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Five Steps to Telling Your Most Engaging Stories
 

Five Steps to Telling Your Most Engaging Stories

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In Five Steps to Telling Your Most Engaging Stories we break down detailed steps to figuring out how to find and tell your company’s story.

In Five Steps to Telling Your Most Engaging Stories we break down detailed steps to figuring out how to find and tell your company’s story.

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    Five Steps to Telling Your Most Engaging Stories Five Steps to Telling Your Most Engaging Stories Presentation Transcript

    • Inspire Your Storytelling in 5Practical StepsYour story is unlike anyone or anything else’s. In this ebook, I willtake you through five steps to help you uncover and share yourauthentic story — the one that will engage your audience andsupport a desired outcome.From a practical perspective, I outline simple steps to gather your real story, whether it’sthe story of a person, business, service or product. I designed this ebook to help yououtline your story — or stories — and solve the problem of getting to your real story.The five steps give you the information you need to create an engaging narrative. It’sup to you to put your heart and head into the steps, letting your answers and thoughtsbuild as the process progresses and you begin to spin your tale.If you already know your story but aren’t telling it, I challenge you to ask yourself why.This ebook will be especially powerful for you. I have a hunch you’ll arrive at a strongerstory than you started — something you’ll be proud to tell. Throughout the process,stay accountable to these steps, your genuine brand, the good and bad of how youarrived to your story, and creating something that your audience will love to learnabout.From an inspiring perspective, I believe we all have something to say, a message todeliver, a package to sell. Your story will find its way into the right hands. Don’t worryabout anyone else but your top audience because you cannot be everything to allpeople, and probably don’t want to be. There are individuals out there you’re meant tohelp, somehow, and they’ll find you through your story. 1
    • Each step in this process builds on the previous step, so no skipping! If you’re seriousabout this storytelling business, you’ll honor the process. In each step you’ll see theTake Action Today work; this is where you build your magic. If you find the processoverwhelming in terms of time and commitment, carve out as much time as you caneach day, whether that’s 30 minutes or two hours, and work the process with the timeyou have. Another baby step to get you warmed up to the steps is to tell a simple storyfirst. In the first step, choose a “love” that is easy for you to embrace and expound upon.You’ll still unfold your story. After you do this the first time, working the process will geteasier and you’ll quickly and accurately hone in on your best stuff. I’m excited to helpyou get there.At any time, for any reason, feel free to drop me a note with questions or concerns,or — even better — a tip for how you have found to improve or work inside thisprocess. I want to help you, and you can help our community, by sharing what youlearn and know about the craft of storytelling. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter@SilverSquare, on Facebook or email me directly (raquel@silversquareinc.com). Don’ttry to connect with me on LinkedIn if I don’t actually know you — I won’t connect. It’sjust one of my rules.Once your story is complete, send it to me. I’ll share it on our social networks and buildan ebook of all of your stories. So let’s go!Happy storytelling,Raquel 2
    • But First, a Few Words onContent MarketingAt Silver Square and in the greater progressive marketingcommunity, content marketing is becoming well known. This isgood! And bad.Content marketing is storytelling in its simplest form. Taking your story and turning itinto content through blogging, presentations, video, guides, white papers and moreis how you tactically carry out content marketing. The trick here is that your contentneeds to be valuable. It needs to be engaging. It needs to be something you enjoycreating and others take joy in consuming. Simply producing a video or writing a blogpost isn’t the best way to perform content marketing. This route reminds me of a trenda few years ago when marketers — some even “experts”— kept saying “content isking.” Content alone isn’t king. You must pay attention to the type of content you’reproducing, the audience you’re serving, and the story you’re tying in to deliver contentthat’s meaningful and engaging.REMEMBER: Actual people will read your guide. Actual people will watch yourpresentation. Actual people will view your video.Content marketing is an approach to marketing that works. It works because creatingcontent that is valuable to your business. This tactic helps the right people find you andengage with you. Creating the right content for your marketing is what we’re here todo. Okay, now you’re ready to get started. 3
    • 1 FIND YOUR LOVE It sounds like a cliché, but love is the foundation of your story. Stay with me! An engaging story taps into emotion, and those emotions spring from love. Love moves people. You can harness that energy in your storytelling. Love gets a bad rap. It isn’t typically a business term, but we’re going with it here. I like the word love because it’s not common in our corporate language, but everyone knows what it means. Love is something found deep down that makes you say, do and feel things. Love evokes emotion, from the fear of losing something you love or the desire to have something you love to empathy for someone you love. It’s likely that if you love what you’re creating, talking about or writing, these strong feelings will show through in your work. Through your story, the person you want to reach with your content will enjoy it more… maybe even love it.; NOTE: In this step in the process, where you’re digging into all this love, you’ll likely identify things you don’t love. It’s noteworthy to keep a side list of these things and figure out what you want to do about your new findings at another time. Maybe you’ll change how you do business, weed out those less-than-ideal clients or perform a pivot in your business that falls exactly in line with your love. Whatever you do, don’t try to tackle that scope with this process. The two don’t blend well together. Stay focused on your storytelling and set an appointment with yourself or your team to come back to that list. Don’t fall victim to taking on too much at once — trust me, I’ve been there. It will all work out in time. Remember that what you’re building right now will find more of the work and clients you love, and this is a good thing. 4
    • TAKE ACTION TODAY:Make a love list. Over the next week (or set a timeframe that works for you) get yourmindset focused on finding the love to build your foundation. Build your Love List likethis: LOVE LIST 1. Make a short list of your ideal clients who love what you do. Write down why they love you. 2. Think about key, passionate employees and learn from where their passion stems. Write down those passion triggers. 3. Know what your audience is actually buying. Write down why they love what they’re buying. 4. Think and talk about what you personally do and love. Write those things down.To help you build your list, develop some simple habits. Each time you come in contactwith someone you work with — a client, a vendor, anyone who comes inside yourbusiness realm — listen for cues that indicate what they love. Be even more aggressiveand work it into conversations. Ask an ideal client or employee, “What do you loveabout our business?” or “What do you love about working with us?” and sit tight towait for answers. Do not prompt them for any reason. Take note of how they react andwrite down those unspoken innuendoes as well. Before you know it, you’ll have a wholecollection of love stories you’ll be able to craft into your story. 5
    • ; NOTE: If you’re willing and able, one way to immediately share some good with this Love List is to create an internal communication — through an article in the company newsletter, blog post, poster of all the best sayings, internal memo — sharing what’s good about your company. It’s almost always certain that not everyone in the company knows what’s going on and what clients think. Not everyone has a finger on the pulse of your business marketing like you. Sharing some or all of these initial sparks of a story will help you build your internal communications process and help the whole company feel invigorated and inspired by all the good vibes. Remember how I said there is some inspiration in this process? This is one of the places inspiration lives. You never know how sharing one person’s love can change another someone’s perspective or help someone feel confident and successful. Most of all, it supports the feeling — and fact —that they are contributing to a larger, inspiring product in the form of your company. 6
    • 2 GIVE AWAY YOUR SECRETS This is where we really ruffle some feathers. There are two camps at this point in the process of creating engaging stories: people who understand you need to give away your “secret sauce” for free, and those who think that’s the worst idea ever. I believe you can give your secrets away in a meaningful way. Giving away your best stuff is what helps others find you credible, attractive, valuable and engaging. This is what people want! To get to engaging content, you’re going to need to give a little away. I’ll let you determine just how much, but if we ever talk about content marketing and you tell me it didn’t work, one of my first questions to you will be, “To what degree did you share your secrets?” When you share how you do your best work, you’re inspiring others to do their best work. More often than not, once they try to emulate your method, it becomes apparent that it’s tougher than it seems. (You don’t see many chefs shying away from writing cookbooks filled with their best recipes, do you?) They’ll realize you really do offer the best method and that they should engage with you if they want to be their best too.; NOTE: Giving away your knowledge does not mean giving away your time. Don’t confuse the two. You can share what you know through your blog, ebooks like this, case studies or white papers or video. Setting appointments and giving away free consulting is not what I’m talking about here — don’t do that! When someone asks for your time, that’s a perfect opportunity to sell yourself or your company’s time or product to help them get where they want to be. 7
    • TAKE ACTION TODAY:Attach secrets to your Love List. Organize your loosely written Love List into some sortof organized matrix. Simple tables work for me. It’s useful to separate the item from thereason your audience loves the item. Now for the secret-sharing part. Think about howyou are able to deliver that Love List item to your audience. What is it that you do thatis your secret to getting to the love? That’s your secret sauce.What I mean here is this: At Silver Square, we love telling organic, nonscripted storieson video. Luckily, this is one of the things people love about us. Our secret to producingthose types of videos is exactly what you’re reading in this ebook. We use a similarprocess (and extremely talented people!) to find and tell that story, so what you’rereading is our secret. I’m giving it to you right here.To help you build your matrix, think of these questions: • How did I help them? • What did my business do for them? • How many details do I need to gather to really get to the root of the story? • Do I need to interview others internally to learn how they did that job or created that product? • How much detail do I need to provide to communicate my secret? 8
    • A matrix for a hypothetical financial planning and investing company might looksomething like this:LOVE LIST ITEM WHY SECRET TO MAKING THE LOVEClients love that I because I help them I have a mean stock-make them money live the life they want. picking strategy.Clients love that they because it gives them We make clientcan trust us to know peace of mind. relationships and trustwhere their money top priorities.should be investedOur employees love because it lets us tap We have a culture thatthat we go to the art into our creative sides values individualitymuseum once a year in a business where and creativity. numbers often rule. 9
    • 3 SKIP THE SCRIPT Too many of us are uncomfortable talking about what we do, how we do it and why we love our work. However, just talking about these things is most often a much better route to a compelling story than carefully crafting one and turning into a robot on film or paper. I’m not saying that you should wing it. If you’ve built your case in the earlier steps, you’ll create engaging content automatically. This makes a lot of sense if you’re planning to use video as a means to tell your story. While this sort of journalistic style involving informal interviews and more people will take more time and effort, it’s the best route to making your story really great and engaging. Giving one marketer or corporate communicator the task of storytelling without others’ input will not result in your most engaging story. When you’re putting together content to tell your story that’s not video, this advice seems a little out of place, but it’s not. You still want to allow your authentic story to come through. Transparency is your friend! You’ll still go about gathering your story from everyone and placing their parts into your story exactly how they shared it. Don’t rearrange, don’t change their language, don’t make it more “professional” — just deliver it as straight up as it is given. TAKE ACTION TODAY: Gather stories that illustrate your story. You now know what your secret is and that it leads to why your audience loves you or your business. This information serves as the abstract of your story. The best stories are told through anecdotes, so in this step you are gathering those anecdotes. Talk to clients, employees, yourself — essentially anyone your business deals with who has a love story to share. Let your audience talk, show you around and be themselves. When you are asking yourself the tough questions, dig a little deeper into your secret and give away some details. 10
    • Ask questions like this: • Generic Business o Ask Your Audience: Why/How do you feel love toward me or my business? Can you give me an example? o Ask Yourself: How is my secret incremental to making the love? Can you give me an example?And here are some examples featuring the business in our matrix in Step 2: • Financial Planner o Ask Your Client: How do I help you live the life you want? Can you give me an example? o Ask Yourself: What is the key to my mean stock-picking strategy? Can you give me an example of who that works? • Attorney (Litigation) o Ask Your Client: How does my work for you support your business goals? Can you give me an example? o Ask Yourself: How did I develop my process for planning strategy? Can you give me an example of it in action? • Marketing Firm o Ask Your Employees: How does spending time marketing our own firm make you sharper? Can you give me an example? o Ask Yourself: How do you carry out that culture of freedom to learn and do? Can you give me an example? 11
    • • Manufacturer o Ask Your Customers: What’s so great about our hand-twisted pretzels? Can you give me an example of a time you introduced them to someone else? o Ask Yourself: How does our community play a role in the success of the company? Can you give me an example?In this step, you’ll gather a lot of extra content and footage, which allows you to piecetogether your final product with the best possible angles you can get. View these piecesas a puzzle and start putting the pieces together. Look at all of your footage, love notesand anecdotes. The essential parts of your story are right in front of you. 12
    • 4 GETTING YOUR STORY TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE This is about telling your engaging story, but don’t forget who you’re setting out to engage — your key audience. One of our favorite ways to get inside the minds of our and our clients’ key audiences is by creating personas. Personas are detailed descriptions of the people who make up your key audience. You will typically have at least three personas in each key audience. The process of exploring and pinpointing what a particular person feels, thinks, wears and does help you get inside their heads. We often give our personas names, full personalities and hobbies. We consider what other brands, products and services they love. Get the picture? TAKE ACTION TODAY: Develop personas and calls to action. Follow the steps below to work through the process using your own organization style. Think about your best client, the person that shared the most passionate or compelling love story. Write down all you know about this person. Things to think about: • What is this person like? • Are they easy to work with? • Why do they love you? • Are they younger, older? • Where are they spending their free time outside of the office? 13
    • • What media do they consume? Favorite publications? Social places they hang out? • What tone works best with communicating to them? • What problem did your service or product solve? • Why did they buy from you?These types of questions really help you get to know your best client. Think of morethan these questions and really build an awesome persona.Now you’re ready to think about what you want this person to do. This is your call toaction. In your story, you have produced some level of emotion that will make them dosomething. Is it to buy, sign up for something, do something? What is your goal? Youhave to think about the end in order to have a successful project, so think through whatyou want this particular key audience to do and write it down.Thinking about how this person spends time — e.g. watching videos vs. reading blogs— and which love story best fits why the person bought from you in the first place ishow you pull this all together. You’re using this same story, but you’ll need to potentiallytweak it based on the channel through which you wish to push your story. Below are 19popular forms of content distribution channels or types of media: 1. articles 11. print magazines 2. social media updates 12. traditional media 3. blog posts 13. research reports (white papers) 4. enewsletters 14. branded content tools 5. case studies 15. ebooks 6. in-person events 16. tweets 7. videos 17. Pinterest updates 8. white papers 18. podcasts 9. webinars 19. mobile-specific content 10. microsites 14
    • Carrying out Step 4 works well in another matrix (who knew you would pull out Excel somuch?). That financial planning and investing business might have a matrix that lookssomething like this:LOVE STORY CHANNEL #1 CHANNEL #2 CHANNEL #3 CHANNEL #4 (BLOG) (YOUTUBE) (SLIDESHARE) (LINKEDIN)My stock-picking article on how quick video in a series share a whitestrategy helps we research which financial of slides paper on figuringmy clients make stocks and stay advisor gives 5 tips complementing out what you wantmoney and live on top of trends for smart investing the 5 tips out of life and howthe life they want. for our clients’ to live the life you for smart much it will take benefit want investing video to get you thereOur clients trust article on why video case study a series of ask the client (whous to make smart trust must be showing client and slides showing is on LinkedIn) fordecisions with earned, not financial advisor the 8 things a recommendationtheir money. simply given, to and how they work you shouldWe do it, and your financial together expect out ofthat’s why we advisor your financialhave such strong advisor besidesrelationships with sound financialthem. counselBecause we series of blog video featuring a series share SlideSharehave a culture posts from each employee’s of slides presentation withthat values different favorite piece of addressing the audienceindividuality and company art and a brief value of art,fun, we do things contributors: description of their from a financialto tap into our what I enjoyed day standpoint to acreative sides during this year’s cultural onelike an annual art excursionart museumexcursion. 15
    • 5 TELL YOUR REAL STORY Unless you’re working on your master’s of fine arts degree in creative writing, make sure what you’re producing is the real story. If you’ve been authentic in what you and your audiences love about your work, you’re on the right track. Lots of people tell me that their story isn’t interesting or compelling, and I always disagree. If you’re following these steps, you’ve already gathered love stories that some audience will be interested in hearing. There’s a gem or two in that bundle of love that is interesting, compelling and real. Real stories are what we can relate to and feel good about. As our collective emotional intelligence mounts higher and higher as a society, we can swiftly spot individuals who aren’t genuine, stories that aren’t authentic, and companies that are trying to sell. Keeping things real is how we honor our history, credit our employees, admire our clients and earn the privilege of growth. Real stories aren’t comparisons. Keep the focus on you, not your competition and how they are telling their stories. So many brands are forgettable because they sound and look like every other brand — even ones not in the same industry. How many businesses do you know that are “professional,” “competitive” and “high quality”? Your real story is not a collection of adjectives. 16
    • TAKE ACTION TODAY:Put it all together. In Step 4, you identified what the content distribution channels ortypes of media you will use to reach your personas (key audience). Develop a timelinefor producing that content and work Steps 1-4 to keep telling your story. You shouldbe feeling a mix of anxiety and inspiration here in that you now know exactly what youneed to do but there’s a lot to do! Just chunk it down and take it step by step.Thank you for following us on our process to telling an engaging story. Rememberyou can connect with me on Twitter @SilverSquare or Facebook, or email me directly(raquel@silversquareinc.com). To keep up on more content marketing gems, subscribeto our Marketing Brainpower podcast on iTunes. Please send me your stories! I want toread them, watch them and share them among our tribe of storytellers. 17