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“April showers bring May flowers,” or so the adage goes. But what do you do when you feel like ALL you’ve experienced lately is “showers” {complete with pummeling hail, strong wind, and a tornado or two}, and you’re just not sure you can hold on until your proverbial May?

Let’s be honest: Nobody likes adversity. As humans, one of our greatest instincts is the avoidance of pain.

Ever heard that explanation about how a tree is able to stand because it’s had to resist the wind on every side? Apparently, the fight to stay standing contributes to its strength.

Willard Marriott, the founder of Marriott hotels, sums it up beautifully with a little poetry: “Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”

The good news is: We learn from pain. Sometimes, the only way to grow is pushing through a whole lot of manure, up to fresh air where we can breathe again and be bathed and healed by the sun.

Make your content stronger

As a human being living on planet Earth, there’s no doubt that you’ve faced your share of struggles, your share of “wind.” Maybe even hurricane-force wind!

Add in the occasional massive downpours that come from being an established entrepreneur out there struggling to get your big idea in front of the right audience, and it’s enough to make even the strongest oak consider snapping.

No doubt you’re wearing multiple hats, handling everything from accounts receivables to chief copywriter for your website content. But here’s an idea: Consider it an opportunity, challenging though it may be. Because, as crazy as it may seem, your content will be the better for it.

See, one of the blessings of adversity is that, in keeping with our use of well-known cliches, “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”  And if you can harness that emotion, it can make your content stronger. {Note to self: Don’t let it kill you!}

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

How do you turn those showers into flowers?

Ask yourself: How can I “harvest” these emotions and channel them into writing content that really connects with my audience?

After all, adversity happens to everyone. It’s a big part of the human condition. Everyone understands pain. Use that emotion, even though it might require some vulnerability, and invite your audience in. Let them know you can relate to them in their struggles. Use this opportunity to be transparent and authentic. These are aspects of your content that make people trust you.

Without vulnerability there is no connection. {That’s straight from Brene Brown, by the way — who has spent decades researching this stuff. If you haven’t watched her Netflix documentary, A Call to Courage yet, do it!}

You need vulnerability if you want to connect with your audience. No one wants to work with someone who doesn’t feel human.

If you are someone who struggles with transparency and vulnerability, it’s okay. It’s a practice, and it’s one you can get better at over time. This is your chance to leverage the pain to get some gain!

In fact, if this is a first for you, your sudden vulnerability might make your audience think you’ve hired a new copywriter for your website content. But that’s okay… There’s nothing wrong with that, if it’s the case. And you can still let them know that this is the new you. The real you!

You can smile proudly, knowing that you hit the mark: You connected. {Which is a great step forward in improving your content, because now your audience is more prone to listen. You’re writing with honesty, and the emotion is genuine.}

Let your pain be the copywriter for your website content… now that’s not something you hear every day!

Other tips for leveraging {aka making it through} adversity

Determine that this “xyz issue” is not going to get you down.

I lived in Cameroon, West Africa once. Let me tell you: It was hard. And that wasn’t the half of it.

In a third-world country, there’s no, “Oh, that’s an easy thing to get done!”

Simple, every-day life stuff was surprisingly complicated and challenging. {It really gives you a respect for the locals who don’t know any other reality. It seems like all they know is adversity… talk about people who have learned how to rise above their circumstances! They are truly amazing.}

For me, the daily struggle was debilitating. Everything about life was difficult. One of the things that kept me going {or from going into a deep depression} is the mantra I would chant to myself throughout the day: Living here is not going to beat me down! {And I’m not gonna lie, there were days when it really kicked my butt.}

I determined that even if, worst case scenario, it did beat me down, it wasn’t going to KEEP me down. When driving through the chaos of the city streets {dodging cars, goats, and small children, all coming at me out of nowhere}, I would sing “I Will Survive” at the top of my lungs. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta talk to yourself. You have to tell yourself the truth. {Maybe even sing it.}

And what is that truth? That you’re going to make it, that you’ve got a message the world needs to hear. That you’re not going to let this issue beat you down… or keep you down. Sometimes, this means you MARCH yourself on to the platform even when you feel like you have nothing to say. {We talk more about that in our “March” blog.}

Be tenacious. Use that tenacity in your content. Hold your head up high and know that your message is valuable and needed. If you let adversity shut your mouth, the world misses out.

Get some support.

You don’t have to do this alone! If your to-do list is getting unmanageable, it might be time to think about outsourcing, and finding someone to handle your content is a great place to start.

Don’t be afraid to call in the pros! {Hint: That’s us.}

Regardless, whatever you do and whomever you call, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got your brand voice nailed down into a replicable package before you hand off your content to just anyone.

Trusting a copywriter with your website content {or, really, any aspect of your messaging} is a big deal, and we understand that it can be scary to hand off your message to someone else.

In light of that, we’ve created a Brand Voice Guide that will help you craft everything from a oft-used word bank to expressions you definitely don’t want used in your copy, available for free here.  

Focus on the big picture.

When you’re in a tough situation, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and want to crawl in a hole and hide. But instead, try to get a wider perspective. One of the ways you can do this is to find quotes that you can read and re-read to remind yourself of the bigger picture.

Here’s a great one by Maya Angelou:

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Or this one, by New York Times bestselling author Terry Goodkind:

“If the road is easy, you’re likely going the wrong way.”

As you see the bigger picture, you start to heal. You have less freak-outs, which then positions you to dive back into your content and write from a place of healing.

{Note:  If you’re working on your content right smack in the middle of the storm, sharing right at that moment can actually make things worse. But if you’ve had some time to process and come out on the other side of things, then your content will be better because you’re not dealing with the thing… you’ve thought through it.}

Change your perspective.

Remember the tree analogy! As wind buffets the tree, it learns to stand tall. Also, the great thing about rain is that it waters seeds, and prepares the way for the flowers.

Got seeds you’ve planted? Well, they need rain! Instead of fighting the adversity, what if you submitted to it, trusting that these showers are watering the many things you’ve planted? As Maya Angelou says in that quote, “so you can know who you are…”

As you “know who you are” by your struggles and perseverance, your expertise and your innovation become even more clear. Your messaging and your content also become more authentic.

So don’t be discouraged, friends, because the storm clouds can’t last forever. The flowers are coming. May is, after all, just around the corner.

 

Speaking of corners, are you feeling like you’re backed into one? If you’re struggling with your messaging and just not sure your content is reflecting who you really are, make sure and download our free Brand Voice Guide. You can also read more about Brand Voice and how it can help you convert + connect here. A Brand Voice Guide will help you outsource your message with confidence, empowering you to trust an outside copywriter with your website content, emails, social media, and more.


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