COM0014 – Blog 2 – Successful Storytelling in a Nut Shell !

COM0014 – Blog 2 – Successful Storytelling in a Nut Shell !

In order to be successful in having a targeted audience, one must entice the reader to want to read more starting with a catchy headline. The reader will be like a bee attracted to the sweet nectar of a flower, always wanting more!  Being comprehensible and having good flow of information are pieces of the puzzle that will give a clear picture to the reader.

With todays companies there are major power struggles, in order to be a leader you must raise above the competition with your target audience. Proof reading your articles for grammar and spelling errors can either make you a success or failure, it is a make or break situation. Your information must be accurate and kept continuously updated. I have attached a link at the end of this article, which is a great sample of a company not updating with the times.

You may have to trial and error while creating your storytelling in order to draw the select audience. Welcome feedback or suggestions from them, listening is part of a successful plan. Having readers share your story is a great way to spread your information provided it is user-friendly to do.

 

Below is a video link from Inside Edition that was featured in Business Insider Publication

11 year old Megan Markle 1993 takes on Global Company Procter & Gamble

 

This video is proof that there are different ways to perceive messages in advertising and sometimes the company does not prevail and must adjust to their audience. I applaud her in making a difference that changed ideas worldwide. A 1993 social study project that made a difference to this day for all.

COM0015 – Assignment #5 – Professional development in the Government of Canada

A promising opportunity

Back in January, I participated in a webinar called “Audience Personas: A Day in the Life of your ‘Digital’ Audience”. I learned about it through a mailing list that I am on at work. It was a free, internal-to-government professional development opportunity organized by the Department of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), and hosted by a gentleman from Environics Analytics. I had watched a few of PSPC’s previous webinars on different issues related to marketing policies and practices for government, and, based on the title of this session, I thought it would be a good complement to my COM0015 readings, and good fodder for this assignment.

Proof that I was there

Here are a few screenshots from the webinar:

Echo…echo…echo…

Unfortunately, the experience proved to be very disappointing. The room was not equipped with microphones so that people asking questions in the room could be heard by the people participating online. Coupled with this, the presenter was clearly not used to presenting to an audience that is simultaneously in the room and online, so he did not think to repeat back the questions he was hearing for the benefit of the people online, nor did he or anyone else appear to be manning to online chat, where I and others were asking for help hearing the proceedings. The result: I interacted with no one. So much for the digital audience!

It was also disappointing from a content perspective, as the presentation talked about digital audience demographics only at a high level. Instead the presenter talked at length about the benefits of a new Environics Analytics tool that, if purchased, would provide departments with greater audience insights. Since my department has a contract with a different analytics platform, this presentation was not of much use to me.

What did I learn?

What I DID get out of this experience, was a reminder that online professional development experiences can be useful, but only if the people or organization behind it are fully committed to their online audience.

Take two

I had a much more positive professional development experience a few weeks later, in the form of a reunion of sorts with a small group of my current and former colleagues. My former director, a woman named Julie, inspired a great deal of loyalty among the people that she hired. About six years ago she moved on to a different department in government, and we, her team, have mostly gone our separate ways. But once or twice a year, someone in the group will propose an “Équipe à Julie” (Julie’s team) get-together over drinks.

Beerocracy

Part of Julie’s team at a pub in February, 2018 – Nicole, me, Edith, Claudine, Ian, Tina. Julie was kept late at the office, so we started without her.

I’m not normally one for small talk with colleagues, but gatherings of Julie’s team are usually pretty lively, and a great way to get the inside scoop on what is happening in other departments, so I decided to go.

What did I learn from the interaction?

What I learned was that, while the federal government is huge, Ottawa is still a small town – everyone knows everyone. I was also reminded that it’s wise to keep in touch with people you have enjoyed working with, because someone is always recruiting or looking to be recruited. Edith has now followed Julie to three different departments, and Julie had just recruited Nicole to join her communications shop; Nicole, in turn, promised to share her insights into that department with me once she gets settled. My contribution to the evening was to encourage others to tell their stories, share some of the things I have learned about social media and branding through my Algonquin studies, and provide ready laughter as the drinks increased and the stories around the table got sillier.

Notable quotable

There wasn’t particular quote from the evening that I remember, but there was one piece of information that was shared at the table that was noteworthy. Edith informed us that another person that we had all worked with when we were a team had very recently learned that he has Stage IV cancer; that he was about to undergo experimental treatment, but that his cancer was very likely terminal. It was very sobering, and, while it in no way compares to whatever he and his partner must be going through, it was a good reminder that, as satisfying as work itself can be, it’s the relationships we build that matter most. Everyone agreed that another get-together with a more expansive invitation list needed to be arranged soon.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely I would meet with this group again. This is a team that seems to genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and from what I have seen, is always ready to offer support, be it through personal challenges, professional dilemmas, or talent evolution. I would be lucky to continue to be remembered as a part of Julie’s team.

COM0014: Blog 2 – The stories we tell are all about the sell

This week’s readings really reinforced the fact that style, format, and attention to detail are key to effective digital communications. Without these, your time and efforts to reach your audience are wasted, because their limited attention will wander elsewhere, and you may have lost an important engagement opportunity.

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What struck me the most, though, was that what you’ve ultimately lost is a sales opportunity. To me, when we write for an audience, no matter the audience, what we are really doing is trying to sell something. Storytelling and selling are, I think, inextricably linked.

 

Let me walk you through it

The way companies describe their products rarely involves simple statement of fact. No matter how natural it may sound, the language and tone describing the product are deliberately chosen to support the company’s overarching brand narrative. And that narrative aims to impress upon consumers what the company stands for, and to sell the consumer on a vision of who he or she is – or could be – by purchasing that product. If the company tells their story well, their customers will engage and continue to tell it for them on social media, by retweeting company content or creating their own content (e.g. Instagram posts featuring the product) that allows the customer to participate in the company’s storyline. If, for example, I buy an environmentally friendly baby wash and share that fact on social media, I am selling people on not only the product, but on the idea of me as a responsible consumer and earth-friendly person.

essential-oils-2535611_1280

I buy natural, therefore, I am

Over to you

What do you think of the link between storytelling and sales? If your digital content is personal, or inwardly focused, what are you selling?

COM0014 – Blog #2 – Writing a Digital Story

It is difficult to change the way I write when I have spent so much time training and learning to write prose as I presently do. When you’re telling a conventional story, you want to give the reader just enough information to keep them interested but not enough to give the hook – or big twist – away. However, writing for social media and digital communications is a different formula; you want to lead with that key piece of information because that is what interests the reader from the get go. You then want to introduce the points you will touch on in the article.

An additional point which I understand completely but also find baffling is knowing the end game before you even start writing your first sentence. Out of everything I have written, my favourite piece to date by far is the one I wrote with little planning, the character and her story evolved that year as I did and because of that became my most important story. I wrote stories, first outlining key elements and then starting, but I found the experience less exhilarating as a creative person.

The constant here of course is grammar, spelling and punctuation. The moment any piece of writing other than that of a second grader’s is riddled with mistakes it is looked at as unprofessional.

What styles of writing do you use when writing? Is your writing conventional, unconventional or somewhere in between?

COM0015 – Assignment 1 -Blog 4 – Out of the Box

Combining everything that we already knew about SOCIAL MEDIA with all the cases we’ve studied and all the best tools that are to be had: it feels like I’m only ever getting half-way to a solution.  Before starting this program, I thought I had a hunch about a few tools and programs out there in the real world of business meets social media… but.. wait a minute: ‘Things are changing… how will I ever keep up?’

LISTENING + LEARNING + STAYING IN ACTION  = keep to keeping up with trends and generating new ways of looking at the world through the lens of #SocialMediaMeetsBusiness.

OutsideofBox.png

So what do I hope to accomplish with social media?  Is it working? Well, I’m constantly learning new tricks.

From what I gather, I’m using platforms that are suited to my particular field and/or project(s.)  I’m learning from others about the varied style of communication using social media = the ins and outs of sharing your message.  What works for some people is worth a try but it might not quite work for me.  I guess it’s all a question of finding a style and sticking to it..

GOING MOBILE?  Here are a few tools that might come in handy…

I’m always looking for social media inspiration: taking free webinars and online courses.  I have found a whole bunch of useful information about how mobile apps come into play

Instagram can house short videos… Hilary Rushford, of Dean Street Society, hosted a webinar called: ‘Doubling Your Instagram Following.’

Distributing a free workbook, her program talked about free tools for editing and posting images on Instagram.

VSCO CAM = where you add a photo to your library and she talked us through using the editing tools.

@HilaryRushford also talked about the PERISCOPE App = live mobile video streaming; which works really well when you’re sharing content on a road trip, from various locations.

Another useful tool that I’ve grown to love is HOOTSUITE Suggestions...

Right from my iPhone, I am able to call up HOT TOPICS that I can easily share on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

FYI>> It gives you THREE topics to search for and you can assign unlimited accounts… so make sure that you tweak the settings before posting on multiple accounts.  Be #strategic in what you post and where.  Double check your postings on each platform to catch anything that goes wrong.  If in doubt, delete and give it another try.  Skill takes practice.

Puzzled by PINNING?

PINTEREST is a social media platform that would appear to have limited application to business… but Melanie Duncan’s webinar gave me a whole bunch of information about optimizing this platform to steer traffic from PINS back to your company site.

> The type of material you PIN is part of the formula.  Inforgraphics are the most popular format (they spread like wild fire.)

Melanie also suggest the following tools:

PICMonkey =  Protecting your content with a watermark

Easily creating infographics = www.infogr.am

Getting a Pinterest tab for your Facebook Page = www.woobox.com/pinterest

Pinterest stuff = Courtesy of Melanie Duncan (www.powerofpinning.com/course

> The BLOGEME poster thingy I built (featured image)  still lives on scribd.com which I’ve embedded on my personal blog (backdoor access = click expand button on bottom corner) http://ow.ly/MFQx302Y1sy

COM0014: Blog Post #7 – Personal Reflection

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the good, the bad, the less-than-stellar, the fugly…and every shade of colour under the sun.

taller de ilustracion digital - 381

Words are forever on the lips and hearts of the future…

My story *is* my brand. My words illustrating the made-for-tv-movie kind’o’life that is being a chronic disease patient in the throes of the managing my own little part in the Cosmos. Readers come for the coffee, stay for the story. The challenge has been to stifle the “societal norms of blogging” that tell me to write clean and proper. I’ve undertaken to write my journey, my stories, as real, raw and authentic as they are, because that is a true to form reflection of what life is all about.

Transparency has been key, and, to be honest, is really, *really*, nerve-wracking. I’ve written about my journey through mental health issues, some very significant. I’ve written about a recent physical assault in order to provide a voice to those who may not find their own. I’ve ALSO written about one of my twin boys having pooped in a floor vent when he was four years old, about my healing through art projects and about my passion for playing video games and how I totally suck, but enjoy the escapism nonetheless. It has been this very transparency upon which I’ve built and solidified my brand. Lupus Interrupted IS “Me.” on every level. It’s how I am viewed not only as a blog, but as a person. I have never split up my personalities in order to conform to one view of norms over another dependent on location. I believe this is the fodder for becoming legendary.

The deep, wide angled view of my world.

This is what resonates with people. How one crafts their story within the context of their journey. This particular course has been a validation that what I endeavour to craft is, in fact, on the right track in making those connections with people and of inter-personal engagement. My use of my own personally crafted catch-isms (like #gladitude) and phrases are validated when I see my friends post them on their own walls and tweets.

Stories live forever. Digital communication is merely one medium of recording what it is that we’re trying to say. I want to say it all by living the way I write, and writing the way I live.

COM0014: Blog Post #6 – Your story

COM0014: Do People Know Your Story?

They loom like an unassuming shadow. Seen by many, known by few. As she travels the road through the healthcare system, they are her supporting actor in her made-for-tv-movie kind of life. They are the sidekick to her fight against villainous poisons that plague the healthcare communities.

“C.H.”

Two years ago I received my Chartered Herbalist designation. No small feat, given the eleventy-billion on-the-go’s I’d had on my plate: Five kids. A business. A not-for-profit. Yet, I’d sought out education to further my understanding of complimentary, alternative therapies for the autoimmune disease that plagues my path in life. Sometimes, this path leads me through low-grade chemotherapy treatments. Sometimes, this path leads me to the ice cream aisle.

As my advocacy bloomed to life six years ago, and many networks and communities were joined, I’d noticed one glaringly obvious commonality between them all: The search for information regarding alternative therapies. I was also profoundly bombarded with the “latest and greatest,” the conspiracy theories, the snake oils and…best of all: CURES.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that currently has no cure. It has no cure, because scientists cannot trace its originating cause. This can be witnessed in the extreme variability of symptoms shown by patients afflicted with the disease. Some have merely a facial rash. Others, systemic organ failure.

I sought to understand anatomy, body systems and the chemical constituents of plants that highlight herbalism and its foundational basis for many of the pharmaceuticals we use today. So, why do I not share a lot of my compounded knowledge between the natural and the scientific?

PDR

PDR = Physician’s Desk Reference A must for defining contraindications!

I do not, as yet, have a game plan to manage the legal liability. You see, the common layman can tote anything as a “cure.” The significant problem arises that the average patient is so sick from the combination of pharmaceuticals any of us receive on an ongoing basis, coupled with an often devastating loss of hope, that they will seek solace in trying just about anything that may give them the relief they yearn for.

Herbs + Pharmaceuticals = The potential for devastating contraindications.

Sure, I’ve shared my Badass Hand & Body Wash…or my Badass Bug Spray…but, I don’t know my common reader from a hole in the wall. Thus, I do not know what your entire health photograph looks like. What medications ARE you on? What is your blood pressure? Blood glucose? Heart health history?

I have an ethical duty of care to provide a complete analysis for a patient in my care as an herbalist. I can only hope ethics and morality will factor in and trump the financial gain of promoting products that, essentially, have the possibility of contraindications so severe as to compromise the lives of so many just hoping for some relief in their journey of pain and disease.

COM0014: Blog Post #2 – Storytelling & Communication Styles

Books

Whose story are you really telling?

This isn’t your grandma’s nighttime reading. At least, not mine. My story is raw, real and colours your thoughts and opinions with language and humour while defining the very nature of living with challenge and perseverance. Writing and blogging about health is a challenge of manipulating story with facts and resources while wrapping the content under an umbrella under which people will want to stand. A challenge of a necessary evil in content creation to determine where my story meets the reader’s expectations to be entertained and educated.

One of the main catchphrases of Lupus Interrupted is, “Life ain’t all about purple painted ponies pooping butterflies jacked up on SugarSmacks.” The reality of how I discovered my story writing abilities and, consequently, my communication style began the very first time my website was declined to be featured on more readily-recognized website due to “the effective use of language that may offend some of our readers.”

Challenge: [Accepted]. I was hooked at that very moment to be the most real “Me.” I could be in my writing. I’d had to look critically at the nature of how I express my thoughts, opinions and my journey itself and compare it to what my readers were wanting when they approached my blog to read as opposed to the plethora of every other health blog and website on the Web 2.0. There are academically sourced, clinical websites. These are not my website, nor do I ever want Lupus Interrupted to become an academically sourced, clinical website. My resonance with my readers and followers is based on my ability to write the authenticity of a journey through autoimmune disease as a woman, a mother and a generally awesome human being thrust in the chaos of the Cosmos of managing the “Everything” in the world.

For those who are familiar with my uber-favourite blog and blogger, “The Bloggess,” you have an idea of where I get my determination to remain true to my own writing and communication style without succumbing to the social stigma of telling a story peppered with language, sarcasm and a rapier wit. Look at the number of comments on her posts and it is a fitting validation of what readers are seeking when they click on any of her content.

I have found the requirement, however, to maintain a balance between posts that my readers can superficially skim and those that require further thought and analysis. Could I ever say that my style brings in the variety of readers (Elementary, Inspectional, Analytical and Syntopical) and engages them on each level? No. And, Yes. I’ve discovered my storytelling abilities are validated when I see them post recognition of various elements I strive to include in my writings. “#gladitude”, for example. I see them actively using thoughts, ideas and expressions they have found within my content and displaying it for others to see on their own social media feeds.

I still strive for the engagement within the blog content itself. Comments usually flow best on the content that my readers most intimately resonate with (usually mental health, parenting or choice of perspective posts) and lack within posts that are product-oriented or factual.

It’s an interesting challenge to continually modify and adapt content within my story telling in order to best resonate with readers and followers in their own journeys through chronic disease. The key is to watch and listen how they are using the content to formulate their own perspectives and how they are choosing to share it (platforms, media, posts) to others.

Do you find your attendance to certain websites is based on your attraction to the content and, if applicable, do you visit various sites because they *are* different in content?

 

COM0014: Blog Post #1 – Abide, Dude.

“What I Did on My Vacation”

Being an on-my-own, business entrepreneur, non-profit organization co-founder AND mother of five, I had to Google the word, “vacation.”

va·ca·tion

vāˈkāSH(ə)n,vəˈkāSH(ə)n/

noun

  1. NORTH AMERICAN

an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.

“he took a vacation in the south of France”

synonyms: break, time off, recess, leave, leave of absence, furlough, sabbatical, spring break

Ah. I see. THAT, I can do within the chaos of my made-for-tv-movie kind of life!

I take myself and some of the younglings camping at a friend-owned campground just a stone’s throw past Eganville, Ontario, called Raven’s Knoll. For me, it’s a place of healing, both in the re-connection with the nature around me, but spiritually and emotionally. “RK,” as it’s referred to, is a place for me to reconnect to the people, places and things that bring my health-addled carcass a reprieve from the chaos of the Cosmos. As a global health advocate for the disease, Lupus, I regularly encourage and engage my community to make a choice. Good or bad, right or wrong, to step up to the proverbial plate and “Do.”

Me? I choose to go camping and make a memory. “How to Make a Memory”, on Lupus Interrupted, illustrates the importance and meaning of this choice.

Abide

The word is, “Abide…”

One of the most liberating and playful events I’d attended last summer was LebowskiCampFest, a camp out where attendees commune with the “wisdom” of the movie, “The Big Lebowski.” I find attending is one of the very few times I allow myself the freedom and the escapism to play and let go of all the confinements and limitations that managing a chronic disease entails. There was meditation to whale songs under the stars. True story. There was aerial zip-line painting. There was the tossing of the ringer, a retro suitcase filled with underthings. There was a well-articulated eulogy for Donny and the scattering of the “cremains,” (ashes taken from the previous nights’ bonfire!).

“But…..why?”

Because, I can. More importantly, because I make the CHOICE to “Do.” no matter the limitations or boundaries imposed by a disease I have no control over. Choice? I absolutely have control over my ability to choose.

You can find check out the inaugural year of LebowskiCampFest HERE as articled in The Dudespaper.

Do you have a fandom that you chose to regularly participate in? More than one? Eleventy-billion of them? Let me know your geeky preference in the comments! And keep on abiding, Dude. \m/

Comm014 – Post 7 – Personal Reflection

Storytelling – The Secret to Creating Effective Online Communication

As we all know, a story is a description of an event or series of events either fictitious or real and most often includes individuals whether human or otherwise. There are many famous examples of stories such as Aesop Fables, the parables in the Bible, much of literature, operas and movies, and even items on the nightly news are often formatted as stories.

A story is a good way to communicate because it talks about specific people in specific situations and brings to life the situations being experienced. As a Communications Specialist, I know that storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to convey ideas in today’s world.

Storytelling starts with knowing your audience in order to create compelling and tailor-made content that stroke interest. Relevant and meaningful content matters no matter the means, and storytelling creates a welcoming environment for audience engagement. I use storytelling techniques when developing videos, Power Point presentations, blogs, speeches, reports, to name a few. Stories that focus on emotive content appeal to readers and help connect people.

How will your content be guided by story?

When preparing a speech or Power Point Presentation for one of my bosses, I invariably recall him asking me what story he was telling and what messages would his audience take away. He would never entertain more than three main messages, no matter what! So stories need to be focused and ideas conveyed in a clear and concise manner, starting with the most important first. Normally one starts a story by introducing some of the key characters, followed by their situation in place or time. The “plot” and “ending” follow.

What kind of stories do you want to tell?

I want to tell stories about real people dealing with real situations and I try as much as possible to let their soul or mine shine through.