What? You Don’t Use WordPress to Tell Stories? You Lose.
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What? You Don’t Use WordPress to Tell Stories? You Lose.

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WordPress is just for blogging. Right? Wrong. In business, facts – not stories – sell your product, service, or point-of-view. Right? Double-wrong. Our minds are wired to process stories, not ...

WordPress is just for blogging. Right? Wrong. In business, facts – not stories – sell your product, service, or point-of-view. Right? Double-wrong. Our minds are wired to process stories, not facts. WordPress is a POWERHOUSE storytelling engine. Don’t use it? You lose – customers and business. First, we’ll explore why short stories – not “death-by- Powerpoint” bullets – engage your buyer, capture their attention, and convince them to buy your product, service, or point-of-view. Second, we’ll drill into how I used WordPress to build a storytelling engine – and you can too. Want more sales? Forget the website, build a storySite™.

For audio and slides, go to http://theideamechanic.com/stories-and-wordpress-indieconf-2011-soundslides

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  • What? You don’t use Wordpress to tell stories? You lose.\n
  • WordPress is just for blogging. Right? Wrong. In business, facts – not stories – sell your product, service, or point-of-view. Right? Double-wrong. Our minds are wired to process stories, not facts. WordPress is a POWERHOUSE storytelling engine. Don’t use it? You lose – customers and business. First, we’ll explore why short stories – not “death-by-Powerpoint” bullets – engage your buyer, capture their attention, and convince them to buy your product, service, or point-of-view. Second, we’ll drill into how I used WordPress to build a storytelling engine – and you can too. Want more sales? Forget the website, build a storySite™.\n
  • My name is Doug Foster, my business is the Idea Mechanics. We help people sell. Think of the words Tell, Show, Try. We help people ... TELL their story, SHOW proof – e.g. prove what they said is true (like a demonstration), and create “TRY-before-you-buy” experiences. That’s our core approach to selling: Tell, Show, Try. \n
  • But today we’re going to talk about 2 things. First we’ll talk about stories. Our talk about stories is not technical, it’s kinda “right-brain.”\n
  • Second, we’ll talk about WordPress. It’ll be more technical, but not deep. Kinda “left-brain.” During Q&A or after the session we can drill down if you want, but I’d like to keep it high-level during the talk. If you take away ONE thought ... I want to convince you that ... WordPress is a storytelling engine!\n
  • This is Lilly. Lilly is a junior at Athens high school in Raleigh. My daughters went to Athens. I’ve been on the Athens Drive High School Business Alliance for over 16 years. Last month we interviewed kids for the Cary Youth Leadership program. I interviewed Lilly. Lilly’s resume didn’t sell me. Lilly’s grades didn’t sell me. Lilly told me a story. She described herself and how she overcame adversity. She described why she wanted into the program and what she would do. Lilly sold me. It was a personal, emotional, & engaging story. It wasn’t a long story. It was a short story.\n
  • That’s point #1 of three points I want to make about stories: Short stories CAN sell.\n
  • This is a WW2 bomber: a B-25 Mitchell. The date was November 7th,1945; 66 days after Japan surrendered aboard the USS Missouri (Sept 2). A B-25 wingspan was 68’, length was 53’. The B-25 had a pair of supercharged, Curtis Wright R-2600 radial engines. Each engine had 14 cylinders with a total displacement of 2600 cubic inches at 1750 hp. Cruising speed for a B-25 was about 230 mph, max. around 300 mph. A B-25‘s range was 1200 miles, ceiling height was 25,000 ft..\n
  • This is Mt. Fuji. At 12,389 ft. it is the highest mountain in Japan. Mt. Fuji is about 60 miles south-west of Tokyo. It is classified as an active volcano and it last erupted on December 16, 1707. The crater is 820 feet deep with a 1,600 foot diameter.\n
  • The story starts at Atsugi Aerodrome in Tokyo. Dad was a Crew Chief for General Whitehead’s personal B-25. This day (2) pilots came out of the officers club and as Dad said ... “they were well oiled.” They told Dad to grab his gear, they were going for a ride. They took off and crossed Tokyo bay at 50’, then buzzed a bridge at < 50 ft. (As you can imagine there was lots of prop wash off a B-25.)\n
  • They headed for Fuji. They climbed up to the rim, then dove inside. Dad still remembers the wingtips being below the rim. Then they nosed up, climbed to the rim, then rolled to the left. They dropped nearly 10,000 feet in an instant back to the tree line.\n
  • So B-25’s are NOT supposed to roll. I asked Dad “What were you thinking?” He said “I was glad to be alive!” Then I asked Dad “What were THEY thinking?” They said “That’s was fun! Let’s roll her right.” They climbed back up to the crater, did it again, this time to the right – and dropped 10,000 ft in a 60 degree slide. This time the torque from the engines kept it from rolling. So let me ask you a question: What was the date? (11/7/45) What was the displacement of a CW engine? (2600 cu. in.)\n
  • That’s the second point – Point #2 – about stories. Facts make a story believable, but we remember the story, not the facts.\n
  • Dan Roam’s book “The Back of the Napkin” is excellent. It explains how our brain works. A thought starts in the LOW brain (WHO, WHAT, how much, ...) and ends up in the HIGH brain at WHY. We think in story: who, what, when, where ... and why.\n
  • That’s my third point – #3 – about stories: our brains are wired for stories. As a child we say: “Tell me a story.” But as an adult we think stories are for children.\n
  • Let’s recap the three great things about stories: 1) short stories can sell, 2) we remember stories, and 3) we’re wired for stories.\n
  • Let me also give you a TIP about stories. This is the iPod Nano. Does anyone remember when it was introduced? September 7, 2005; but that’s beside the point :-).\n
  • Oh, and one more thing ... the Nano introduction was memorable.\n
  • If you believe my three reasons for using stories ... alway have a few stories in your pocket. \n
  • This October I was in Jonesborough, Tenn. at the 39th National Storytelling Festival. No two speakers were the same, no two stories were the same. People want to know YOUR story. So don’t tell someone else’s story, tell your own story. 5 STEPS TO GET YOUR STARTED TELLING STORIES: First you need to FIND your story ... it will help you understand who you are.\n
  • Second step: WRITE it. Forget form, think content. What is your VALUE? How are YOU different? I like LHH’s SOAR approach: Situation, Obstacles, Action, Results. Find the essence of your story. Mine? We help people sell. It took me years to find it.\n
  • Third step: PROVE it. When you tell your story the first thing people ask is “Prove it.” The facts I gave you made Dad’s story believable, but his flight log (TRUST me) is proof – it makes it real. \n
  • Our sales approach is called Convince Me! A sales cycle has 4 phases (see the diagram on the left). We focus on the second phase: EDUCATE. TELL, SHOW, TRY are the key steps in educating your buyer. Wrap in PLAN and SATISFY. Google both words (convince me). Out of about 65 million hits, we’re #5 on the first page. Point #4: make your story convincing.\n
  • My last point – #5. I took this photo on the island of Capri. Look at the expressions on their faces. I’m sure the guy in the middle is in the middle of a story. A story is not a story unless it’s told. Tell your story.\n
  • Recap: how do you start telling stories? Five steps: 1) find it, 2) write it, 3) prove it, 4) make it convincing, and 5) tell it.\n
  • This is my son-in-law Kevin in Venice on his birthday. I love this quote by Muriel Rukeyser: “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” BASIC physics. The world is full of stories. Go find them.\n
  • Time to shift gears a bit. We’re going to talk about WordPress. Let’s talk left-brain for a while. \n
  • I’d like to briefly tell you about 10 things I learned building a product. \n
  • My storySite is http://theideamechanic.com. It’s not really a website, it’s a platform for telling stories.\n
  • Lesson #1: I chose Hostgator. They give you a range of hosting: Shared -> VPS -> Dedicated. Their product is good, their customer service ROCKS! The cost is +/- $100/year. You CAN run a storySite on shared hosting. Would a dedicated or virtual server be better? Maybe. Hostgator offers a one click WordPress install (most hosting services have this – warning: one click is NOT enough security but it gets you started). Techie tip: I minify, zip, and cache the code using two plugins. I deliver html pages, but they’re built “dynamically.”\n
  • Lesson #2: You need both a sandbox (test) and battlefield (production). Play in the sandbox until you like what you’ve built. I create a .test subdomain then move it to production. I use BackupBuddy plugin to backup/copy the site.\n
  • WordPress started as a blogging platform but has become a full-blown Content Management System (CMS) engine. Great examples: UNC-CH Reese news is multi-site WP install, also check out http://wordpress.org/showcase/.\n
  • 4th thing: Wordpress has TONS of resources. I belong to two local RTP WordPress Meetup groups. The WordPress CODEX docs are terse but good. I Googled “wordpress” and got 2 BILLION hits. SO much is available ...\n
  • Understand the Wordpress back-end and front-end. The backend starts with a host running MySQL, PHP, and Apache. This is the core of the performance engine.\n
  • WordPress uses front-end THEMEs to style the GUI “presentation.” There are thousands of free and paid themes available. I use a framework theme called THESIS (http://diythemes.com/thesis/) from DIY Themes (http://diythemes.com/). I love it. I build my storySites on top of Thesis then I add my own PHP code for logic, CSS code for styling, and Javascript for interactivity (including Javascript framework libraries like jQuery). I use plugins too – like sliders from Slidervilla (http://slidervilla.com/).\n
  • Speaking of plugins, the 7th lesson I learned: leverage other people’s code. Warning: it can be both good and bad. Not all plugins are “commercial” quality. I spent ALOT of time selecting, testing, (and debugging) my storySite plugins.\n
  • At number 8: Analytics. Yes, Google Analytics is free. At $60/yr for 10 sites ... I chose Clicky Web Analytics (http://getclicky.com/). I like the detail and the simplicity.\n
  • Let’s talk about two SEO types: on-site and off-site. Thesis theme has GREAT on-site SEO. Plugins like “All in one SEO Pack” (Semper Fi) are excellent. Also, I use a plugin to create a sitemap and ping the search engines automatically.\n
  • A keyword phrase we focus on “help people sell” was #1 and #2 out of 620 million hits. Not bad.\n
  • Off-site SEO. Offload media (videos, photos, audio, slides, ...) to social sharing sites. Use THEIR bandwidth and horsepower, THEIR SEO, YOUR content. Google is indexing Twitter and other social media. Get your keywords out through off-site channels.\n
  • And here’s the last point: #10. Good news: you now have a powerful engine. Bad news: you need to feed the monster. Jot down ideas. Making a scheduled, regular attempt to update. Don’t forget why you did all this work. Tell stories. Remember: a story is not a story unless it’s told. Tell them.\n
  • I learned alot. Hopefully you can gain from my pain :-). Let’s recap: 1) self-host Wordpress, 2) create test & production sides for your site, 3) Wordpress really is a CMS engine, 4) there are lots of Wordpress resources, 5&6) there are lots of back-end a front-end tools for Wordpress, 7,8,9) leverage with plugins, track with analytics, and pay attention to SEO, and 10) don’t forget to feed your monster.\n
  • Last tip for the day: use the BackupBuddy plugin from iThemes (http://pluginbuddy.com/purchase/backupbuddy/). I use it to move (migrate) sites between test and production. It is an incredibly powerful tool.\n
  • Hopefully you have a new perspective. We’re wired for stories. Short Stories that Sell. Wordpress is an engine!\n
  • Questions? To learn more, visit http://theideamechanic.com. We help people sell.\n

What? You Don’t Use WordPress to Tell Stories? You Lose. What? You Don’t Use WordPress to Tell Stories? You Lose. Presentation Transcript

  • What? You don’t use Wordpress to tell stories? You lose.
  • WordPress is just for blogging. Right? Wrong. In business, facts – not stories – sell your product, service, or point-of-view. Right? Double-wrong. Our minds arewired to process stories, not facts. WordPress is a POWERHOUSE storytelling engine. Don’t use it? You lose – customers and business. First, we’ll explore whyshort stories – not “death-by-Powerpoint” bullets – engage your buyer, capture their attention, and convince them to buy your product, service, or point-of-view.Second, we’ll drill into how I used WordPress to build a storytelling engine – and you can too. Want more sales? Forget the website, build a storySite™.
  • My name is Doug Foster, my business is the Idea Mechanics. We help people sell. Think of the words Tell, Show,Try. We help people ... TELL their story, SHOW proof – e.g. prove what they said is true (like a demonstration), andcreate “TRY-before-you-buy” experiences. That’s our core approach to selling: Tell, Show, Try.
  • But today we’re going to talk about 2 things. First we’ll talk about stories. Our talk about stories is not technical, it’s kinda “right-brain.”
  • Second, we’ll talk about WordPress. It’ll be more technical, but not deep. Kinda “left-brain.” During Q&A or after the session we can drill down if you want, but I’dlike to keep it high-level during the talk. If you take away ONE thought ... I want to convince you that ... WordPress is a storytelling engine!
  • This is Lilly. Lilly is a junior at Athens high school in Raleigh. My daughters went to Athens. I’ve been on the Athens Drive High School Business Alliance for over16 years. Last month we interviewed kids for the Cary Youth Leadership program. I interviewed Lilly. Lilly’s resume didn’t sell me. Lilly’s grades didn’t sell me.Lilly told me a story. She described herself and how she overcame adversity. She described why she wanted into the program and what she would do. Lilly soldme. It was a personal, emotional, & engaging story. It wasn’t a long story. It was a short story.
  • That’s point #1 of three points I want to make about stories: Short stories CAN sell.
  • This is a WW2 bomber: a B-25 Mitchell. The date was November 7th,1945; 66 days after Japan surrendered aboard the USS Missouri (Sept 2). A B-25wingspan was 68’, length was 53’. The B-25 had a pair of supercharged, Curtis Wright R-2600 radial engines. Each engine had 14 cylinders with a totaldisplacement of 2600 cubic inches at 1750 hp. Cruising speed for a B-25 was about 230 mph, max. around 300 mph. A B-25‘s range was 1200 miles, ceilingheight was 25,000 ft..
  • This is Mt. Fuji. At 12,389 ft. it is the highest mountain in Japan. Mt. Fuji is about 60 miles south-west of Tokyo. It is classified as an active volcano and it lasterupted on December 16, 1707. The crater is 820 feet deep with a 1,600 foot diameter.
  • The story starts at Atsugi Aerodrome in Tokyo. Dad was a Crew Chief for General Whitehead’s personal B-25. This day (2) pilots came out of the officers cluband as Dad said ... “they were well oiled.” They told Dad to grab his gear, they were going for a ride. They took off and crossed Tokyo bay at 50’, then buzzed abridge at < 50 ft. (As you can imagine there was lots of prop wash off a B-25.)
  • They headed for Fuji. They climbed up to the rim, then dove inside. Dad still remembers the wingtips being below the rim. Then they nosed up, climbed to therim, then rolled to the left. They dropped nearly 10,000 feet in an instant back to the tree line.
  • So B-25’s are NOT supposed to roll. I asked Dad “What were you thinking?” He said “I was glad to be alive!” Then I asked Dad “What were THEY thinking?”They said “That’s was fun! Let’s roll her right.” They climbed back up to the crater, did it again, this time to the right – and dropped 10,000 ft in a 60 degree slide.This time the torque from the engines kept it from rolling. So let me ask you a question: What was the date? (11/7/45) What was the displacement of a CWengine? (2600 cu. in.)
  • That’s the second point – Point #2 – about stories. Facts make a story believable, but we remember the story, not the facts.
  • Dan Roam’s book “The Back of the Napkin” is excellent. It explains how our brain works. A thought starts in the LOW brain (WHO, WHAT, how much, ...) andends up in the HIGH brain at WHY. We think in story: who, what, when, where ... and why.
  • That’s my third point – #3 – about stories: our brains are wired for stories. As a child we say: “Tell me a story.” But as an adult we think stories are for children.
  • Let’s recap the three great things about stories: 1) short stories can sell, 2) we remember stories, and 3) we’re wired for stories.
  • Let me also give you a TIP about stories. This is the iPod Nano. Does anyone remember when it was introduced? September 7, 2005; but that’s beside thepoint :-).
  • Oh, and one more thing ... the Nano introduction was memorable.
  • If you believe my three reasons for using stories ... alway have a few stories in your pocket.
  • This October I was in Jonesborough, Tenn. at the 39th National Storytelling Festival. No two speakers were the same, no two stories were the same. Peoplewant to know YOUR story. So don’t tell someone else’s story, tell your own story. 5 STEPS TO GET YOUR STARTED TELLING STORIES: First you need toFIND your story ... it will help you understand who you are.
  • Second step: WRITE it. Forget form, think content. What is your VALUE? How are YOU different? I like LHH’s SOAR approach: Situation, Obstacles, Action,Results. Find the essence of your story. Mine? We help people sell. It took me years to find it.
  • Third step: PROVE it. When you tell your story the first thing people ask is “Prove it.” The facts I gave you made Dad’s story believable, but his flight log(TRUST me) is proof – it makes it real.
  • Our sales approach is called Convince Me! A sales cycle has 4 phases (see the diagram on the left). We focus on the second phase: EDUCATE. TELL, SHOW,TRY are the key steps in educating your buyer. Wrap in PLAN and SATISFY. Google both words (convince me). Out of about 65 million hits, we’re #5 on the firstpage. Point #4: make your story convincing.
  • My last point – #5. I took this photo on the island of Capri. Look at the expressions on their faces. I’m sure the guy in the middle is in the middle of a story. Astory is not a story unless it’s told. Tell your story.
  • Recap: how do you start telling stories? Five steps: 1) find it, 2) write it, 3) prove it, 4) make it convincing, and 5) tell it.
  • This is my son-in-law Kevin in Venice on his birthday. I love this quote by Muriel Rukeyser: “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” BASIC physics. Theworld is full of stories. Go find them.
  • Time to shift gears a bit. We’re going to talk about WordPress. Let’s talk left-brain for a while.
  • I’d like to briefly tell you about 10 things I learned building a product.
  • My storySite is http://theideamechanic.com. It’s not really a website, it’s a platform for telling stories.
  • Lesson #1: I chose Hostgator. They give you a range of hosting: Shared -> VPS -> Dedicated. Their product is good, their customer service ROCKS! The cost is+/- $100/year. You CAN run a storySite on shared hosting. Would a dedicated or virtual server be better? Maybe. Hostgator offers a one click WordPress install(most hosting services have this – warning: one click is NOT enough security but it gets you started). Techie tip: I minify, zip, and cache the code using twoplugins. I deliver html pages, but they’re built “dynamically.”
  • Lesson #2: You need both a sandbox (test) and battlefield (production). Play in the sandbox until you like what you’ve built. I create a .test subdomain thenmove it to production. I use BackupBuddy plugin to backup/copy the site.
  • WordPress started as a blogging platform but has become a full-blown Content Management System (CMS) engine. Great examples: UNC-CH Reese news ismulti-site WP install, also check out http://wordpress.org/showcase/.
  • 4th thing: Wordpress has TONS of resources. I belong to two local RTP WordPress Meetup groups. The WordPress CODEX docs are terse but good. I Googled“wordpress” and got 2 BILLION hits. SO much is available ...
  • Understand the Wordpress back-end and front-end. The backend starts with a host running MySQL, PHP, and Apache. This is the core of the performanceengine.
  • WordPress uses front-end THEMEs to style the GUI “presentation.” There are thousands of free and paid themes available. I use a framework theme calledTHESIS (http://diythemes.com/thesis/) from DIY Themes (http://diythemes.com/). I love it. I build my storySites on top of Thesis then I add my own PHP code forlogic, CSS code for styling, and Javascript for interactivity (including Javascript framework libraries like jQuery). I use plugins too – like sliders from Slidervilla(http://slidervilla.com/).
  • Speaking of plugins, the 7th lesson I learned: leverage other people’s code. Warning: it can be both good and bad. Not all plugins are “commercial” quality. Ispent ALOT of time selecting, testing, (and debugging) my storySite plugins.
  • At number 8: Analytics. Yes, Google Analytics is free. At $60/yr for 10 sites ... I chose Clicky Web Analytics (http://getclicky.com/). I like the detail and thesimplicity.
  • Let’s talk about two SEO types: on-site and off-site. Thesis theme has GREAT on-site SEO. Plugins like “All in one SEO Pack” (Semper Fi) are excellent. Also, Iuse a plugin to create a sitemap and ping the search engines automatically.
  • A keyword phrase we focus on “help people sell” was #1 and #2 out of 620 million hits. Not bad.
  • Off-site SEO. Offload media (videos, photos, audio, slides, ...) to social sharing sites. Use THEIR bandwidth and horsepower, THEIR SEO, YOUR content.Google is indexing Twitter and other social media. Get your keywords out through off-site channels.
  • And here’s the last point: #10. Good news: you now have a powerful engine. Bad news: you need to feed the monster. Jot down ideas. Making a scheduled,regular attempt to update. Don’t forget why you did all this work. Tell stories. Remember: a story is not a story unless it’s told. Tell them.
  • I learned alot. Hopefully you can gain from my pain :-). Let’s recap: 1) self-host Wordpress, 2) create test & production sides for your site, 3) Wordpress really isa CMS engine, 4) there are lots of Wordpress resources, 5&6) there are lots of back-end a front-end tools for Wordpress, 7,8,9) leverage with plugins, track withanalytics, and pay attention to SEO, and 10) don’t forget to feed your monster.
  • Last tip for the day: use the BackupBuddy plugin from iThemes (http://pluginbuddy.com/purchase/backupbuddy/). I use it to move (migrate) sites between testand production. It is an incredibly powerful tool.
  • Hopefully you have a new perspective. We’re wired for stories. Short Stories that Sell. Wordpress is an engine!
  • Questions? To learn more, visit http://theideamechanic.com. We help people sell.