had cheated on that test in year 8.
Over time, I came to realise that writing is actually something I really love doing and has been instrumental in my business thundering towards seven figures within 20 months.
I do feel there is a bit of a formula, but it isn’t one that you would probably expect, or one that is commonly pushed out in the ‘how to’ articles. It is just what I have found that works.
I shared this in the private Business Jump Facebook group with my clients this morning and I wanted to share in here too.
Write from the heart, not your head:
Firstly, storytelling needs to come from the heart and be written when you are feeling inspired and really connected with the message. That is why I never write to a ‘schedule’. The words will start coming to me over a few days, always triggered by something that has happened in my life. This is why I advise my Business Jump clients to always to start a business from something that is in your everyday life. In this way, your content marketing can be really authentic.
Then it will get to a point where I *have* to stop whatever I am doing and write it all out. Sometimes if I am writing and I have stopped ‘feeling it’ I will come back to it later. When the words and phrases are coming to me, I will make notes on my phone until I can get to a Google doc and type it all out.
Write like you talk:
All my writing is raw, real and unpolished and I speak the way I write. I don’t gloss over it and I use words and phrases that I use every day. I will throw in an f-bomb because, well you know, in real life I do love a well placed f-bomb. Sure, this may put some people off but that is fine, my tribe and the people who get me relate to it. People connect with people, not businesses.
It has to feel a bit scary:
If you’ve written something and at the end of it said to yourself, ‘Shit this is a bit embarrassing or scary to put out there’, you know you are on the right track. Being vulnerable and admitting your failures or weaknesses is a big part of what makes people like you and trust you. People don’t connect with perfect, they connect with real, for the simple reason that it makes them feel better about themselves. No one is perfect and when your writing provokes someone to sigh in relief and say to themselves, ‘Yes me too’ that is where the magic happens.
With each of your sentences or paragraphs, you want to hook them to the following sentence by writing something that leaves them hanging and looking for the next part of the story. Like the time I almost died with laughter thinking to myself WTF…
See, next sentence now.
Even though I have mentioned being vulnerable and admitting to your failures, always ensure you finish it off in a way that balances it all out. If I just wrote about all my failures people would probably think I am shit, but in the middle and the end of your story twist it to show you really know your stuff. Show the transformation of that was then, and this is now. Skew the message from failure to success and use this section of your story to teach, inspire, educate, motivate.
Just do it:
I only got confident by doing it and seeing the engagement on my posts (for the ones I post in the group) and at times I still lose my confidence. Yet it is pretty normal for it to ebb and flow. For me, if I get one comment on a post saying that they loved what I wrote, or that it helped them in some way, I am happy. As you go, you’ll find your rhythm and your style but only with practice, not by holding back.
Don’t hold back:
Don’t let grammar and typos dent your confidence if you notice them after you’ve published. I notice them ALL the freaking time in my stuff and I always have a F me moment but then I fix it and move on. I do now have someone that edits my larger posts and this helps but for my other stuff, it isn’t the end of the world and certainly hasn’t stopped my business from growing.