Many years ago, in my ballroom dancing days (that’s a whole other story), my dance partner told me that everyone could write a novel because we all have a story to tell. Some stories are happy, others sad, some people tell it through writing or speaking and some prefer to tell their story through dancing or painting. No matter how you tell your story, as long as you use your true voice, people will feel your message. That hit me.
This course made me think of that day, over and over again. The message is clear-people won’t remember exactly what you tell them, but they will always remember the way you make them feel. Sounds simple, however there is a strategy involved in creating, telling and delivering your story.
Putting the strategy to use.
When people can relate to a story, and picture themselves as the main character, you are giving them an experience. It doesn’t matter what the content is, your audience wants to be engaged and relate to the story. They want to pulled into an authentic story that is unique and informative at the same time.
For example, I work for an I.T. company. We specialize in a variety of things, mainly cloud storage solutions and customized software. Yesterday, I received an email, filled with a bunch of snore worthy facts about how a home office will not operate like an onsite location. Boring to most people-right? But what if I took this information and told a story with it? Most of our clients are working from home right now, and call in daily with frustrations on how slow their system is working from home. I decided to create a series of posts, incorporating the information the network tech sent me, and created scenarios based from their experiences and how we could help them. I really don’t care for the technical mumbo-jumbo, but I do care about solving the clients issues. So I’m telling the story in a way that makes the client feel heard and validated in their frustrations, and I am still able to get the information out to them. They very well may not remember all the network solutions from the post, however they will remember that we care about their work from home experience and we are able to help them with their issues.
The platform is key.
This may be the dancer in me, however I always look at the platform of telling a story, kind of like a stage. You need to know that you are performing to the right audience. It would be ridiculous to expect a beautiful opera to be appreciated by an audience of death metal fans. The same goes for social media platforms. If I am a photographer the best places for to tell my story would be on Facebook, interest groups or Instagram.
Let’s go back to my work example of creating a series of posts for professionals working from home. Once the story series is completed, I need to gauge who needs to hear it. Luckily we have already done an audience analysis. I will post the stories to the platforms and groups used most by our customers and future clients. LinkedIn and Twitter work well to target professionals looking for network solutions. We do have certain technology interest groups on Facebook as well. I can track the engagement of these posts using my analytics tools, like SEMrush, and be able to gauge if my followers and hearing my story. Then I can adjust appropriately to ensure that my consumers are getting the best experience possible.
Creating an experience is what your story is all about. The follower or consumer wants an emotional connection rather than a lecture. Your audience knows when they are being fed a line or getting set up for a targeted sales pitch. However, if you acknowledge your audience, relate to them in a real human way, and engage them with your story, you have built a bridge of trust. No longer are they just number on your followers list, but instead a relationship.
Following the strategies outlined in this course has given insight to my story telling techniques. I have more direction and know that I can still deliver an authentic message with certain structures in place. I am able to better identify my target audience and steps needed to expand my reach. If you have any tips or tricks on how you tell and deliver your story, drop a comment below.
Thanks to everyone in this course for your blog and discussion post feedback. I have enjoyed reading your blogs and discussion posts and feel like we have all developed stronger story telling skills along the way. Thanks to the course facilitator Sonia as well! I always look forward to your comments and advice. Best wishes to all and continue telling your story!