This Simple Content Idea Works Every Time

This Simple Content Idea Works Every Time

Content creation usually requires a lot of trial and error, but for a content idea that ALWAYS works, I looked to some of my favorite movie scenes for inspiration.

Like in Miss Congeniality when the frumpy FBI agent Grace Hart becomes a stunning pageant queen.

Or in Clueless, when Tai Frasier gets a makeover and goes from stoner to stunner.

Or the iconic scene in She’s All That, when the class geek Laney Boggs makes an entrance down the stairs, stunning Freddie Prinze Jr. with her beauty.


If you haven’t guessed it by now, the surefire content idea I’m referring to is transformations. Transformations hit the mark every time you publish one, and they work for any medium. Here’s why:

Transformational content is versatile.

It’s not only people that undergo transformations. So can places, companies, and things. Any brand has the potential to share them.

We see this often on social media any time we see a person’s physical, mental, or behavioral traits transform. But an inspiring before-and-after can also apply to products, DIY projects, home renovations, or workplace culture.


Transformations are authentic.

But only if you communicate them correctly… Don’t skip right to the good part. 

Even a good testimonial can be a bad testimonial. For a transformation to be the most effective, you have to show the full story. Paint a picture of the bad, the ugly, and then the good. This gives the transformation more meaning and impact.

If you have a satisfied customer, don’t just share a happy-go-lucky quote. Help your audience understand their original problem and pain points so the transformation has a stronger story arc.


Transformations are compelling.

They give the reader something to look forward to, and there’s always a clear beginning, middle, and end. It’s likely your audience can relate to the before stage of the transformation themselves, and they’ll be interested to see how the story ends. Transformations are the perfect way to promote the idea that “if it worked for them, it will work for me.” 

Every great story has a strong hook, so be sure to frame your content with an interesting detail that will grab their attention. 


Transformations promote conversation.

If your audience sees the way things were before compared to how they are now, there’s a built-in wow factor. 

They’ll feel inspired to remark on the story or ask questions of their own. And since transformations typically emphasize improvements, your followers will want to applaud, congratulate, and engage.


Transformations illustrate credibility.

No matter what your expertise is, transformations show your impact. This can apply to products you sell or services you perform. Maybe you’re an artist who makes jewelry to upgrade someone’s look, or you’re a landscaper who gives homes some much-needed curb appeal. 

With transformations, you don’t have to explain why you’re an expert. They prove it on their own. This will make people trust you and want to work with you. 


Transformations build relationships.

A transformation is often highly personal. It’s admitting to the world that you needed to make a change. Your transparency and willingness to share the full journey with your audience not only make them feel closer to you, but it makes them want to root for you.

Because of this, vulnerability is key with transformations. Your content will be much more interesting if you share your imperfect experience. 


Transformations create an emotional connection.

Have you ever sat through an episode of Queer Eye and found yourself crying at the end? When you bring your audience along for a transformation, they experience the emotional roller coaster, too. They are an ideal opportunity to relate to your audience and inspire them to take action or get involved.


Transform Your Brand’s Content

Audit your content to see if you’re sharing enough transformations. This content idea works well as a blog post, short or long-form video, Twitter thread, or even before and after photographs. You also can get really creative with transformation transitions on TikTok! With every transformation you share, you’ll build trust and bring yourself closer to your audience.


Brands: How to Jump in on Trending Topics without Getting Canceled

Brands: How to Jump in on Trending Topics without Getting Canceled

If you knew all of your potential customers were going to a party, wouldn’t you try to make an appearance? Real-time trending topics are like parties on social media. It’s where your audience hangs out, and where your brand should, too. From the latest news in music, TV, sports, or movies, chiming in on pop culture trends demonstrates your brand’s personality. They are your chance to become the life of the party! 

The tricky part is that these content opportunities are unexpected. Despite our best efforts to plan a content calendar and get ahead, we can’t predict what becomes popular. That’s why content creation requires us to be agile, well-informed, and quick-witted. 

But there’s a right way and a wrong way to insert your brand into trending topics. Here are some considerations to help you avoid a social media party foul. 


Know your audience. 

We spend a lot of time understanding our audience’s demographics like age, location, or income level, but the magic happens when you know their interests. Research what your target customer likes to watch, listen to, or read. 

The beauty brand, Tarte Cosmetics, connects with their followers by live tweeting during The Bachelor. 



Create a routine that helps you catch up on the latest trends, current events, or headlines. This can be as simple as listening to a morning radio show while sipping your morning coffee, subscribing to a daily newsletter, or browsing trending hashtags on Twitter. Google Trends is also a helpful tool for monitoring popular search queries. 

When the ESPN documentary #TheLastDance became a national trending topic, DiGiorno knew their followers would get kick out of this live tweet. 


Do your research.

Sometimes, a topic may be trending for complicated reasons, or to highlight a sensitive subject. Before you jump into the conversation, make sure you understand its sentiment and context. You don’t want to associate the brand with a subject that can hurt your reputation. 

In light of Britney Spears conservatorship battle, the hashtag #FreeBritney has been trending in recent months. The Framing Britney Spears documentary also brought it to life and started conversations about mental health, misogyny, and abuse. Frontier Airlines saw this as an opportunity to develop a self-serving and tone-deaf promotion.


Frontier Airlines developed a tone-deaf promotion where anyone named Britney flies free


Use your judgment.

Unfortunately, marketing decisions aren’t always black and white. Don’t contribute to a pop culture topic if it feels forced. Also, if there’s a chance your content can seem offensive, insulting, or insensitive, sit this one out. 

Burger King should have thought twice before inciting the wrath of Taylor Swift fans with this tweet. Many accused the brand of being sexist. They responded with a promo offer to “shake it off”. 


Burger King tweeting a sexist comment about Taylor Swift


Have a team in place.

When the perfect opportunity arises, speed and efficiency matter. You don’t want to be late to the party. Be proactive by assembling a team and assigning roles in design, copywriting, and community management. 

Joe Biden’s campaign team could never have predicted a fly would land on Vice President Pence’s head during the vice presidential debate. The team quickly swooped in and saw this viral moment as a unique fundraising opportunity. They shared this tweet with the perfect photo and a link to donate. 


Think bigger.

Without a doubt, great content can make a splash. Your post may garner thousands of likes, comments, or retweets, but ask yourself if you can do something more. Pop culture doesn’t only happen within the walls of social media. Can do you something bolder by stepping offline? 

A perfect example is when Nathan Apodaca went viral on TikTok for his skateboarding video, featuring Ocean Spray and Fleetwood Mac’s song, “Dreams”. The brand surprised (and delighted!) him with a brand new truck in cranberry red. That’s a way more powerful response than a tweet.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ocean Spray (@oceansprayinc)


Although participating in pop culture and trending topics can help you build a bond with your audience, it can also induce pressure to be “always on.” This is your reminder that sometimes the timing won’t be right. Evaluate each opportunity to see if it’s worth shifting your priorities. Trends come and go, and it’s okay to pass. Join the party only when it makes sense.  


The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Brand Storytelling

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Brand Storytelling

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song is one of those timeless classics. In fact, I love it so much, I recently awarded it the top spot on a podcast where I ranked the top five ’90s sitcom theme songs. Whether you’re listening to it on your couch or at the bar, you can’t help but bop along. 

Most sitcom intros are set to a feel-good track, like Full House’s “Everywhere You Look” or Friends, “I”ll Be There For You”. But The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song takes us on a journey with a story. In fact, “story” is mentioned in the first line in the song.

I’m sure I don’t have to remind you, but it starts off like this:

Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air


The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air intro


This first verse sets the stage and the visuals in the opening credits illustrate the storyline.

But what if the Fresh Prince theme song went a little differently? What if the lyrics said:

Now, this is a story all about how
My life was perfect and everything was fine?

You wouldn’t have a story. There’d be no plot — nothing to hook in the audience or inspire them to stick around to see what happens next.  

Instead, we learned that Will Smith was facing a problem in his life that got flipped-tuned upside down.  

The Problem with “No Problem”

So what can marketers learn from a teenager from Philly who got caught up in some trouble on the playground?

In our industry, our job is to make ourselves or brands looks good, right? We want people to hire us, work with us, or buy from us, so it’s important to demonstrate you’re the perfect fit or solution.

But if you really want to build a bond with potential employers, clients, or customers, you have to share your full story — the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s not perfection, but imperfection, that will make them connect with you.

More often, marketers need to resist the urge to create flashy, sexy marketing, and instead go the more human route. Problems, struggles, and conflicts certainly aren’t glamorous, but they’re interesting. When you give the audience a story about a challenge you’ve faced, the more credible you’ll seem when you share how you overcame it.

A brand that is built on this foundation is Humans of New York. If you’re not familiar with Humans of New York, it began as a photography project by Brandon Stanton in 2010. He set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and along the way, he started interviewing them. He then shared quotes and short stories about his subjects on his blog and social media. The Instagram account alone has 11 million followers.

Humans of New York isn’t popular because it shares fluffy motivational quotes or uplifting stories of success. No topic is off the table — from divorce, to suicide, illness, loss, homelessness, and racism. With every story follows a slew of comments from people who can relate. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: stories like this are far too sad or serious to share with my audience. But these aren’t sad stories — they are triumphant stories. Every story ends with a message of strength and resilience.

You can capture that exact magic when telling your personal story, your company story, or your customer’s story. No matter what type of struggle or challenge unfolds in the story, the ending will foster a moment of celebration, connection, or pride. 

Here’s are some tips to help you share better stories and testimonials: 

Start from the beginning.

You think this would be a no-brainer, but more often than not, we skip right to the highlights. When your audience understands where you’ve been, the more they can appreciate where you are now.

Include a photo of the subject or interviewee.

Your audience wants to put a face to the story, and a quote means so much more when you can see who said it. Also, research indicates that pictures increase trust.

Show vulnerability.

Do you think Will Smith LIKED telling the story about his mom kicking him out of the house to live with his aunt and uncle in Bel-Air? No, but the most compelling stories shine a light on challenges or the uncomfortable.

Illustrate a transformation.

We always enjoy transformational content because it’s clear to see the full story of before and after or then vs. now. If you can, complement written stories with visuals to show growth or change.


Sometimes, to tell a great story, you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. But it’s these raw and authentic moments that your audience will resonate with most. So take it from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and share more of how your life got flipped-turned-upside-down. It will certainly make your brand more memorable. 

TRL and the Magic Formula for Raving Fans

TRL and the Magic Formula for Raving Fans

If you grew up in the late ’90s and early 2000s, long before Spotify, TikTok, and YouTube, Carson Daly was your gateway to new music. 

On September 14, 1998, a little show called Total Request Live (TRL) premiered on MTV. It was a driving force that helped launch the career of a few blonde bombshell likes Britney and Christina, boy bands like BSB and *NSYNC, and rappers like Eminem and Ludacris. 

For me, TRL was my daily after-school ritual. I looked forward to exclusive interviews and music video premieres. But the best part was seeing which videos would clinch the number one spot. And in an age when artists were pitted against each other more than ever, the competition got pretty heated.

But TRL really wasn’t about the music. It was about the fans

The Magic of TRL

Even before social media made two-way communication something you could do in an instant, TRL found a way to put the power in their fans’ hands. The programming was essentially crowdsourced.

The countdown wasn’t carefully curated by music journalists or producers. They left it up to the fans to show up and vote. We were empowered to control the outcome. 

MTV invited us into the studio. They let us take over the streets of Times Square. They answered our phone calls and counted our votes. TRL was our chance to feel seen, included, and heard.

This goes beyond simply acknowledging their audience. They made them part of the process, which is a surefire way to strengthen their bond.


How to Emulate the Success of TRL

Aside from the fact that the Backstreet Boys will always be better than *NSYNC, what can we learn from TRL? 

If we want to engage with our audience more, we need to apply one of the magic words from TRL’s acronym: REQUEST.

Simply pushing a message won’t activate your fans or customers. Truth be told, sometimes they need a little nudge, and all you have to do is ASK!  

Make your communication two-way by presenting them with a request.

You can request your audience to: 

  • Answer a question
  • Respond to a poll
  • Ask a question
  • Complete a survey
  • Share their opinion 
  • Choose this or that
  • Enter a contest
  • Vote for their favorite
  • Produce UGC
  • Leave a review
  • Tag a person or brand
  • Express an idea 


This approach is a win-win. Your content gets a boost, and your customer feels included.


Making Social Media ‘Social’

If you work in marketing, you’ve probably said this countless times: social media is meant to be ‘social.’ 

Along these lines, I tweeted the following phrase this week which seemed to resonate with my followers:


So no, you shouldn’t post your flyer on Instagram. 

We’re in this to start genuine conversations with our followers. But that’s not the end of the point I want to make. There’s a difference between interesting conversation and boring conversation. 

While you’re following TRL’s framework and requesting that your audience to engage, take a moment to think about what you’re asking. Are you asking a question that is rhetorical, overdone, or too broad?

Social media is cluttered with businesses asking lame questions with posts like 

“Happy Friday! Who’s ready for the weekend?” 


We’re not sitting at our computers anxious to tell businesses how we feel about the weekend. But if you asked us something interesting, we’d be more likely to respond.

For instance, if you’re a local bar with a happy hour special, instead of a post that says “Happy Friday, who’s ready for happy hour?”, you could ask your audience to comment with their go-to happy hour drink.

This starts a REAL conversation, and more importantly, it lets people talk about themselves. Trust me, that’s what your followers want. 


Give Your Followers the Answers

The other thing to keep in mind when asking questions on social media is not to make it too difficult. If you’ve gotten your audience to stop their scroll, don’t make them complete a math problem, for lack of a better analogy. 

It’s best to ask questions with a finite number of answers, or where something specific can easily come to mind. 

That’s why content where your audience chooses this or that, answers multiple-choice, or votes is a simple mechanic. 

And if you ask an open-ended question, you don’t want it to be so broad your audience can’t quickly think of an answer, and is forced to move on. 

In his book, Thinking Fast & Slow, Daniel Kahneman describes our modes of thought, and he breaks them down into system 1 and system 2 thinking. 

We employ system 1 for fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, or unconscious thoughts or decision. 

System 2, however, is slow, effortful, calculating, and conscious thinking.

As marketers, we want to make it easy on our audience and present them with opportunities to use system 1 thinking. Calling for system 2 is usually asking too much.

You know what they say… keep it simple, stupid!

Asking for User-Generated-Content 

In addition to not making your audience think too hard, you don’t want to make them work too hard either!

Thankfully, social media has made it easier than ever for fans to share their thoughts, photos, or videos. But I’ll end this post with a throwback clip of Britney Spears and Melissa Joan-Hart guest hosting TRL in which they encouraged the audience to FAX THEM UGC to enter a contest.

Fast forward to the 3 minute mark:


If you want your brand to thrive, do whatever you can to reduce friction and make it easier for your audience to engage with you. They’re busy enough, so when you have their attention, make it count. 


READ MORE: 6 Steps to Turn Ordinary Customers into Superfans

Pop-Up Video’s Lesson for Content Creators

Pop-Up Video’s Lesson for Content Creators

It’s wild to think that TikTok has become a vehicle for people to discover music. Growing up, I turned to traditional media to fuel my passion for music — radio, print, and television. 

One TV show I always gravitated toward was VH1’s Pop-Up Video. Although it only aired from 1996 to 2002, there are so many takeaways from this show that we can apply to content creation today. 

If you don’t remember Pop-Up Video, it was a mini music video marathon where fun facts would pop up onto the screen. As you watched, you’d learn various things about the musician, the video production, or other relevant factoids.

Here’s an example from the beloved Spice Girls video for “Wannabe”. 

My favorite pop-up reveals some Spice Girls history: each member was hand-selected out of 400 women who responded to an ad for a girl group. 


A Content Creation Must: Education

The mark of any interesting piece of content is that it serves a purpose. Whether it be to entertain, inspire, connect, or educate, you want to publish content that feeds your audience. Although the factoids shared on Pop-Up Video are far from academic, they still educate the viewer. These fun facts provide context and insights that make the music video more enjoyable.From your email campaigns to social content and YouTube videos, incorporating facts is a surefire way to enhance your content. Here’s why:


Facts illustrate your brand’s WHY. 

As Simon Sinek always says, start with why. Sharing facts with your audience can illustrate how your company got started. 

For instance, after learning that 14 billion pounds of plastic end up in our oceans each year, two friends took action. Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze created, 4ocean, a company committed to removing plastic from our oceans. Publish the facts about your industry that inspired you to make a change.


Facts help establish credibility.

One way to instantly build your credibility with facts is to do a myth-busting content series. This will educate your audience while you show your expertise.

For example, imagine you are an interior designer. You could debunk a design myth, such as “everything in your house should match.” Then, explain how to pair various colors, patterns, and textures. Better yet, illustrate it with photos and videos.


Facts show your brand’s personality.

Your audience doesn’t choose to work with you solely based on reputation or impressive accolades. Personality is what sets you apart from the competition, especially if you have similar credentials.

Perhaps you’re trying to choose a financial advisor to help you set up a college fund for your small children. A candidate whose “About” page touches on personal details, like the fact that he or she is also a parent, may influence your decision. The other advisors you’re considering may be just as qualified, but you relate to this one more.


Facts boost engagement. 

We all know that the purpose of social media is to be social! Positioning your factual content in a trivia-style format is a simple way to open things up for conversation. 

You can ask your audience to make a guess about a statistic, fill in the blank, answer true or false, or build intrigue with a “did you know” series.


Facts bring you closer to your audience.

A small fact about you or your company may be what inspires a potential customer to work with you. We like to buy from companies we are proud to support.

Share facts about how your brand gives back to the community. If you are a corporation that has also raised thousands of dollars for charity, let your audience know. These details can be the push your audience needs to hear before conversion.


Facts inspire your audience to share.

In his book Contagious, Jonah Berger says that audiences like to feel smart. When we’re in the know about something, we’re more compelled to share this information with our social circles, both on and off social media. 

Going back to Pop-Up Video as an example, facts make for interesting conversation. The next time I’m out and hear a Spice Girls song on the radio, I may feel compelled to mention their backstory, which I learned from Pop-Up Video.


It’s Easy to Face the Facts

Content creators can breathe a sigh of relief because interesting facts are all around us! Rather than banging our heads against the wall to come up with creative content ideas all the time, all you have to do is a little research.

Start by asking questions and you’ll learn of countless interesting facts to share with your audience.


READ MORE: What Content Creators Can Learn from Ariana Grande READ MORE: 6 Reasons to Use Pop Culture in Your Marketing Strategy 

This Storytelling Tip Explains Why “All Too Well” is Taylor Swift’s Best Song

This Storytelling Tip Explains Why “All Too Well” is Taylor Swift’s Best Song

During a performance for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series last year, Taylor Swift addressed something I’ve known for quite some time: her best song isAll Too Well.” 

Several media outlets have ranked Taylor’s songs over the years, and “All Too Well” is almost always at #1. Here’s a quote from a write-up in Rolling Stone by Rob Sheffield:

“You can schaeden your freude all over the celebrity she reputedly sings about, but on the best day of your life you will never inspire a song as great as ‘All Too Well.’ Or write one.”

And this is not an unpopular opinion. Every Swiftie knows that “All Too Well” is an absolute masterpiece. It’s on her fourth album, RED, and it happens to be one of her longest songs at 5 minutes and twenty-seven seconds. 

From the first line, you cling to her every tragic word. Taylor said she loves screaming the lyrics together with her fans at her shows.

taylor swift all too well live at the piano

As someone who has always been in awe of Taylor’s writing, I wanted to analyze what makes “All Too Well” her best work. She has over 150 songs in her catalog, so what’s different about this one?


Storytelling Through Lyrics in “All Too Well” 

I recently read a book called How to Write Short by Roy Peter Clark, which has an entire chapter about storytelling through song lyrics. It’s fascinating to see how songwriters are able to paint storylines, evoke emotion, and illustrate such vivid details through a single line or verse. 

But it was another book that really helped me understand what “All Too Well” gets right. 

In Stories That Stick by Kindra Hall, she explains the components that make a great story. One of them is this: great stories ZOOM IN on the details.

A common storytelling mistake is speaking in generalities, which makes our writing too vague. When you zoom in, you drill down to the specifics. This is where the magic happens.

It’s one thing to write a song about love or heartache, but the story escalates when the listener can envision the details — faces, places, objects, and everything in between.

This is the entire premise of “All Too Well”. The title itself speaks to how Taylor remembers specific moments of her relationship “all too well.” 

Rumor has it, the song is about Jake Gyllenhaal.

Right from the first verse, Taylor sets the scene and tells us about a scarf she left at Jake’s sister’s house. 

I walked through the door with you, the air was cold
But something ’bout it felt like home somehow and I
Left my scarf there at your sister’s house
And you still got it in your drawer even now

She could have simply mentioned that she left some of her stuff there, but she zooms in on the scarf. It inspires us to think about what the scarf represents. Why would he keep the scarf? He must miss her, and the memories they made. This simple item now has meaning.

Taylor continues to illustrate objects and moments in the lyrics:

We’re singing in the car, getting lost upstate
Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place
And I can picture it after all these days

‘Cause there we are again on that little town street
You almost ran the red ’cause you were looking over me
Wind in my hair, I was there, I remember it all too well

Photo album on the counter, your cheeks were turning red
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-size bed
And your mother’s telling stories ’bout you on a tee ball team
You tell me ’bout your past, thinking your future was me

‘Cause there we are again in the middle of the night
We dance around the kitchen in the refrigerator light
Down the stairs, I was there, I remember it all too well, yeah

And then, in a heart-wrenching turn of events, Taylor zooms back in on the scarf:

But you keep my old scarf from that very first week
‘Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me
You can’t get rid of it, ’cause you remember it all too well, yeah

Although it may seem like a small detail, the scarf adds so much color and context to this love story. It helps us gain a deeper understanding of the characters and their feelings.

This same logic needs to be applied to your own writing. 

You may think no one cares about a scarf or the minute details of your experiences, but they transform a story from ordinary to extraordinary. Don’t leave them out.

How significant can a small detail be? The Rolling Stone article said Taylor’s scarf should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 


UPDATE after Red (Taylor’s Version)

In the rerelease of her 2012 album Red, Taylor gifts us an incredible 10-minute version of All Too Well, filled with more specific details that enhance the story. We learn about new objects in addition to the scarf, and descriptive moments or dialogue that help us envision this love story. All of these elements elevate the story from a typical love song to a heartbreaking ballad where you can feel every word.

And you were tossing me the car keys, “fuck the patriarchy”
Key chain on the ground, we were always skipping town
And I was thinking on the drive down, any time now
He’s gonna say it’s love, you never called it what it was

You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine
And that made me want to die

Not weeping in a party bathroom
Some actress asking me what happened, you
That’s what happened, you
You who charmed my dad with self-effacing jokes
Sipping coffee like you’re on a late-night show
But then he watched me watch the front door all night, willing you to come
And he said, “It’s supposed to be fun turning twenty-one”

Side note: As expected, the re-release of Red set social media on fire, but the chatter wasn’t limited to Swifties. Even brands were chiming in. I compiled a list of tweets from brand accounts that were about Red (Taylor’s Version). The creativity was amazing! View the tweets here.


A Swift Tip: How to Zoom in on Your Own Storytelling

Whether you’re writing a novel, a song, or the copy for your “About” page, details are powerful.

So how do you pack more of them into your writing? 

It starts with remembering them… all too well.  

This is why Taylor Swift has been journaling since she was a teenager. She writes entries about her daily life, which makes every moment and emotion crystal clear. 

All of her songs start off as rough drafts in her journal, including “All Too Well.” With the purchase of her latest album, Lover, Taylor included scans of her original entries. As a fan, it was fascinating to see her process, chicken scratch and all. 

taylor swift all too well journal entry


Take it from one of the best songwriters of our generation: journaling is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your writing and your life.


The Secret to Effective Journaling

Does anyone else have a bunch of empty notebooks lying around? 

I admit, I’ve picked up journaling many times in my life, but it never stuck. I’d get super excited, and write every day for a week, then stop. 

That all changed when I received a journal as a gift for my 30th birthday. I hadn’t recorded my twenties the way I wanted to (or maybe that’s a good thing!), but my thirties would be different.

Here’s how to make your journaling habit stick: 

Get a journal you like. 

This is another small detail that makes a big difference. I felt so uninspired to journal in ratty spiral notebooks and composition books. 

There are so many beautiful journals that suit your personality and get you in the mood to write. Choose a color, style, and format that you love.


Do it your way. 

Most people perceive journaling all wrong. It’s not meant to be stressful — it should actually reduce your stress. But it starts with giving yourself permission to do it your way.

No, you don’t have to write every day.
No, you don’t need long entries.
Yes, you can draw and add stickers and have bulleted lists and do all the things that make it yours

If you really want journaling to be a habit, you need to keep your journal in sight and incorporate it into your routine. Maybe you keep it next to the coffee maker, so you write after you make your morning coffee. Or after you make your bed, you place it on your pillow so you write at the end of the day.


Set a trigger.

If you really want journaling to be a habit, you need to keep your journal in sight and incorporate it into your routine. Maybe you keep it next to the coffee maker, so you write after you make your morning coffee. Or after you make your bed, you place it on your pillow so you write at the end of the day. 

Attach your journal to something else you do every day, so it remains top of mind. 

Attach your journal to something else you do every day, so it remains top of mind. 


Still not sold on journaling? 

Here are some of my favorite quotes that may inspire you: 

“Journal what you love, what you hate, what’s in your head, what’s important. Journaling organizes your thoughts; allows you to see things in a concrete way that otherwise you might not see. Focus on what you think you need to find in your art.” -Kay Walkingstick

“A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to become. It is a perfect place for you to think, feel, discover, expand, remember, and dream.” -Brad Wilcox
“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life expanding.” -Jen Williamson

“People who keep journals have life twice.” -Jessamyn West


READ MORE: Taylor Swift’s Lesson about Discounting

LISTEN: What Marketers Can Learn from NBC’s Songland