With World Book Day upon us this week, and social media feeds already being take over by hordes of cute children dressed up as their favourite literary heroes, it had me thinking about stories – those we tell and hear, and the ones we remember and repeat. I love reading, and writing (and talking), so this is a skill that comes naturally to me, and that I enjoy, but I realise it’s not the same for everyone.
We all need to be able to tell our stories effectively however, now more so than ever. In this digital information age – post pandemic – where most people have had (and many still do have) reduced contact with others, there is an increased need for connection and community.
We are drawn to, engage and do business with those people and brands (though generally it’s more the people) that we have an emotional connection to, and for me to emotionally connect with you – as a person or a brand – I need to really understand who you are, what you stand for, what you do, and why you do it (and I do want to read through reams and reams of boring literature in order to get there).
So how do you tell your story effectively?
1. Make it short and interesting
You want to capture my attention, and keep it! To do this it needs to be short and sweet and tell me about the details that would genuinely be of interest to me. None of us is really interested in going through a dry and boring company profile, or crusty old CV. Take a look again with a critical eye – is anyone really going to care about that award you won six years ago, or the magazine your face appeared in last year??
2. Let me in
It’s time to get up close and personal – don’t hide behind your brand, we want to know all about you as a person – and the other people behind your brand. It’s people we form the easiest and strongest connections with, and that we have emotional ties to, so tell us their stories… What makes you (and them) tick, what their passions are, their home situations, their motivations and desires at work.
3. The devil’s in the details
Give us some specifics about what you do – forget the industry terminology and long job titles, we want to hear some of the fun facts and quirky details about what the work entails, how your working days look, who you like working with, the common frustrations and issues. These kind of details allow us to empathise and connect with you much quicker, and make for much more interesting stories.
4. Be unique
When you read back through your company profile, or personal bio – or any of the promotional story-telling pieces you may do – does it read like everyone else’s? Unfortunately most brands still want to focus on how they are the biggest/best/fastest growing in the industry/region (and often without any evidence to support this), and the awards they have won, the amount of business they turn over. They all want to tell us about how they are customer-focussed, have a fresh approach, a talented team, and that their values centre around honesty, transparency, commitment, hard work, etc… Nowadays a lot of this should be a given, and if it’s not, you need to communicate it in a way that adds colour and detail and becomes easy to picture, understand and remember.
These simple steps may sound straight forward, but they are so often overlooked as we pick up the tried-and-tested templates of old, and start describing ourselves and our companies as if we are talking to an army of brain-dead robots, rather than an intelligent, friendly and emotionally-motivated human being, with a limited attention span and patience.
If you already know this is not your skill set, or something that you enjoy, and are not keen to write your own stories, then please do feel free to drop me an email email@example.com to see if I can help you to tell yours effectively.