Every writer creates content in hopes of reaching the masses. But that rarely happens. Recently, though, I had the opportunity to speak with a blogger whose words had done just that. And this was the last thing he ever expected.
One of my favorite things about what I do is getting emails from people I've coached over the years and hearing about their success — success that sometimes even surprises me. Not too long ago, I heard from one of these people, a guy named Mike Berry, who told me of his breakthrough year.
Back in 2011, Mike and his wife Kristin had a vision. They dreamed of speaking hope into the lives of overwhelmed parents. But they didn't want to do it the same way they'd seen it done a hundred times before.
With a house full of eight children, the Berrys knew what overwhelm felt like. And they knew other parents didn't need another “how to” blog, telling them what they were doing wrong. They needed someone to say, “You're not alone.”
And that's how Confessions of a Parent was born.
Mike and Kristin had no idea how they were going to reach people with their message, and they weren't even sure anyone would read what they had to say. But they had to try. So they decided to do something different, something nobody else seemed to be doing. They asked for help.
Mike joined Tribe Writers, an online community of writers I started a few years ago. And here’s what happened next:
It revolutionized my writing and my blog, but more than that, it changed my life. I learned how to find my writing voice and write with brevity. I discovered the power of a platform and how simple it was to build one. I discovered that I was a writer. No longer would I hide what I was called to be!
That kind of realization, followed by action, can be powerful.
Three years later, Confessions of a Parent is now read in 14 countries around the globe, by more than 100,000 people a month. “More than the numbers,” Mike told me, “we have been able to reach out and have honest conversations with parents from Australia to England to Canada to the United States.”
I love hearing stories like this, because it confirms a suspicion I've had about blogging for a long time. What it takes to get heard isn't doing things the same way everyone else is doing them. It's finding your unique voice and sharing it with the audience who needs it.
The Berrys chose what I call the “Star” platform, and communicated a powerful message: “I know how you feel.” When you do that well, the connection between you and the audience is palpable.
Of course, we're all unique. But we're also alike in many ways. When we share our struggles with others, we just might be surprised at how many people respond. And the principles that helped Mike and Kristin build a blog with a million readers are some of the same that can help you.
So let's break it down. What did they do that we can learn from? Here are three steps worth repeating:
- Focus your message. The Berrys were busy parents who often felt frustrated and wanted to honestly share their journey with others. They didn't want to talk down to their audience; they wanted to relate to them. And empathy almost always wins over authority.
- Ask for help. Instead of trying to figure out everything on his own, Mike fast-tracked and joined a community of thousands of writers so he could learn what he didn't know and start applying the concepts. When in doubt, choose community.
- Do the work. This is easier said than done. For seven years, I sat on the sidelines, wondering what it would be like to share my words with the world — reading blogs and books full of great advice without ever doing anything. I was cynical, thinking that worked for “those people” but could never work for me. But Mike was different. He humbled himself and asked for help. And when I finally did the same, the results were staggering. When you get over your cynicism and get to work, amazing things can happen.
Mike and Kristin are just one of many writers I've heard from over the years who have profited from the teaching and community in Tribe Writers. To me, it's great news at a time when many people are saying, “It's hard to be a writer.” I've not seen that. I keep reading from heroes like the Berrys who are making it happen. You can listen to more stories here.
Whatever you do, though, I hope you heed Mike and Kristin's strategy: Empathize with your reader, ask for help when you need it, and trust the work. You'll see the results… eventually.
And if I can help in any way, let me know. You can find out more about Tribe Writers by clicking here (registration for the next class is open for just a couple more days), and drop a question in the comments section below.
Join 6000 others who have decided to use their words to make a difference and find the audience their message deserves. Get started now.
What questions about writing or blogging do you have? Share in the comments.