Ever struggled with “fraudy feelings” i.e. the feeling that you're an imposter, you don't really know enough/ aren't good enough/ aren't important enough to do what you do? That nobody will find your writing useful or interesting? Yep, me too. But this tip always helps get me back in the present and back to creating again.
One of my biggest struggles as a blogger is that persistent “inner critic”. The one that tells me I don't know enough, that nobody wants to hear what I have to say. But there’s an interesting exercise I use that gets me around this problem and thought pattern pretty quickly – that’s to imagine I am writing to a past version of myself.
- Exercise: Think about where you were one, two, three or more years ago. If you were just starting out in your business (or what would lead to your business), how much did you know and what kind of information did you consume to help you learn?
This can sometimes get you out of the negative way of thinking straight away, as the chances are, after doing this exercise, you’ll realise that you’ve come a long way! Even a year is a long time when you’re learning new skills or information related to your business (no matter what niche you’re in). So take a minute to congratulate yourself and recognize what you’ve done.
But we can also go deeper with this exercise, and use it to our advantage when brainstorming new topics, and planning how to write them,
Coming up with Content That “Past You” Would've Devoured
Now it’s time to use your imagination (and memory!) and think about the kind of things that “past you” would’ve loved reading about in your particular niche. Remember, these can include the basics when you were new. They can even just include the comfort of reading the experiences of someone who was just ahead of where you were at the time.
Exercise: Brainstorm some content ideas in the following categories:
- Steps an absolute beginner would need to get started.
- Words, phrases and ideas that you didn’t understand and used to Google.
- Inspiration you used to get from reading the experiences of people who were just one or two steps ahead of you.
- Products and reviews you found useful to get started.
- Motivation to carry on when you were brand new and found things hard.
Within each of those categories above, you can probably come up with a list of several post ideas. Of course, the list above is targeted at the beginners. You could also come up with a list of content at a more intermediate level, or even advanced strategies but targeted at people who are coming at them fresh. The idea is to think a few steps behind where you currently are.
Growing with Your Readers & Being Honest About What You Don’t Know
As you come up with content ideas, and you tweak the way you write to appeal to certain readers at a certain level, remember that you will probably all grow together.
As you continue on your journey, you will grow and develop and so will they. You may decide you want to move away from writing posts to the absolute beginners, and start going into more advanced strategies. While that may put off complete newbies from starting to follow you at that point, the readers who started off as newbies a year ago will be glad that they can now learn more from you.
And don’t forget that being vulnerable and honest about what you don't know, or mistakes you are still making, can actually improve the relationship you have with your readers. It’s scary to do it, but it works.
Your readers don’t come to you because they want to learn from someone who knows everything – in fact, someone who is so advanced would probably not be able to speak to them on their level. Instead, people follow bloggers because they want to read about that certain part of their journey.
I actually find this very hard to remember, myself, as being vulnerable, visible and admitting to mistakes is hard for me (plus I worry that people will think I’m a fraud if I do). But then I think back to who I most like to follow online. The people I truly connect with are honest, they use stories from their personal experience, and they share mistakes they’ve made and how those mistakes have helped them grow. And none of that discredits their expertise. In fact, I think it makes what they share even more valuable.
If you find it difficult to inject more of “you” into your writing, like I do, then I really recommend reading any of Brene Brown’s books if you need more convincing to get more vulnerable in your life. I love what she writes and I think it translates perfectly to running a more authentic business.
I really hope this exercise helps you stop that fraudy feeling from holding you back!
If you want to plan a year's worth of blog posts using a combination of creative prompts and content strategy, click here to check out my Intentional Blog Planner Workbook & Guide.