There have been countless times I had been babying a draft post, feeling like it’s not perfect enough, or I’m not qualified enough to post about it, or that it just ‘isn’t the right time’. Then, the same topic suddenly shows up in my blog feed by another blogger. I feel these weird bubbles of defeat, frustration and surrender rising to the surface.
The reality of the world is that it has all been done/worn/made/said/written/sung/painted/eaten. The reality of God is that is just what he wanted. He desires a world where everyone is sharing the same messages, praising his creations, worshipping him with our hands and minds – all with our own individual uniqueness. The bible is the most basic example of this. There are many repeating messages being said by multiple authors. As readers we are drawn to the different way something is worded; the same message fills up different heart space depending on the author.
God has gifted each person with unique talents, skills, stories, and personalities. He has placed us in our own unique time and place, surrounded by very specific people. Nothing is a loss, nothing is an accident, he did not make duplicates – that’s a notion we construct when we start letting ourselves feel defeated that we don’t have anything unique to offer. If we can push aside the temptations to compare, to compete or to copy, then we can honour the specific ways we are called to share the messages and stories in our lives.
Often the scarcity/abundance mindset takes over and we apply it inconsistently to online writing. Why is it that we feel there is enough room for all the messages about heavy issues like human trafficking or foster care — but we think there is finite room for DIY centerpieces and toddler shenanigans? There is always room, online and offline. That’s like saying there are enough waffles, or trees, or videos of babies belly laughing in the world! There is always room for more. After all, God is in the stories of laundry and sharpie markers and shirtdresses because he gave us passions and interests to share them as a way of sharing our experiences of him.
We might be saying the same thing as someone else, but we have our own way of saying it and our own audience to say it to. I recently listened to this Fizzle podcast and I love how they put it ‘It doesn’t have to be better than someone else’s, it just has to be different’. We already have our own unique voice and our unique audience, but many of us are using the same platforms and sometimes it is helpful to stand out with our own unique angle to take a common topic and put our own fingerprints on it.
Ways to say what’s already been said, in your own words.
- Filter it through your brand. What are the perspectives and qualities that set your brand apart? Maybe you are a photographer who is vulnerable and sentimental, maybe you are professional and upbeat, maybe you are chaotic and spontaneous. Write your posts with these characteristics.
- Serve your niche audience. Of course, you need to know your audience first. When you know who you are talking to, you know what they need and how you can serve them. If you want to write another chocolate chip cookie guide, what angles can you take? Maybe, for the locavore, for the busy working mom, for the health nut, for bake sale time.
- Theme it. Your site should have some specific topics you write on often (a niche!). Angle your topic through these themes. If you want to write about the lovely and trendy succulents, maybe write about finding a local source as a local city writer. If you are a photog, write about ways to style your shoots with them. If you write on simplicity, post about ways to create simple home decor with them.
- Change the format. Over time, we come to find a comfortable format in our posts. If you want to write about potty training, think about your unique writing style. Maybe you make a list, a prayer, an infographic, a photo story, or short blog post with a video to follow.
- Give unique content. A killer youtube video on date night ideas might get lots of action, but people are looking for information and stories in a medium that speaks to them. Make your own content into something unique like a Pinterest board, or worksheet, a podcast, email series, directory, shopping list, etc.
- Review another post. If you have a topic you have wanted to write on, then someone else nails it share that! Write about why you love it, link to it, spread that around with your own brand of love.
- Add the AND. Some posts are so well written, but you have some additional thoughts and viewpoints on the topic. Share the original posts and thoughts then add your own AND. I love this list of family favourite recipes, and I would add these! There five tips on marriage are game changers, and these are what I would add.
- Turn it into a series of specifics. If you could take a topic such as family vacations, you have your own unique experiences to break this topic down into multiple post ideas like planning, packing, snacking, budgeting, etc. Brainstorm beyond the original topic and dig into some specific parts of that topic.
- Generalize it. An alternate to getting very specific is to get very broad. If you have wanted to write on creative cheap ways to hang your kids art – pick out a few of those keywords to write about: ‘creative and cheap’ or ‘creative kid’s art’. This is done with many link ups where a theme word is chosen and all the bloggers write anything they like on that theme.
- Pray about it. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like there is a way to write on ‘moms letting housework slide’ without being a repeating echo in the mom blogosphere. Pray that God will give you the unique words your audience needs, whether it is to simply entertain them. Your story has value no matter what it is about.
When we write on something we are passionate about, we have that message in our hearts for a reason. So take that message and make it specific to your individual experiences and your individual audience. This can feel counterintuitive when we are trying to get our work out in the world. But it is always better to sing our song loudly into the hearts of those around us than to whisper to passing crowds of many.
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