Once upon a time, story was banished from business.
Then one day, a lone voice in the darkness – by this time now void of story and full of pitches instead – cried out “But people believe stories, not facts.” With this, a brilliant flash of light burst from the horizon, and a new age was born.…Or rather reborn.
Today is the age of the story.
From elevator pitches to personal branding, with About pages, digital storytelling, storyboarding, online diaries, customer journeys, photo albums and experiential travel logs , the web — and its sub-creations — are now teaming with stories.
The web has formed a potent breeding ground for the seeds of free publishing to take root and grow into a lively, every changing garden of businesses and people, each with their own story.
And for those of us who work on the web, or use it as a tool within their toolbox of marketing activities, we need one too.
Forget that passé old resume: you need a story.
So from today, become a star in your own story.
Forget the embarrassment; storytelling is the language of now.
Personal branding and your story
In the past few years the concept of personal branding has evolved into a sub-industry in its own right, all thanks to Web 2.0 strategies and in particular, social media. This one medium (made of many vehicles) has forever changed the methodology behind branding.
And an important aspect of personal branding is the personal story.
People these days want to know who is behind things. They want to know you. Only through knowing you can they have a conversation, form a relationship and build trust in what you say and offer, in this virtual online world.
So, if you are serious about building brand equity – be it personal or otherwise – you need a story.
The About page story
Did you know a blog’s About page is the second or third most-viewed page?
That’s because once someone has read a post – having taken in the way it’s written, the emotion conveyed and the journey it’s taken them on – they often click straight on the About tab of the menu to find out who captivated their attention from start to end.
Tell them your story, and if you’re good at it they’ll come back for more. They’ll subscribe.
And then they’ll tell their friends, and they’ll come, and where their friends and they go, the dollars or credibility and influence, will follow. Communicate your story to them – and make sure you do it well – because today the best communicator will win.
Why story and not facts
Stories are a complex, multilevel form of metaphor and because of that they engage and hold a listener’s attention better than a string of disconnected facts.
Stories are more easily remembered than facts.
An important part of the power of story is that it’s empowering for a listener to make a creative leap and connect the story-metaphor to the story of his or her own life. Recognising and creatively grasping an analogy is a way of personally taking on or embodying information – as experience.
So the story becomes almost real-life. And the person telling it becomes known to them, almost a friend.
And we remember a good story long after the telling is over.
Nothing else draws a reader like an engaging story. Stories are just a part of us.
They help us understand a personal journey – so if that’s important to who you are and to the credibility of how you (or your product) are uniquely qualified to help them – then you need a story.
A short word of caution though. Make sure you’re authentic. (You know that word had to appear somewhere in the post). Don’t try to create a way to explain things, the stories you choose to relate, and the ways and times you choose to communicate.
Everything you write should be YOU. Only then will it inherently, naturally, and unerringly portray your personal brand.
Now the exact ratio of business and personal in your story is determined by the kind of business you are in, who your customers are and how you have built your brand.
But, forget about trying to consciously improve your personal brand.
Don’t change a thing, or be anything you’re not right now. Developing existing relationships and expanding on your current successes, is the best approach to building a business — and your story.
So…what is your story?
Photo via stock.xchng user millbrookm