Georgia Shaffer from Pennsylvania
Recently, someone gave me a list with “21 Sure-Fire Content Ideas.” Captivating content, the list suggested, reminds readers of important things like “life is short,” “our dreams can come true,” and “we matter.” The list also recommended content that causes us to laugh, a topic that educates and entertains us or shares something with unexpected twists and turns. [i]
When I look for a writing topic for a new article or book, I often ask myself questions like these:
- Do I know something that will help people feel better or look better?
- How can I encourage others or enable them to experience more meaning and fulfillment?
- Is there a problem I can help people solve?
Content that draws people in with a story is also good.
For instance, the following story adapted from my book A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life after Loss tells about the most important decision I ever made.
I grew up in a Christian family, went to church each Sunday, babysat the pastor’s children, cleaned the pastor’s house and even sang in the junior choir. But Jesus and God were up there somewhere, removed, distant—someone to call on in times of need. It wasn’t until I almost died from a bone marrow transplant that Jesus became real. During a week-long fever of 102, I had an image of Jesus carrying me in his arms.
Later, I told my friend, “Never have I experienced such a love and comfort as I did during that time.”
“Sounds like Jesus was with you in the tough times,” she said. “Tell me about your daily relationship with him.”
I had nothing to say. I didn’t have a daily relationship with Jesus. He was someone I called on when things got difficult. Somehow I had missed the importance of a daily relationship with him.
Later that day, I sat on the bed in my hotel room and prayed, “Jesus, I invite you into my life to be my Lord and Savior. Please forgive me of my sins and use me for your honor and glory.”
Stories like this one engage readers because they can share our journeys with us.
Years ago, Roy Hanschke, a radio personality in Denver, told me that he found his listeners were drawn into the content of authors who elicited one of the following responses:
- “Wow, I’ve never read that before.”
- “I never thought of it that way.”
- “Finally somebody is saying it!”
- “I’m not the only who feels this way.”
What can you share that will solve a problem, challenge readers to see their situation in a new way, or make them laugh? Choosing captivating content is critical if we want our readers involved in what we’ve written and if we want to create in them a desire for more.
About Georgia Shaffer
Georgia is an author, Christian life coach, and licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania. Her books include Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make; Taking Out Your Emotional Trash; and A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life after Loss. For more information on Georgia or on her coaching of authors and speakers, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com