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story

Does your business understand the power of a story?

story

It’s a Sunday afternoon and rain is lashing against your window. Inside your warm, cosy home, you’re curled up on the sofa. You’re lost in a story, a book that you simply cannot put down.

Or, you may be watching an amazing film which is so gripping that you just can’t pause it and put the kettle on.

Yesterday, a Danny Boyle film about a singer/songwriter who becomes one of a handful of people in the world who can remember the Beatles, connects with us because we understand his story of struggle and persistence, we all have the shared experience of knowing and loving the Beatles songs in the film, and we share a gasp-out-loud moment with the main character. (No spoilers here for those who haven’t seen it!)

Many of us went to the cinema and felt the hour and 57 minutes it took to screen it flew by.

We were totally engaged with the film.

You’re experiencing a story as if you’re inside it.

The best stories are those which resonate with our experience.

We identify with characters who persevere against the odds, with situations we’ve experienced ourselves, and with the hopes and dreams we share with those characters.

We react with empathy and look for connections.

The Harry Potter books and films have created generations of fans because of that emotional connection they feel to the main characters such as Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, and Hagrid.

They feel righteous anger when Hermione is tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange, fear for their heroes when they enter the Ministry of Magic in disguise, and they root for Harry in his battle with Voldemort.

We become lost in a magical world.

Have you ever listened to someone’s story intently and been captivated by it?

As you stand there in front of the storyteller, your brains are synching.

Neuroscientists have researched this phenomenon. They carried out MRIs on listener and storyteller and found their brains lit up in the same way.

Your brain is reacting as if you are experiencing that story yourself and you feel connected.

Think how often the best stand-up comedians such as Sarah Millican, Stewart Lee, Dave Allen, and Joan Rivers have used stories as the basis for their comedy.

Stories have power.

The empathy stories create helps businesses reach potential clients or customers.

It also helps clients along their decision-making process.

Most people don’t just buy using logic and data. They use emotions to make that purchasing decision, so it’s important to create an emotional connection.

How can I use stories to connect with my customers?

  1. Use your website’s About Us page – Telling your story as a business helps clients connect with your purpose. People often need to know why you do what you do before they will commit to spending money. Tell them about your story, your values, and your goals. Replicate it for print products such as brochures or flyers.
  2. Share case studies – How did you help a customer through a difficult situation? How did you ensure a successful outcome? What challenges did you face?
  3. Share reviews or testimonials – These can often act as mini-stories to show how you solved a client’s problem. They are most powerful when the people leaving reviews are willing to be identified and when reviews are left on independent sites.
  4. Your networking pitch – Use stories to connect with potential clients or collaborators in your networking pitches, from the usual 60-second pitch to the longer five or ten-minute presentation.
  5. Your business book – If you tell your story in your business book, your readers will connect with your insights.
  6. Get your employees on board – Make them the purveyors of your story, the best advocates and story-tellers you could have. Listen to Anita Roddick, the late, great founder of The Body Shop: “The lesson of preindustrial societies is storytelling. All our employees should be storytellers.”

Do you need help telling your story? Contact us for advice and support.

website

What to write on the About Us page of a website

About Us page

Your website ‘About Us’ page is the one place which can be all about you…can’t it?

Wrong! It’s still all about your potential clients.

You may be telling your story, but you need to tell it in a way which will forge strong relationships with your website visitors.

You need to make an emotional connection and show them you understand what they need.

Here are a few simple ways to do that…

Be authentic…

Take a look at the story of Gladstone Motorcycles. It’s a cracking tale told in the words and style of the company’s CEO Henry Cole, a descendant of the former Prime Minister William Gladstone and the presenter of TV shows including The Motorbike Show and Find It, Fix It, Flog It.

It’s clear about the type of client it wants to attract. In fact, it calls them “discerning hooligans”, something the business knows will make its ideal client base smile.

This story’s tone is completely authentic to this business.

How can you tell your story in an authentic fashion? What will help people see the core of your business purpose?

Be succinct…

Design studio Eight Hour Day has a mission to simplify the creative process. Its About Us page is simple, straightforward, and just a few lines long. It says this: It’s all about collaboration and passion, and we can’t wait to work with you.

Be jargon free…

No one likes industry jargon. Ditch it and keep it simple. That will keep your website visitors reading, and that’s the pint, isn’t it? Check out this jargon-free page from Apptopia.

Be specific…

Know your audience. Understand who you’re speaking to and what sort of tone and content will connect with them. Do your client personas/avatars before you write your content to ensure it cuts through the noise online. A great example is the Nike About Us page.

Its audience is those who work hard to achieve physical success, not celebrities or those who buy its products for the brand value. It shows that with the strapline “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”

Nike is a brand which understands its roots. It also understands the need to say: “We’re still just like you”.

Be funny…

In many sectors, you can use humour to forge that connection with your potential clients.

However, never ‘punch down’. Always make fun of yourselves, rather than your clients!

The illustrator Blaze Suarez is very funny (anyone who loves The Jerk by Steve Martin will appreciate his bio). He’s also combined his About Us and Contact page – a handy tip!

Be clear…

…About what you want your potential clients to do next.

Write a strong call to action. Whether you want them to browse your shop, call your office, or send you a contact form to make an appointment, tell them.

What can you include on an About Us page alongside your story?

  • Your mission and vision
  • Team biographies
  • A pledge to clients
  • What makes you tick
  • What clients say about you

Need some help with your About Us page? Get in touch! We love telling a good tale…

 

 

outsource your blog

Looking to outsource your blog? Here are 5 effective tips

When you decide to outsource your blog, you do it for very good reasons.

outsource your blog

Tips to help you outsource your blog…

You outsource your blog and bring in an expert writer who can craft your posts because they have both the time and experience to do so. That frees up your time to work on other areas of the business.

Finding a great professional blogger is a major boost for your marketing campaign. A good blogger will be able to understand your company, know the style in which you’d like them to write, and do their research about your ideal customers.

They can write you social media headlines to maximise your SEO when sharing your posts, and emails to help you share your new post with your database.

If you’ve never used a professional blogger before, here are some tips to get the most from that relationship:

Be specific.

If you want something done a certain way, be as specific as possible with your blogger. They want to give you content you’ll love, and which gives you a great return on investment. The more detail you give them the better.

Embrace their creativity.

If you’re not sure what to do with a post, ask your blogger as they may have tried and tested ways of delivering something great which you hadn’t thought about. A good blogger will be able to come to you with ideas, and you can agree with them what you’d like them to work on.

Copy them in on your calendar.

That helps them spark off ideas for new posts around events you’re attending, sales, product launches, or new directions you’re taking in the business. Blogging calendars will also contain major events like film launches and holidays such as Easter and Christmas, but the more relevant the blogger can make it to your individual business, the better.

Let them mix it up when it comes to length.

Statistically, posts which are between 1,200 and 1,700 words get the best engagement but shorter posts are also excellent ways of getting information across quickly. The best way forward when you outsource your blog could be having a longer read every month or two.

Images are important.

Most bloggers have good sources of stock images and the best ones have good contacts with freelance photographers. Most social media platforms have far better engagement when pictures or video is used, so take any opportunity you can to embed them into your blog.

Here’s to a fruitful relationship between you and your pro blogger!