Blah blah ‘business storytelling’… “how can it help me?”

12th December

When it comes to blogging – most of you panic about the writing part! And I totally get that. Today I have some tips that will help you to write (and think about writing!) in a conversational way. That’s what storytelling is about.

Here’s something that struck me recently – no-one has taught us how to write like we speak. In school or college, we learned how to write in a formal way. Now we need to LEARN how to write conversationally. Here’s why – people make decisions about your business online before they get to meet you in person, So, chatting like a human makes good business sense! It’s how you act in person….so why should you be different on the web? The most natural way to do this is through sharing real stories. Let’s look at the difference between a story and a narrative first…

Business storytelling versus narrative

Story-telling has become a hot trend and you may be sick of hearing about it! But why is this idea so relevant now? I believe it’s because our super-connected web world leaves us cold at times. We’re fed up with businesses who talk ‘at’ us, rather than ‘to’ us. We’ve always told each other stories – it’s how we make sense of the world but many businesses continue to use old marketing techniques to shout at their customers.
Does this drive you crazy too?

Good stories make us feel something – it’s a simple as that!

  • They are selective – the teller knows what is important to their audience.
  • They have some embellishment – a good story is memorable.
  • And they leave room for the imagination – they don’t tell us everything.

Here’s my favourite part – The teller of the story gets to tailor the story to suit the audience.
…..when I first heard this idea, it made me feel like a fake marketer. That’s until I got this part; there is a big difference here between tailoring and making things up! If you know exactly who you are telling the story to, you can edit it so it speaks to them. In contrast, a narrative is just a boring string of events or things told in a particular order. A narrative is devoid of emotion. That’s why it’s easy to ignore. Many businesses use narrative to describe what they do and why they are great. We are all consuming content online and we’re fed up with this style of writing. It’s time to write like we speak.

Watch this short talk by Brian Reed – he’s a producer at This American Life. He’ll get you excited (+ make you laugh) about the important elements we need to be able to craft a good story.

In This American Life, he and his colleagues focus on three things: action, reflection and stakes. Put together, these become really powerful. Brian tells us how we also need to think about motion when telling a story, as this will pull people forward and make them actually listen.

I’m a huge fan of audio content at the moment – we literally hear the information in different ways when we use our eyes!
And it gives our eyes a break from reading too. I hope you enjoy watching and listening to Brian!

So my advice for you is really simple – get over your fear of writing by simply starting. Practice writing your ideas in a conversational style as if you were speaking to a good friend. Experiment with a dictaphone app on your phone and record yourself talking. And tailor your story so that it speaks to the people who are reading it.

Would you like help and support while you learn to blog for your business? I’m now accepting clients for 2015 – let’s talk and see what you need help with most. You can do this – I’ll show you how!

One Response

  1. Oh I love the tip of dictating and playing it back!

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