This is a guest post by the amazing copywriter Christine Blubaugh. This essay originally appeared as part of the Redefining Community project which ran throughout April 2019. You can find out more about the project and download the ebook here.
“In December of 2015, I was sleeping on couches in Seattle…”
That’s the first line of the story I started telling on social media nearly three years ago to describe how my copywriting business began.
The story went on to talk about my struggles to give up my previous, decade-long career path in wellness, my own health and financial issues, and my resulting decision to sell my possessions, end my 15-year stint on the west coast, and move back to my home state of Ohio to start over.
I ended that telling of the story with the light that came out of a dark time - a new business, a renewed sense of purpose, and a focus on my passions and wellbeing.
Sharing that story on social media felt risky, precarious, like standing on the edge of something vast, looking down at the unknown below.
Being vulnerable online, sharing “the truth” about life, business, and the bits that might be judged by others is uncomfortable. But that distress is also what makes it a powerful tool for rallying a community of support that goes so much deeper than any “5 Steps to whatever” post ever could.
If you’re feeling like oh-hell-no when it comes to vulnerable posting, here are a few tips to make it easier:
1. Share from a place of healing, not of pain.
If you’ve struggled with something, it’s OK to wait until you’ve come out on the other side of it before talking about it online. Your story will be more powerful when you can also share the lessons you’ve learned from going through a challenging time. It also prevents any accidental “hot mess”, in-the-moment posting that you might look back on and regret.
2. Connect with a bigger mission for sharing your truth.
When you attach your vulnerability to something beyond yourself, it’s easier to open up. Maybe you talk about your struggles with disordered eating so you can inspire other women to love themselves more. Or you might talk about your brush with burnout so other entrepreneurs can avoid what you went through. Consider all the people you could help by telling your story.
3. Take small steps out of your comfort zone.
Instead of leaping straight into the deepest, darkest corners of your life, try sharing something smaller and less threatening to practice pushing your edge.
4. Share stories of positivity.
Not every story needs to be about struggle. You can be vulnerable and still keep it light. Share a funny, slightly embarrassing mistake you’ve made, a simple behind-the-scenes of your life, or something you dream about creating for yourself or your business. Your truth is everything you do and think, not just the hard times you’ve been through.
5. Support the vulnerability of others the way you want to be supported.
Comment, like, and message the people you follow to thank them and congratulate them for their sharing their truths. Not only does it breed good karma, but it also strengthens your network and builds community - the entire purpose of posting on social in the first place.
Telling personal stories that push the edge of your comfort zone helps your audience see you as more than just a profile photo and a marketer out to get their money. It shows them your humanity and gets them invested in YOU, beyond just what you’re selling. Vulnerability builds trust and establishes your leadership, showing that you’re willing to step out of the safety of anonymity and actually be seen, “flaws” and all.
What happens when you use storytelling in your social media content and open up to your audience is remarkable. The people who identify with your story start to flock. Comments and DMs start to come in from potential clients, collaboration partners, and people who find you inspirational.
What starts out as feeling scary - sharing your life, your successes and so-called “failures” - starts to feel empowering. When support, opportunities, and community come your way as a direct result of your sharing, you might even start to love telling your stories online.
Christine Blubaugh is a copywriter and messaging strategist who helps purpose-driven entrepreneurs express their kickass messages in ways their ideal clients can’t ignore.
Her Soulful Copy style combines equal parts personality & persuasion to engage audiences, inspire sales, and turn readers into raving fans.
Christine writes sales copy for 6 & 7-figure program launches and website copy for high-level service-providers. She also teaches up-and-coming entrepreneurs how to write their own engaging copy that wins hearts & opens wallets.
When she’s not busy word wrangling, Christine can be found sipping green drinks, obsessing over Instagram feeds, and introverting like there’s no tomorrow.