And Why It Matters
When the unthinkable happens, it’s hard to keep going, to keep showing up. As I write this, nearly 60 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in Las Vegas Sunday night.
My heart aches for those who lost loved ones. I don’t understand the actions of the killer. Most of us never will.
What I do understand is that I have a purpose in life. My purpose is to do good, which includes the work I do every day to reach out to my readers, to make real connections, to help people. That’s why I’m here, even on a day like today, when it seems pointless.
It’s not pointless. Your message is not pointless. Why? Because voices of kindness, compassion, and love matter. Always have and always will.
You need to show up for your audience. You might change the way you show up today, based on recent events. But please show up. Your audience is waiting.
The Difference Between Showing Up and Being Visible
Isn’t showing up for your readers essentially the same thing as being visible? No. Not at all. Let me explain.
Being visible is important for your online business. After all, if you’re invisible, no one will find you or buy from you. You can’t run a successful AND invisible business.
Visibility strategies for your online business might include:
Posting on social media platforms
Promoting your content
Commenting on blogs and social media of big influencers
Here’s the thing: You can be hyper-visible and still not connect with your ideal readers or clients. Why? Because you’re not showing up in your content.
What It Really Means to Show Up
You might be saying, “What the heck? I show up. I post 100 times a day on Facebook and a billion times a day on Twitter. I’m everywhere!”
That’s right. You’re focused on being visible everywhere, and I’m sure people are noticing you. You may even bring in some traffic and sales. But is this a strategy that leads to loyal readers?
If you’re visible in name, brand, and face only, you’re missing out on making a connection with your readers. Showing up means more than just being there, or plastering your face all over social media.
Showing up means:
Making your why reader-focused and honoring it by giving your very best to them.
Opening yourself up and infusing your stories, your personality, and your heart into your content.
Let’s dive deeper into each...
Giving Your Best
Your why is the foundation of your content, dare I say of your business, and it doesn’t have to be singular. Maybe you’re building your blogging business to someday work from home full-time. Maybe you’re earning a side income to help relieve your family's debt. Wonderful, honorable reasons.
It’s normal to have more than one why. If you’re creating content, the why behind your content should be reader-focused.
Yes, you want to share your stories. But if it’s all about you, no one else has to read it, right?
I’m not promoting perfection. This isn’t about beating your rough draft into submission and never posting it because it’s “not perfect.”
There’s always going to be that one person (or your inner voice) that says, “Ehhh. Not good enough.” It’s okay.
I’m not asking you to be perfect. I’m asking you to give your best to your readers, to benefit them in some way every single day without expecting a penny in return.
You heard me. Give of yourself freely. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get paid for your efforts, service, work, or what have you. Nope. It means you have to provide tangible, valuable material to your readers for free, in order to develop and continue a relationship with them.
Will 100 percent of your readers buy from you after you give them great, free content? Nope. You don’t need 100 percent. You just need enough readers to become customers to make your business a success (whatever that means to you).
How do you know you’re providing value to your readers?
Ask. Do you have an email list? Ask them. Are you in a Facebook group? Ask them what they need in your niche.
Listen. Are you getting comments? Readers are saying things like: “I love this!” I needed this today!” “So useful. Thank you for this!” You’re on the right track.
Snoop. A little internet research is fun. Am I right? Use it to your benefit. What are people complaining about? What makes them say UGGG? What is missing in your niche? Dig in and take notes. Solving their problems should become your content mission.
Strategize. Is your content strategic? Are you writing with your audience in mind? Write to that one person. You get her. You know she needs your help.
Bottom line: Treat every piece of content as a gift to your reader. Be intentional with each and every piece of content.
Clams don’t make good writers. There, I said it. Don't be a clam.
Vulnerability is scary. I get it. Every time you open yourself up, you risk getting rejected, dissed, and trolled.
That’s life. There’s certainly no avoiding risk as a content creator. Besides, hiding in your shell isn’t doing you any favors as a business owner.
When you put pen to paper, you don’t leave your heart behind. You don’t create riveting copy by checking your vulnerability at the gate.
You own it. You hold your vulnerability, out in front, for all to see. You're a walking vulnerability. We all are. Why waste a precious moment hiding and pretending?
In order for your reader to fall in love with your content, you must fall in love with your reader first. We all know you have to be vulnerable to fall in love. Go there. Be vulnerable.
You must love your readers enough to share what’s inside you, to help, to nurture, to inspire. When you are truly present in your content (and you promote it), it will connect with your ideal reader.
How do you know you’re being vulnerable with your readers?
It’s going to be scary. You might feel a little sick. But what’s underneath the layer of woozy? Excitement. Fire. Knowing. You’re going to publish through the fear because you know it’s going to connect with your readers.
If it feels safe and sterile, it's probably boring too. I’d rather read something raw, real, and unpolished, than a shiny, pretty blob of nothing. Your content should mean something.
Your readers will tell you. They’ll reply to your emails. They’ll comment on your blog. This doesn’t mean you’ll have an insta-audience of one million readers. It means you’re connecting with the ones you have!
Your mom (or bestie) might be concerned. Yes, I know your mom reads your blog. She better! It’s important to note, I’m not advocating the kind of embarrassing oversharing, which might make it appear as if you’ve had too much wine. You have your boundaries, and I have mine. And your mom has hers. She sees you being vulnerable and feels scared for you too. Ah, that’s mom.
Bottom line: If it doesn't feel the slightest bit risky, save it for a bedtime story.
How do you show up for your readers? Can you be more present in your content? Please share in the comments.