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Jen Miller - Humanizing Storytelling



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Jen Miller explained how drama and authenticity connect audiences to brands at WordCamp Santa Clarita on April 5, 2019.

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Jen Miller - Humanizing Storytelling

  1. 1. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Humanizing Storytelling - Drama and Authenticity Connect Audiences to Brands
  2. 2. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Don't be afraid to let people see inside. That's where the connection is made.
  3. 3. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Know what your brand stands for - and align with stories that showcase it.
  4. 4. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Humanizing the story is about sharing.
  5. 5. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Show up and say the same thing repeatedly - consistently.
  6. 6. #WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u However, don’t forget that data brings conversion. Connect the dots for your audience, but don’t get lost in the numbers.
  7. 7. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Build your lists using newsletters, social media, videos, blog posts, private groups, and more.
  8. 8. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Start a brand gimmick - Top 10 posts, 9 second videos, calls to home, develop a design palette...
  9. 9. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Welcome customer reviews even if they’re not what you’d like (and listen to the feedback).
  10. 10. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Allow real people to advise you. Marketing is not only about the expert’s opinion.
  11. 11. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u Make friends, you never know who will be a key influencer.
  12. 12. #WCSC JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u#WCSCV JEN MILLER @jenblogs4u THANK YOU, Santa Clarita!

Editor's Notes

  • Humanizing Storytelling - Drama and Authenticity Connect Audiences to Brands
    You may be asking yourself what does that even mean?
    It means getting real - with yourself, with your partners, with your shareholders, with your clients and customers. One of my clients referred to it as pulling back the kimono. You might connect with the word vulnerable or insider’s view. Basically though it means being willing to be honest as you tell your story, knowing that you will find an audience. No matter what you and your business do, be it a service, product or concept. It means saying who you are and what you do.
    The man on the boat in this slide is my grandfather. He was an adventurer. He didn’t apologize for it - he owned his truth. If I wanted to try something new, he was the person to call. But he wasn’t the person to seek advice or warm fuzzies from. It wasn’t his brand.

    Every brand represents something - an individual, a business, a product

    But that brand has to also BE something larger than the individual, business or product.
  • Don't be afraid to let people see inside. That's where the connection is made.
    Go into detail as you share your message on your website. Show fun photos of you or your team at work. Give sneak peeks into what you do.
  • Know what your brand stands for - and align with stories that showcase it

    We work with a lot of real estate clients. Each national chain is known for something.
    Sothebys represents luxury while Keller Williams represents contribution and service (charitable and client based), and Redfin represents value. We would not use stories, videos or testimonials of $28 million dollar homes to market Redfin, just as we wouldn’t focus on first time home buyers with the Sotheby’s brand.

    The stories we use must align with the brand.
    It’s important to remember that you can’t be all things to all people. BUT you can focus on one aspect of your brand and help your audience to see it clearly, to help it be more relatable. Awards and facts and figures are impressive, but they aren’t what tells the brand story.

    Sometimes we have clients come to us sharing that they want to use a less professional, more fun voice in their content and we happy shift to provide that. Humor can and does sell, so don’t be afraid to use it, if you are a naturally funny person and want to incorporate that in your brand. Remember, there is an audience for everyone.
  • Humanizing the story is about sharing.

    A blog post or video on how and why the business started connects.
    An interview with the founder about where they find inspiration pulls people in.
    Sharing how a team member made a difference or a sign of first success are other ways to get your followers interested and invested in what you do.

    I need 3 people who own a business to come up and be my volunteers.
    What is the name of your business?
    What does it do?
    Can you tell us a story where you did that?
  • Show up and say the same thing repeatedly - consistently.

    Do any of you recognize this lake? It’s a lake I spent a lot of time at as a teen. It’s Lake Castaic, and is located about 15 minutes from here. My grandpa and I used to visit it often because it was one of his favorite places to windsurf. On breezy summer days we would drive out to the lake and spend the day on the water. It was a ton of fun and I have great memories of those days on the lake because I chose to show up. No one MADE me go.

    The same is true for business events. To build your brand, gain insight to use in the content your create and understand what people are asking, you need to show up.

    I first started coming to WordPress events because of my friend Ben Mueller. Ben is a coder and we used to work together. Though he lived in Riverside he used to drive out to attend the WordPress Meetup near me in Huntington Beach. Knowing this I invited him to dinner at my house one night before the Meetup. It was awesome getting to talk to each other outside of work and at his urging I started watching the video stream from the Meetup since I wasn’t able to attend at that time. After about a year I ventured to the physical Meetup location and suddenly I became involved in a community that understood my fascination with blogging and website content. I shared what I did and offered solutions to my new friends. Eventually I started speaking at events, all the while sharing a message that I believed in - that content done right is essential to every marketing plan. My focus in the beginning was on the blog and over the years it’s expanded to much more, but the underlying message is the same and repeated wherever I go. My business name states my message and makes it easy for people to know how I can be a resource.

    Going to events is one way I like to build my brand as a company and as an individual. Because, if you own a company, your personal branding needs to be tied to your business branding. And, as I mentioned before, you have to show up. Yesterday my Grandma died. We were very close. It was hard for me to find the motivation to attend this event this weekend, but I knew that showing up was important. So I did. And you know what? I found comfort. I found friends who were willing to lift and support me through this hard time. I’m here because I hope my message today inspires you to take some action towards sharing your message in a very authentic way. So, show up and share when given the opportunity, because humanizing your storytelling takes you well beyond the data.
  • However, don’t forget that data brings conversion. Show people the numbers and use those to elevate your message. Connect the dots for your audience, but don’t get lost in the numbers.

    Data should be used to understand your audience, you need to know how your traffic responds to the things you do. You need to know what call to action and number of clicks is required to gain conversion, but your audience doesn’t really care about all the details.

    They just want to know what works. So when sharing facts and figures, focus on the ones that will bring the point home to your typical customer. Consider using each stat or statistical grouping as a different piece of content rather than throwing everything out at once in an infographic that is too complex. Your goal is to make the content something that resonates with your customer - something they want to think more about or share with their neighbor, co-worker or spouse.

    At 18I was asked to go under cover to report on a story covering businesses that would sell alcohol to minors and how I compiled stats and documentation showing 30% success in alcohol purchase. The general number was enough luckily - details of who, how, where and when - weren’t necessary to bring together a community and how an organization was formed to watchdog those businesses. Readers care more about the solution than the details.
  • Build your lists using newsletters, social media, videos, blog posts, private groups, and more.

    A campaign to nurture new followers offers value repeatedly. Present a problem, talk about a solution, show what things will look like once the problem is solved. For us, client emails are essential. When we keep dialogue open with our customers, they order more, ask more questions and refer us more frequently. When we are at a point of client saturation, we scale back on those efforts. We can control the ebb and flow of client work because we understand, after years of practice, what brings people in.

    Tell story of clients being approached on street because she was recognized from the photo on her monthly events calendar email. Tell story of client connecting with other local business and writing about them on her blog so they could synergistically combine audiences.
  • Start a brand gimmick - Top 10 Posts, 9 second videos, calls to home, design palette development

    Have any of you heard of Click Funnels?

    I recently read a book called Expert Secrets by Click Funnels Founder, Russell Brunson where he tells the story of his friend Jacob. Jacob started recording videos, not as a brand gimmick, but for himself. Jacob wanted to be able to dunk a basketball and researched methods to do so. He would try out techniques to improve his vertical jump, all the while recording himself for his own viewing. When he found a method that worked, he would note it and move on to a new one. He practiced and videotaped himself for his own purposes and added them to his YouTube channel. Pretty soon he had a few followers and eventually his follower base grew to millions of viewers. He ended up forming a very profitable business where he helps others to increase their basketball skills. But he started with short videos that he thought nobody was watching.

    Authenticity doesn’t only belong on the basketball court. It’s in the people behind the business, in the day to day operations. It’s in the ordinary, consistent actions. It’s in the Instagram post or Facebook LIVE video that engages the audience. These actions increase audience participation and allow you to interact with your followers.

    Talk about how Wrigley is in the process of rebranding us to integrate the sunglasses in our logo and how my Instagram feed is suspect. And it sounds like sunglasses will be our new gimmick. ;)

    As you interact, you’ll start to gather reviews.
  • Welcome customer reviews even if they’re not what you’d like (and listen to the feedback)

    Reviews need to be specific, first hand and provide insight. What is it really like to use your service, product, or company.

    You can prep your reviews by emailing some questions about their experience.
    Questions I like to suggest get sent to clients - whether the review is in written or video form.
    What issue prompted you to call us?
    How did you feel before you asked us for help?
    How was working with us different?
    When did you realize the solution we suggested started working?
    How did the solution change your business?

    With video, keep it conversational and focus on one on one. Ask for examples and wait (editing can happen later). Primary goal is to make it accessible, not high level and lofty.
  • Allow real people to advise you - marketing is not only about the expert’s opinion

    Now is the time for you to speak up and share - you’ve learned a lot this weekend but you probably have something to contribute, as well. What do you see brands doing well? Where have you seen them fail?
  • Make friends, you never know who will be a key influencer.

    I told you about how I got to my first WordPress Meetup, but I didn’t share why I stayed once there. I stayed because I made friends. Some of those friends have become key influencers in the WordPress space. Some of those friends encouraged me to attend a second meetup, called the Social Media Masterminds of Orange County or SMMOC. There I met a whole new group of friends. One of those social media friends, Bridget Willard, eventually decided to come to the WordPress Meetup I attended. She started playing at building a WordPress website and within a year had made a significant career change. She has become a key influencer in the WordPress space and she was already an expert at Twitter, and many of you may count her as a friend. As my friend, she has helped me forward my business in countless ways, because that’s what friends do.

    And by key influencer, I’m not only talking about the number of followers a person has or industry clout, though that definitely matters. I’m also talking about the influence those friends will have on you. You will become better because of the people you meet. As you meet people, you will increase your following and find that you are spreading your message on and off line. Thank you so much for being here today so that I can now count you among my friends. I’m so glad I came.
  • Thank you! I’m Jen Miller from Need Someone To Blog and we can take a few questions now or you can catch me in the hall afterwards. I would love to meet all of you!
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