You have a story to tell. We all do. When you meet someone new, you tell them a story - a story about how you got into business, a story about your life, a story about your family. It's how we communicate. And yet, when it comes to telling our company stories, they usually suck.
I've been reading a lot lately about story telling in business. It's quickly becoming a new buzzword and trend. But I think it's a warranted topic worth talking about.
I always talk about the need to be authentic online. Whether social media or your blog, I always advise you to share your personality, your opinions, and essentially, your story.
So, it only makes sense to apply that to your overall business. Your story should take place on your website, in your pamphlets and flyers, on your social media pages, and live in person. It's who you are!
How can we make sure your company's story is good enough?
First of all, it needs to be a story!
How many times do you read someone's website or social media profile and you have no real idea who they are, what they represent, and barely understand what they do?
Their "About" sections are marketing fluff with things like "best in the business" or "world class service" or "outstanding customer service".
They have no information about the history of the company, or if they do, it's chronological data of business milestones.
There's no personality. There's no story!
Tell your dang story!
Remember, a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But you aren't at the end - you're somewhere between the beginning and the middle. Share this journey as a part of your story: how did you get started, how did you get to where you are now, and where do you plan to go in the future? Your story should evolve as your business evolves. The challenges you face, the successes you achieve, the lessons you learn, the people you meet - these are all a part of your story.
Show some personality!
Put some humor in there if that's your style. Put some inspiration in there if that's what you do. Share your challenges and successes. Share the emotions you felt at significant points.
Do you love craft beer? Are you big animal lovers? Are you often found spending your spare time at the beach? Are you obsessed with the color green?
These are all parts of your personality. And, especially if they carry over into your business, they should be a part of your story.
People want to connect with people, not corporate speak. Including personality in your story ensures that people get to know the people behind your company.
Make it easy to read!
Again, stop the corporate speak! Which would you rather read?
"Our company was founded on ritualistic principles of admirable and extensive customer service practices. Our goal is to exceed your expectations at every opportunity while ensuring our obligatory contributions to the global environment in which we live."
"We built our company with the idea of having real conversations with people like you! We want to help you grow but we also want to make sure that our kids have a safe world to grow up in."
I know, the second one isn't grammatically correct. And I know it doesn't tell you what they do - I just made this up, people! But you get my point - people want to relate to you. Corporate speak and complex language discourage people from really connecting with you.
It still needs to be relevant to your business!
Just because you're telling a story doesn't mean you can go down some spiraling rabbit hole. Your story should still be as concise as possible and needs to be relevant to your business.
I'm not saying my About page is perfect, in fact, I update it every 6 months or so. But you'll notice I share the story about Jenn being spelled with two "n's". It gives a little insight into me and my personality, but it's relevant to my business since everything is spelled with my name - with two n's. Not only am I connecting people with my story, but I'm giving them a way to remember how to correctly spell my website link, or social media page names.
It needs to be a story!
Oh, did I already say that? That's cuz it's important!
Yes, the trend these days is to tell a story. But think of the brands you most closely associate with. Think of the companies you talk about to your friends and family. Chances are, most of these companies are ones that have shared a story with you.
It might have been a charity cause they hosted. It might have been how they got the company started. It might have been because of the way they treat their employees. It might have been because of someone you know telling you a story about the company.
The companies you talk about have stories attached to them - for better or worse. Yes, stories can be negative too!
So make sure that you're dictating your own story in the way you want it to be perceived.
Tell your story!