This is part of my Makin' Bacon podcast, you can check out all the episodes or subscribe on your favorite podcast player.
In this episode we look at how to craft your own personal story, the best way to stand out in the crowded blogging space, and how you can take advantage of times of uncertainty to push yourself.
There are a TON of bloggers out there. There's also a ton of people that post pictures of food on Instagram, swap recipes on Facebook, and share ideas on Pinterest.
Trying to stand out in this crowd can be a HUGE challenge. There are different ways to go about it, but one that works across all platforms is sharing your story in a way that connects with the Fans you are looking for.
And today's guest is the perfect person to help us discover just how to do that.
The video of the interview is also available on the Makin' Bacon YouTube Channel.
Abby Rike is a professional speaker, published author, and former high school speech teacher who now helps online business owners hone their message. She believes everyone has a story to tell, and she aims to help business owners craft theirs in such a way they authentically connect with their audience. She has had the opportunity to share her story on Ellen, the Today Show, and as a contestant on The Biggest Loser. When she's not traveling for a speaking event, feeding her fainting goats, or eating Mexican food with her husband, you can find her at yourmessagematters.com.
If you want to read some more about this, here are a few helpful links.
Today, we look at how to craft your own personal story, how to stand out in the crowded blogging space, and how you can take advantage of times of uncertainty to push yourself forward.
There are a ton of bloggers out there. There's also a ton of people who post pictures of food on Instagram, swap recipes on Facebook and share ideas on Pinterest. Trying to stand out in this crowd can be a huge challenge. There's many different ways you can go about it, but one that works across all platforms is sharing your story in a way that connects with the fans you're looking for.
Today's guest is the perfect person to help us discover just how to do it. She's a professional speaker, a published author, and former high school speech teacher who now helps online business owners hone their message. She believes everyone has a story to tell, and she aims to help business owners craft theirs in such a way that they can authentically connect with their audience.
She also had the opportunity to share her own story on Ellen, the Today Show, and as a contestant on The Biggest Loser, which is just amazing to me. So we all have a ton to learn from today's guest, Abby Rike from Your Message Matters.
Jason Logsdon: Abby, welcome to Makin' Bacon. I'm really excited to have you on because I believe storytelling is critical to connecting with your audience, and that's especially true for blogging. And if you carefully craft a story in a way that's still you, it can really increase your chances for blogging success. But one thing I like to start with is what is it like around your dinner table on a typical day?
Abby Rike: What's it like around my dinner table? My husband and I live on what we affectionately call rock and bomb mountain. Now I'm in Nashville and there really aren't mountains, but because I'm from Texas and everything is flat, if there's even a pinch of a hill, then it becomes a mountain. We have an outdoor kitchen, so my husband is the famous griller of the family, and we do a lot of outdoor dining in our outdoor kitchen. I enjoy the food.
Jason: My wife also enjoys just eating the food I cook. Sometimes we'll do craft time: we'll do burritos and she'll assemble the burrito. That's okay because it's not cooking.
Abby: Ah, she's my kind of girl!
Jason: I definitely want to dive into how people can craft their personal narratives because I think it is critical. But right now we're in the midst of this kind of shared narrative as a world with the Corona virus epidemic going on. And there's a ton of uncertainty in people's lives. How do you think people can continue to function, much less create, when there is so much uncertainty?
Abby: That's a great question. I think anybody who's coming out as though they are the expert and they know what they should be doing right now. I'm always cautious and leery of them. We're navigating uncharted territories. I think from my own experiences, what I've learned though it is, we're never going to control our circumstances. Never, even when we think we are, we're not. And so really the only thing we can do is control how we respond to it.
I think you have to give yourself some grace. If you're quarantined and you're trying to read, navigate, and refigure things out, that's okay, nobody has this figured out. But then at some point it comes down to you choosing to look at this as a really unique opportunity: you're at home, you have extra time, and you can get super creative in a way you may not have had time or space to really do.
Jason: Especially, most people have their families around. If you have a spouse or children, there's a lot more going on. And I think, like you're saying, it might not be getting to normal, but can you do more kid recipes? Can you work your family into things because they're there and you might not have these opportunities otherwise? You could also kind of keep them entertained while still getting some work done maybe.
Abby: Sure. I think it's just going to be refiguring out the schedule and being really, really flexible.
Jason: I think one thing bloggers have trouble reconciling during uncertain times is a lot of our recipes, intros to them "every time I make this recipe, it's bright sunshine in my life and makes me so happy". And then you write stuff like that and it's true, but at this time people are scared out there. Some people are suffering. I think they have a hard time thinking, how can I write about happy things when the world has a lot of unhappiness in it right now?
Abby: But isn't that the case all the time?
In all honesty, it's not rainbows and sunshine, and I think the more real we are with our people, the more they connect and respond, or at least the people who are really our people. I think coming up with ideas where this is the food I make when I need a comfort meal. I think would be a great thing to do.
I think that there are different angles, you can explore those different stories that this is where I find comfort, or this is a great way to get the kids involved. This is the best meal for encouraging help in the kitchen and things kids can do. I think it's just putting a different outlook on it so you can make it real to the times we are facing.
I'm all about being hopeful and positive, but at the same time, you've got to have a little bit of reality in there too, and acknowledgement that this time is pretty scary and uncertain, but it doesn't mean it has to paralyze us.
Jason: I think that's really good point of how you can look at your content and structure it still in a way that's authentic to you but say, "I'm nervous right now and here's what I make", "I'm nervous or I'm scared right now so I did make this recipe, which always makes me happy when I make it. And maybe it will make you happy now for the half hour you're working on it instead of worrying about what's out there."
Abby: Million percent, 1000000%, and especially with the food prep, I think it's such a prime opportunity for food bloggers to really showcase those recipes with, "these are the 3 ingredient or 5 ingredient recipes you have in your pantry right now", or "how to make a mismatch of finding all the things which are frozen in your freezer and making them into this wonderful soup that will stretch for days." Obviously, I'm really not a chef and I'm not going to pretend to be. But in my mind, that's what I think would make a lot of sense for food bloggers.
Jason: Yeah. I think it's a really good way to look at what are people searching for now. What type of information do you have? "With these staples in your pantry here's a fun and creative thing you can do with I"t, or "here's how you can put spins on this to will bring you a little bit of joy." Or even "here's a hard recipe to do using general kitchen staples. But we know right now you have time to spend 3 hours on a recipe because you don't have work and you don't have errands. So why don't you tackle something a little more challenging for you?"
Abby: I think that's a brilliant idea.
Jason: And I think one thing that bloggers tend to forget is we focus so much on the recipes, "here's a recipe and a dish that's going to taste great", which is important. But I think we forget sometimes we're also entertainment for a lot of people. A lot of people read our recipes and don't actually make them, but we kind of take them away and it's a nice fiction they can turn to. I think during times like this, it's even better to have those type of intros and recipe head notes to get people away from just the following the news and kind of get back to some things that make you feel normal.
Abby: Right. I mean, how much fun would it be to do if you've never gone live or are done videos because people are so desperate for something right now, just to cook in the kitchen with you right now.
I think the whole thing of perfectionism, because I might struggle with that just a little, but during this time to really shed that and just do some things just for fun that gives a glimpse into your life. Who cares if your kids are running around screaming in the back room? Because at home, they're doing the same thing and it just makes you more relatable. When people can see your face and hear your voice, they could care less if you're stumbling a little bit. Nobody wants this stiff "today, we are going to" nobody wants it, they want to just see normal and real and just adding some fun during this pretty serious time.
Jason: One thing we talked about on a Mastermind group I'm in with some other bloggers. Is it might be interesting if you're trying to connect with your audience to maybe do live cooking, but instead of doing, "here's how I do this and step them through it". Do, "Hey, let's have a cooking party. Everyone get on. Here's the ingredients you'll need. Let's all cook this together. We'll have our kids around and it'll be a big group chat with people spread across the country". And those things would be really hard to do during a normal time because everyone has different schedules. But now people are looking for a type of escape from their current situation.
Abby: A million percent, especially with the social distancing. It can be a a very isolating and lonely time. One of my friends set her girls up with a virtual play date with one of their friends. And so this would just be like a virtual food prep. I love the idea so much.
Jason: And I think your point too of people are so worried about when you're putting out new content or videos for the first time you have to be perfect. And right now, you have the built-in excuse, "Oh, this would be perfect obviously, but you know, we are quarantined. So my whole family's here, so you get what you get". And you don't have to stress about it being perfect. You can just ship it out there and get in front of people.
Abby: And I think just having the pressure, especially I know with food bloggers, the lighting and the photography and plating it so perfectly. But right now no one cares, no one cares. And so there is so much freedom in this. It's where I talk about thinking about opportunities, of ways to just really authentically connect with your people in a way that it's pretty unprecedented. Like you said, that people don't have the time and their schedules are all different, but with everybody pretty much staying at home right now, it is just this really unique opportunity to get to know your people.
Jason: I think it's also people hear about it being a unique time that you could grow your brand and you could connect with people, But people feel a little bad about it, not wanting to take advantage. But I think it's the perfect time because you're providing even more of a service to these people. They need an escape. They need something, someone to remind them that you're not alone in this. I'm going through this, we're all in this together.
Abby: I think if anybody's thinking in that realm of not wanting to take advantage of them, I think you've pretty much, you're not. And like you said, there's no better time when people need a cure. And the cure is entertainment and fun and light and laughter and all of those things that it's the best gift you can give your audience. So I get what you're saying. But again, if you're worried about it, then it's probably not your problem, not an issue with you.
Jason: One thing I hear a lot is people talking about hating to write a bio. You know, I don't like talking about myself. I don't want to write about myself. You're a huge proponent of crafting your story, sharing your story and getting it out there. How do you go from "I'm scared to write a paragraph kind of resume about what I've done" to "embracing your story and sharing it"?
Abby: It's a tough one. To be honest, I don't really enjoy, I'm pretty terrible at self-promotion things like that. But what I've learned is when you share your story, you're going to connect with the people who are truly your people. And always talk about those quirky things that you got picked on in junior high because those are the very things people are going to love you for. And so the more you can bring to your bio, to your stories, when you go on video or even in your writing, all of those things, when you show up as you, then you never have to worry about what you've said. It's too much energy to pretend to be someone else.
It's what I've learned. I've had some pretty unique opportunities with speaking and meeting people, but I grew up in a town of 5,000 people. I'm sure from my accent, you can tell I'm from the South. Here I am traveling all over the United States. I never tried to hide that I was from the South and never made up things.
I've been in this business, I've been speaking for 11 years now, it's the same. If you hear my story today, you're going to get the same story I've told 11 years ago. And so it's just about showing up as you and realizing that no, not everyone is going to love you, but your people are going to love you for your quirks.
Jason: I think that's interesting. I've been trying to be more myself over the last probably 5 or 6 years, especially after I got into improv and kind of embracing those aspects. And I've found that some people are never happy with what you do, and it doesn't matter what you do. And then if you are yourself, they're still not going to be happy.
But the people who get you and kind of get those quirks you have, love you and the other people, they don't care. You're so worried about they might be upset or they might not like this, or what if I, and most of them don't care. It's great that you do this. We're still friends why would that bother me in any way? So I think people would be surprised to embracing it.
Abby: Well, and I think what it does when you truly embrace your quirks and all the different things that you think are probably going to be weird, or people are going think "what?" Again, I think that's what takes you from being vanilla and like everyone else.
And so if your people don't love you or hate you, you need to change what you're doing. Because you need people who love you, to passionately love and follow what you're doing. The people that don't like you, I mean, if they're not paying your bills or helping you raise kids, who cares what they think?
Jason: Yeah, I can speak from experience, it's a lot more fun to be around people who are supporting everything you do and get you, than it is to try to fit in with people who don't get you. It's just being around people who get you - it's a blast.
Abby: Oh, completely. And it's the reason you're serving those people. That's the reason it's cool to go live last-minute in your kitchen and say, "Hey, let's cook together." Because there have been times in my community, I'm not in the food community, but I run an online ministry and whenever I find things are going a certain way, then I'll jump in and just, I don't have to pretend, I don't have to know all the answers, but I can just show up and love on my people.
And that's really what it's about, regardless of what industry you're in. It's about just showing up and caring about your people, when you care about them, they know, they get it.
Jason: As food bloggers we get to pick our niches, we get to pick the type of persona we put out there and In my opinion you might as well put out something that is you so that you attract the type of people you would enjoy spending time with. Like you said, they can tell when you care about them, and it's a lot easier to care about people who are like you and are accepting of you and have your same type of quirks and interests and desires.
Abby: Oh, completely. And I know this too because there's a food blogger who I follow that I just love. And I know she gets a lot of push back and I'm sure a lot of food bloggers do, "I don't care about the story, I just want the recipe" is what people say. In one of her posts, she said, Google will not show you my recipe if I do not put this exact heading every time. And she goes through and explains to her audience in a way that I found hilarious, super refreshing, and in a way to educate without being a whiner about it. She did it in this really authentic way because she's kind of tongue in cheek and has just enough sass to make her so lovable. Because I'm her person. Right?
And so I understand there are a lot of people who think, "Oh, people don't care about the stories, but we've got to make it long enough so that Google will show our things." And so I think there are ways to educate your audience as you're sharing those stories that you can share that story too, in a way it's just going to endear you more to your audience.
Jason: I think it's a great just idea of trying to work that stuff in. The people do complain about it. But don't get mad at me, you're the one who keeps clicking on all the recipes in Google that have really long descriptions. So Google shows them to you. If you clicked on the ones with just a recipe, I'd be happy to do less work for you. To spin it around in a way that you know is educating and doing it in a productive way.
I think that's great when you are authentic with your audience, you know how to engage with them in a way that's going to resonate with them.
Abby: Million percent, million percent.
Jason: In my experience I feel a lot of people really don't think their own story is interesting. How do you help people find the interesting and the relevant in their own stories?
Abby: I'll be honest, it's probably one of the hardest things I do whenever I work with clients. The story people think is their story is usually not. And what I mean by that is I always like to go back, I think there are several stories that everyone needs in their arsenal. And the first one is your brand business story. And it always comes back to why did you start your business? There was a tipping point. There was a moment when you said, okay, I'm doing it. I'm purchasing the domain. I'm getting the website up. I'm going to spend the next hundred hours killing myself, learning all the things so I can do this. There's a tipping point.
A lot of times the best stories are the ones that make you really uncomfortable because it requires a level of vulnerability. But that's the human condition. It's the vulnerable pieces of our lives people resonate with. To be honest, it's great if somebody acts like they have it all together, but most of us, I mean it's too much pressure. If you have it all together, then we can't be friends. I need to be flawed and I need you to be an over-comer. I need you to just be legit and say, I struggled with this and this is how I dealt with it.
On the flip side, I think the other thing is, you have to be ready to tell the story. I always say, you can talk with the scar, but you can't talk with the open wound. So there's got to be a little, a little distance in there as well.
Jason: It makes sense. You have to get yourself comfortable with the situation before you can open up to other people about it.
Abby: Yes, pretty much so. I have a very hard story, but what I've learned is through sharing the story, it's always for the benefit of the audience. I'll be honest, there are times where it's difficult to keep telling the story over and over again. But at the end of the day, the whole point of why we tell our stories remains the same, and it's for the benefit of our audience so they have hope or they believe they can do it too, because they see themselves in our stories.
Jason: I think that's such a powerful concept. I think a lot of times we feel selfish thinking of our stories and sharing our stories with people that you feel like you're either bragging or you're complaining or all these negative emotions. But when it comes down to it, if you're sharing a good story, it's for the audience. Like you said, it's to inspire them or help them. And not sharing it because like you said, you need some time if it's very personal, you need some time in between. But not sharing a story just because you might feel a little uncomfortable is more selfish than getting that story out there and helping some people who you could be helping.
Abby: 1000000% and it's what I've learned. I've had the opportunity to travel around and meet so many different people. And what I've learned is that our struggles are triumphs, the feeling of thinking is there really hope? Can I get through this? It is so universal. It transcends gender, age, race. It just transcends it all on this human level and we all want to have hope that things can be better for us.
Jason: Yeah, and tapping into it and showing vulnerability when you talk to other people, I think it's such a rare thing that it really can connect you with your type of people that it resonates with.
Abby: And it's difficult. I mean, it really is. I mean, it's difficult to work through that and get to the point where I always say, you can talk about the yuck without getting into the muck. Because you have to be careful of what details you share the harder your story is. And the harder your story is, the more humor you need in it. And I firmly believe, I know everyone, this concept of value, we've got to give so much value to our readers and for whatever reason, people equate value with trying to teach every single thing we know when the reality of it is if we can entertain people while educating them, that is the money spot. That's the sweet spot to grab your people in and then they are your people.
Jason: And if you have a good message that is adding a lot of value, the more you can entertain them, the more they're going absorb of your message, the more they're going to come back to hear more messages from you. The more you can continue to help these people. Where if you just say "here's the facts, ABC, a D there, get the A and B to be like, I'm done". But if you wrap it into a story, then they'll keep coming back for more and more.
Abby: 1000000% because we're all grown and people do not like to be told what to do. I mean, sincerely, who wants to be told. You need to do this and then give facts and figures. And while there is certainly a place for that, I'm not saying we shouldn't be educated and have our facts and figures, but when you can do it in a story, a story drops everybody's defenses. A story allows people to actually hear what you're saying. And then instead of you having to tell them, they tell themselves, and that's when real change happens anyway.
Jason: So what makes a good story to connect with your audience and to build your brand versus like a good story at a cocktail party?
Abby: Well, I think that one of the biggest things is you have to figure out and really drill down on what is your message? What are you really hoping to do for your audience? Right?
And so whenever I keynote, the title of my keynote is "Hope in Your Darkest Hour". If you'll notice, it's super short. If you cannot do your message in under 10 words, preferably fewer, then you're not clear enough.
And so then you're going to craft stories that are going to drive the point home. And so one of the stories I always talk about is going on The Biggest Loser. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. And not just the outfit was hideous, but because I'm super private, believe it or not. I'm actually very introverted. Now, it doesn't mean I'm not friendly and I can do crowds for short amount of time, but I recharge by myself.
And so here I was going off into the great unknown. And I talk about the moment I'm sitting in the backseat of my car and my parents are the ones who have driven me to the airport. And I know as soon as I get out of the car, life as I know it is going to look really different. And I have no idea if it's going to be good or bad, but I know I'll never know unless I get out of the car.
And the fact is, if I get out of the car doesn't matter. Right? It doesn't change anybody's life. But what matters is the people in the audience get out of the car, because we're going to all be faced with that moment where it is heart gripping, it is terrifying, and we certainly don't know the end. But we've got to be brave enough to just get out of the car and take the first step.
Jason: That's so powerful because we all come into those decisions where we don't know what decision is right. But it's going to split our life in 2 drastic directions, and you have to get out of the car, like you're saying.
Hearing about other people, someone like you overcoming that and making the decision and what comes next gives people the confidence in themselves to make that decision and get out of their own car.
Abby: Oh, I'm sure. It's the whole reason. And I feel like at least some of the people in your audience are like, well, what is the story I have been talking about? It's been 13 years now, but, my husband, my 5 1/2 year old daughter and my 2 1/2 week old son were killed in a car accident. At that point when the state trooper told me there were no survivors, I thought I was part of it. I thought I was included. How do you ever get up from that? And as I said, my faith played a huge role in it, but there was a lot of healing and working it out. And what I know is that everybody, regardless of where you are in the world, experience loss. And there are times where you feel like you are going to be lost and broken forever.
It's why I share my stories. I do know joy. I'm changed. I'm different. But I also know joy and that I don't move on, I moved forward. I think a lot of people need to know that moving forward is possible when you're hurt, when you're hurting.
Jason: Everyone has loss of different types. And to know you can go through it and you come out the other side. Like you said, you're not the same person, you're changed and life's not the same. But there is hope afterwards, there are opportunities afterwards and you can find a new normal for yourself and live a good joy filled life.
Abby: And that's what it's all about. I think every human being brings some of that to the table. Maybe not on this scale, because I think my loss came all at one time. And this a pretty horrifying situation. But I think most people have experienced some kind of earth-shattering before and after in their life.
It can be a divorce. It can be the loss of a job. There are a gazillion things that rock our world. And I've always said I think a lot of people want to say, "Oh, but mine wasn't as bad as yours". It's not a competition because pain, is pain, is pain, and if that's the level of pain you've experienced, that is very real.
I think as bloggers in general, we have this opportunity to connect with people and give them hope. And I truly think the food industry is so unique because there's so many different facets to it and it impacts families in such a really profound way. And I think there's a really incredible opportunity for food bloggers to go in and truly help people change their lives.
And, and I don't say that lightly.
Jason: Yeah. Eating is one of the few things we do multiple times a day, every day. And so people have a reason to keep coming back and checking in with you, and if you do have a story and you can share, you know, you don't want every spaghetti recipe to be talking about devastation in your life probably. But if you can work in these types of stories, and figure out how to get through stuff. I think it's a good way to keep moving your audience forward and giving back more than just a recipe.
Abby: 1000000%. And that's just it. You don't just walk around and say, "let me tell you my", "let me tell you my greatest tragedy". I think people need to know there's a lot of humor and you can still laugh, and I really do.
I think people don't utilize entertainment and laughter enough, be it in their videos, in their speaking engagements or in their blogs and such. The more you can make people laugh and enjoy coming to your recipe where you can cut through the noise, the more people are not going to be able to get enough of you.
Jason: I'm not going to judge people who put out whatever front they want to put out to the world. But it is easier to connect with people who are honest about the challenges and overcoming them. And for me it's more helpful to hear about, I struggled with this. I ran into these problems. Here's mentally what I was feeling and why I didn't almost go through with it. Because I can use that and it's just like explaining how you should properly peel a potato. It's giving you instructions on how you can move forward with what you're trying to accomplish.
Abby: Especially just solving those little micro problems. Just like you said, I would be in the camp of yes, I can peel a potato, but I feel almost 90% certain I do it incorrectly. And obviously, depending on whether or not you're targeting expert chefs and you're taking them to this new level or where you are in the gamut, but about just solving those micro problems for people.
And it's what's going to connect us when you're the problem solver and if you can do it and make people enjoy learning it, then that's where you hit the sweet spot.
Jason: I feel like food and emotion are already so tied up in each other. I never really thought about it too much, but I run a Sous Vide conference and our keynote last year talked about how he got into it. He has an engineering background and he got into it from these nerdy aspects of figuring out the device and building it and soldering it together. And he was surprised that what he got most out of it was the emotional connection. With sous vide, every time he cooked something, he knew it was going to come out perfect and it removed the concern, the doubt and the fear of cooking.
And he said it's why his audience connected with him so much. He does some blogging, but he's more of a food scientist. He used to be a project manager at Microsoft, a very high level analytical guy. And he said, in his opinion, that's why sous vide has taken off is because of the emotional aspects of it. Which is something I've never heard referred to in the past as an emotional cooking method.
Abby: I think anytime you can tap into people's emotions, and I always go with the laughter emotion because I feel like laughter is so powerful. I think there's a misconception that everything technically worried about basically the features. And if that guy hadn't talked about it with the sous vide, then it's never going to resonate with people.
But I always go back to look at the budgets for movies. They're millions of dollars. If we go to a lecture series where it's probably more value, it's microscopic. People want to be entertained. They want to escape. I think as we go through these uncharted territories, the more we can tap into the realness of what food means to people, I think it's a great way to serve your audience.
Jason: It's such a easy niche to connect this stuff to. If you're writing out or writing about Google SEO research or something, it's harder. It's possible. I think you'll connect with your audience if you do it, but it's harder than if you're writing about your grandmother's meatball recipe and what it means to you. It's a lot easier to work in emotion and stories in that.
Abby: 1000000%. And I think the other key is when you're deciding what stories to tell. One of the best things I always do is figure out what point are you really trying to get across? What's the takeaway you want for your audience? Because if you're only telling the story to pad your post or pad your video, then the story is really all about you and you don't directly relate it to your audience. Then story for the sake of story is not going to help you.
I think it's using stories with the audience as the focus. If you're sharing about your grandmother's meatball recipe and you're talking about it, then the next line has got to be "what can you do today to create that memory for your family?" Or giving them ideas for it? It's got to always be so audience focused. It can't just be about sharing your stories.
Jason: Because you want the audience to tell themselves a story kind of based on your story. It's like you were talking about people. It doesn't matter whether you got out of the car in your story, it's that people are thinking about it, they're putting themselves in the situation, they're relating to it and they're making it their own at that point. Right?
Abby: Oh, I mean it's the whole goal. I always talk about it. If you just go out of here feeling something today, then I've failed. If your feelings don't lead to action, then it was for not. Because people can get real feely, but it's the point of the feeling leading them to have a change.
In my little teeny tiny snippet, there is a full journey that goes on tour, and it's not until the very end, but by that point, people are ready to say, "Oh my gosh. I'm ready to get out of the car" because almost all of us have some decision in our lives right now that we've got this opportunity to get out of the car.
And for your audience listening right now, your opportunity is that everyone stuck at home and we're in uncharted territories. Are you going to be bold to step out of the car and meet your people where they are? Are you going to serve them today? Even though it's all just a big guessing game for all of us right now.
Jason: Yep. It's the time your life is not normal right now, so you might as well do something that's not normal, you might not normally do. Get out there and give it a shot. And if you end up failing, no one's going to remember because they have bigger things on their mind right now anyway, so you don't even have to worry about it.
Abby: Couldn't agree more.
Jason: So if people are interested in learning more about crafting stories, you do consulting. And can you talk a little bit about your services since you've been sharing tons of great information. Let's give yourself a little pitch here about the type of work you can do and how you can help bloggers.
Abby: Well, it's real funny. I started in the online business about 4 years ago, but again, it was for this faith ministry. And so as I was making friends and networking with other bloggers, I realized that there is this real need. Because most bloggers are introverts and you went into this so you could kind of be behind the screen and now everything's video and everything stages and virtual summits. So there's been this real need, and that's where Your Message Matters was born.
But it is truly in its infancy. I've started taking a couple of high-end clients who are looking to really take stages and things. But what's in the works is going to be more of a broad base to help people really learn to craft their stories.
Basically, this is me getting out of the car again. This is me seeing where there's a need and where my skillset from coaching high school kids to state champions. It's crazy how it's all just coming together and so it's just a new opportunity to serve in a different way.
Jason: I think it's something that's very needed because there is a lot of analytical writing out there and people are scared to put themselves out, especially with social media and criticism and trolls. Empowering people to share their message so they can connect with other people and create these tribes and groups of fans around each other, I think it's something that is really, really needed out there.
Abby: I just think there is this need for people to get laser focused on what really matters to them. And when you do that and it's serving your people legitimately, and I know that this authenticity it is so important, but I think another word for it, if you're tired of that word, is sincerity that you sincerely show up for your people.
And so that's where getting your message out and just getting laser focused on the person who you're serving. I think it helps with all the other nonsense like the trolls and stuff, it just makes them so unimportant.
Jason: I like your idea of trying to hone down the message as well. It definitely helps with storytelling and what you're getting out there, but it helps with everything, all your other decision making. If you know what your message is, what direction you're trying to go. It has, at least in my case, really clarified what I need to get out there and what type of content I should focus on and how to present it.
Abby: Oh my goodness. It's that planting of your flag. And to be honest, it's what I've been in the midst of trying when working on this brand-new business. Because again, I'm not going to sit here and pretend, "Oh, I've got it all figured out". I do know my skill set. I do know my superpowers. I love working with people. I love helping people be their very best, where they feel so amazing and they're confidently sharing their stories. It's really where I'm most comfortable. But as I'm navigating these new waters, what are people searching for? Do they even know what they need just yet? And so this is where I'm planning my flag is to help you clarify and communicate your message. And so it's where I'm planting it down.
Jason: It's so critical. We talk a lot in food blogging about finding your niche. And a lot of people say, well, is it healthy pressure cooker recipes? Is it outdoor grilling recipes? And that's one way you can look at it.
But another way is with your personal story, what is your take on this. It can really help you clarify your niche without even limiting the types of recipes you work on. But having the mindset and the point of view based on your history. Who you are can be a really good way to have you stand out without really limiting the type of stuff you can write about.
Abby: I think that's a brilliant statement. You should just write it down; it can be your new thing. Helping people find their food niche.
Jason: Niching is something that's very interesting to me and trying to figure it out is very hard. It's something I've really enjoyed learning a little bit more about, but I'm definitely not an expert on it yet.
Abby: I think it's always an ongoing learning process for sure.
Jason: Well, I really appreciate you coming on and sharing your expertise. I learned a ton and I think my audience is going to get a lot out of this. And if people have questions, they can get ahold of you at helloatabbyrike.com and check out your website and go get more information.
Abby: You've been a joy to talk to. I love your energy that you bring to your shows, it's infectious and it's something I feel like is really needed right now.
Jason: Well, thank you. I think you're great and I appreciate it so much.
Thank you. This has been Makin' Bacon, all about helping you serve your fans, grow your income and get the most out of your blog.
Until next time, I'm Jason Logsdon.