By now, I hope you know your brand story matters. If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you know your story matters.
But do you know why?
Why Your Brand Story Matters
Well, story is as old as human communication.
It’s what connects us consciously and unconsciously.
It cuts through the clutter and the noise of daily life.
Stories allow our brains to learn new things in a way that we are most likely to remember what we’re learning.
You do important work and the world deserves to know about it – especially those who will benefit from what you have to offer.
Your audience doesn’t know what you know. And no matter how hard you try to educate and inform people, their natural desire to stay comfortable prevents them from taking it all in.
Your brand story is the answer to that problem.
A powerful story opens the mind to new opportunities and new choices.
When you connect to a story you choose hope over fear. You choose trust over doubt. You choose acceptance over conflict.
When you tell a story you have the power to change the world.
Now, don’t roll your eyes at me. It’s true.
Think about it, if you are solving a problem for someone, you are making their life better. At least I hope you are making their life better. Because if you’re not, we need to talk. And if you are making their life better you are changing their world.
Brand Story Writing Tips
Based on feedback I’ve received, I think the biggest thing standing between someone and a better brand story, is fear.
- They aren’t a good storyteller. (They’re wrong.)
- They don’t know how to tell a story. (They’re wrong on this one, too.)
- They have no clue where to start. (Okay. I’ll give you this one.)
Here are a few tips to help you start. Just start.
1. Don’t focus on the final story
When you are taking the first pass at a story, don’t focus on the final story. Instead, write the ideas that highlight the key points of the story. The final story will evolve with each pass.
2. Don’t write and edit at the same time.
Do not write and edit at the same time. Writing and editing use two different parts of your brain. And when you interrupt one for the other, you are fully committed to either.
3. The final story is never the final story.
Be okay with the fact that your story will continue to evolve. Stories take on a life of their own. The more they are told, the more their personality develops. Let it happen naturally. Don’t control your storytelling environment so much that you hinder its growth.
Where You Might Get Stuck Crafting Your Brand Story
Well, you’ll get stuck (or stay stuck) if you don’t do get your stories straight. I can’t help you do that, you have to do that all on your own.
I can help you if you get stuck though. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask away. Don’t worry, there’s no catch. None.
The Bottom Line is …
Telling your stories goes beyond getting you noticed – it builds trust.
People are more likely to believe you when you a tell a story. And this is true not only in business but in your personal life as well. So do the work, practice your stories, and share them whenever you can. It will be the best thing you’ll ever do for your business. I promise.
Here’s to telling better brand stories!
Note: This Storyletter was sent to the tribe on November 5, 2017. Want in? Click here.
Do you know where all the attention has gone?
I have some ideas, but rest assured, I’m out there looking for it and I won’t stop until it’s found.
Entertain Me, Please
Here’s what I know:
- We’re a society that wants to be entertained.
- We binge watch, scroll and get our news in headline form.
- We are over-scheduled, always busy and stressed out.
- We’re not reading anymore; we’re skimming. (By the way, that’s why I’m writing in short sentences and even shorter paragraphs.)
And I’m as guilty as everyone.
I’ve already mentioned a million times that our attention spans are shorter than a goldfish.
Well, it seems as if it is getting shorter every day.
And what that means is that what worked last year to grab attention and earn new customers just isn’t working anymore.
Here’s a Little Story
We’re going to talk about how to fix it, but first, let me tell you a story.
It goes like this …
I was making some whipped shea body butter in my boutique. This was probably about ten years ago, right after I opened. To make whipped shea body butter, you have to whip a bunch of melted shea butter.
I was using my beautiful pink kitchen aide (which I loved) when for some reason (no logical one that I can think of) I lifted the whisk out of the bowl … while it was still spinning.
Shea butter went everywhere. It was in my hair, all over my clothes, on the walls and the floor. It was a mess.
Right then a customer came in and burst out laughing, which of course caused me to laugh. I helped her find what she needed while draped in body butter and before she left I asked her to take a photo.
She did, and later that day, I posted it with the story, probably something similar to what I’m saying here.
She commented on the post, as did a lot of other people. The next day someone came in and referenced the post. I may not have known it then, but I was onto something.
Find More Funny
The moral of the story is when I owned my business I didn’t know what it took to become memorable. What I did know was people responded to the funny things that happened during my day.
They liked when I made mistakes and laughed at myself (and still do).
But today, the burden of stopping the scroll is getting harder and harder.
Now, I know I sound like a broken record these days, but I’m cool with that.
Because I can’t say it enough …
YOUR STORY MATTERS!
And it’s time to adapt and experiment because there isn’t a proven, one-size fits all strategy out there.
Ready. Set. Story on.
Until next week,
You are one story closer to the business and life you’ve been working for.
P.S. Read the blog, grab your story guide, and start thinking about how you can become memorable. It’s how you’ll win attention and grow your business.
P.P.S. #HappyNationalDoughnutDay … Treat yourself. You deserve it.
P.P.P.S. Did you know there were two #doughnut days? Yep, you can celebrate the #donut on the first Friday in June and again on November 5th. Click here to read why donuts are getting all the love.
In this week’s #fiveonfriday Facebook Live, I shared my best five tips to help elevate your about page to show who you are in the best possible light and make that magical connection with your ideal customers.
Your about page is such an essential part of your website, and if you’re like most small business owners, you may have thrown something together just to have it there.
Your about page is the most, or second-most visited page on your site, which means you need to take your page to the next level.
Here are my notes from the Facebook Live, but before you go through them, I created a new story guide available. It’s called, How to Turn Your Website Browsers into Buyers; 15 Shortcuts for Storifying Your Website. Get it by clicking the button below.
1. Find Your Voice
I see a lot of businesses use the third person on their about page. And for big business and huge teams, this is an excellent place to start.
But let’s remember that people do business with people. And they want to do business with people they like. And they only get to like you if you personalize your about page, so they get to know the real you.
If you have a large team, then I recommend starting out with the business story but use your personal stories and those of your team to enhance the experience.
To tie in my business story, I included catchy headlines that broke up my story into themes. For instance, two of my headlines include Chasing Boys, Pivoting and Playing Poker and another is Black Sheep, Solutions & a Leap of Faith.
What I did group my stories into chapters and titled them. Then I wrote. I have a few sentences visible, and then a read more that expands that section if someone is interested.
Now to tie it back to my business and related it to my ideal customer, I shared the lessons I learned along the way. That does a few things.
- It shows my experience, without telling them I’m experienced.
- It positions me as an authority, without telling them I know it all.
- It shows that I learned lessons along the way, relating to my ideal customer who might be struggling right now.
Your about page is often the most visited or second-most visited page on your website. Yet, most people I talk to don’t give this page the attention it deserves and needs.
If people learn about you, opt-in to your list, come across an article you wrote, the very next thing they are going to do, is going to your about page. It’s usually not the very first impression, but it’s often the second. So what do you want that say?
2. Create an Attention Go-Getter
It’s not enough to create attention, grab it or hope for it. You have to go after it.
Even people that are seeking out information about you need to be wowed, or you’re going to lose them.
You have to start with a strong headline – something that will calm the ADD mind.
Think of the headline as an ad for the rest of your story. I’m not sure what way you’re supposed to swipe to show your interest (because I’m too old for that), but you want them to swipe that way.
Create interest. That’s my best advice.
I’m going to continue using my about page as an example. So I start with …
My name is Kim Yuhl, and my business card says I’m an: optimist, strategist, and allegorist.
I chose those words because they are accurate, they describe me, and what I do and they are unexpected.
Then I start in with my story.
One thing to remember as you create this page is that every line you write has a goal. And that goal is to get them to read the next line. Use that as your filter.
And I say this from the personal experience of a rambler. I ramble when I talk, and I probably ramble more when I write – if that’s even possible. So edit and ask will this hold attention and will they care enough to keep reading?
3. Be the Guide
Of course, this is the main point of your about page, right? To let people know who you are and how you can help them.
But it can’t be a list of achievements and testimonials. This is the place to get vulnerable and be heartfelt. People respond to people who make them feel something.
So empathize and guide through your story.
My opening goes something like this …
So being an optimist, strategist, and allegorist is great.
But the question everyone asks, including my mom (as in every time I go home), is …
So, exactly what do you do?
The short story is after starting and selling two businesses and spending 15 years as an entrepreneur; I took everything I learned and starting sharing the big lessons with small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them grow their business.
And here’s lesson #1:
THERE’S ALWAYS MORE TO THE STORY.
There’s credibility in the 15 years. I empathized by saying I get it; even my mom doesn’t know what I do. And then I started with a lesson giving a hint as to what is going to come.
It doesn’t need to be in list form. It is more important than ever to get creative!
4. Call Them to Adventure!
Knowing this is your most or second-most visited page is important information.
This is the best place to make sure you are capitalizing on gathering leads.
What is your core free-offering to gather contact information? Give them an option to get it here!
Now, I get to say … do as I say not what I do, because right now, I’m switching a few things out, and I didn’t get my brand new Call to Adventure done in time for today.
But right under I hope you choose to tell your stories, I give a resource to do just that. And I change it out every month. You don’t need to do that, but you definitely should have a way to collect a lead!
5. Stories. Stories. And More Stories.
Duh, right? Now, I know I’m all about the story. But seriously, if you can only have a story on one page – it would be this page.
Make people feel something. Let them in. Let them get to see a glimpse of the real you.
And that won’t happen when you are talking in the third person, and it certainly won’t happen if you go about listing what you do.
And that’s your five on this Friday.
Now, before I let you go, I want to let you know I have a brand new free story guide available. It’s called, How to Turn Your Website Browsers into Buyers; 15 Shortcuts for Storifying Your Website.
Until next time, remember … you are one story closer to achieving your biggest goals.
I read. A lot. And as a result, I pick up quotes and tidbits that I use in my business, in life and even with my teenagers. As someone who helps small business owners tell better stories, I have to spend some time getting their buy-in that telling a better brand story will actually help their business. There is an automatic wall that goes up because they don’t think they can do it, they don’t think they’ll be good at it, and it isn’t something that will necessarily give them a quick win.
My job is to help them overcome their inner critic and to begin to see themselves as a storyteller. Storytelling is a long-term marketing strategy for sure, but there are quick wins to be had, everyone can do it, and everyone has the potential to be good at it. Like most things, storytelling is a skill. So, when I set out to convince small business owners that a better brand story has the power to transform their business.
I use the following quotes to help me convince small business owners that a better brand story has the power to transform their business.
My 10 Favorite Business Storytelling Quotes
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
“It is safe to assume that any individual or group you wish to influence has access to more wisdom than they currently use. It is also safe to assume that they also have considerably more facts than they can process effectively. Giving them, even more facts adds to the wrong pile. They don’t need more facts. They need help finding their wisdom. Contrary to popular belief, bad decisions are rarely made because people don’t have all the facts.”
“The storytelling mind is allergic to uncertainty, randomness, and coincidence. It is addicted to meaning. If the storytelling mind cannot find meaningful patterns in the world, it will try to impose them. In short, the storytelling mind is a factory that churns out true stories when it can, but will manufacture lies when it can’t.”
“Vanity sets in when you love what you’re selling so much that you assume everyone else will too. You start to believe your idea will sell itself if you can just reach out and tell people about it. You’re wrong.”
“And the best preparation for writing any story is to know with clarity what your protagonists’ worldview is, and more to the point, where and why it’s off base. Thus you have a clear view of the world as your protagonist sees it and insight into how she therefore interprets and reacts to, everything that happens to her. It’s what allows you to construct a plot that forces her to reevaluate what she was so damn sure was true when the story began. That is what your story is really about, and what readers stay up long past their bedtime to find out.”
“Combining storytelling, humanity, and laughter will give you a huge advantage in your public speaking and the odds are good that you already have all the raw material you need.”
“To make our communications more effective, we need to shift our thinking from “What information do I need to convey?” to “What questions do I want my audience to ask?”
“The audience does not need to tune themselves to you—you need to tune your message to them. Skilled presenting requires you to understand their hearts and minds and create a message to resonate with what’s already there.”
“The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.”
“Survival lies in sanity, and sanity lies in paying attention…the capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.”