It’s always been a strong belief of mine that if something comes to you repeatedly from different sources, then it’s something that you need to listen to. As it’s likely your next opportunity for growth. For me, this year, one of these repeated themes has centered on storytelling.
Utilizing storytelling has come to me from a variety of distinct sources. I’ve spent time exploring developing my own story with help from Whitney Johnson’s book and online circle for Dare, Dream, Do. Whitney also uses stories throughout her book to demonstrate her ideas. I’ve recently networked with a brand communication specialist, Alina Kelly, who provided guidance that my personal branding will resonate best if it is telling my story. And to top it off, the guest speaker at last night’s TPMA monthly meeting was Dan Yashinsky is a well-known Canadian storyteller, and the topic Storytelling and Your Product.
So what have been some of the AHA moments for me concerning this exploration of storytelling in my work?
Make your customer the hero of your story. This was something raised in the TPMA meeting last night, and for me it a new way of phrasing the concept that our product descriptions and content marketing should focus on our customer’s concerns and not ours. The AHA for me is that I connected this to what I know about literature, and that having universal themes is one of the things that makes a story a classic. Our challenge as creators of technology is to find the universal themes that resonate with our customers and then tell them with the customer being at the core of the story.
Use stories to be remembered. Most people remember things if there is a story around it. Another reason to use stories is to have an impact on our customers. Stories can be used in our case studies, our demonstrations and training, and all our online collateral. Humans have used stories throughout history to build a history, culture, to instruct and to persuade. Use stories to make your product or service memorable
Use stories to build community. It’s been my experience that when your customers are not necessarily competitors – maybe they deliver a service to different markets – they actually appreciate having forums where they can share their experiences. Even when they are competitors they still like to talk about you, even when they are guarded about themselves! Having user groups and user conferences has been used for years. We can expand on this in our social media campaigns. Ask your customers to share their stories in your forums. Join forums where your customers already meet.
The hilarious thing for me in this being an AHA them, is that storytelling is one of my innate abilities. As a youth my family nicknamed me “long story Lori”, because I always made a story out of everything. Hopefully, I’ve become more concise in old age. Maybe this resonating theme is to nudge me about one my strengths and remind me to use it.