Selling your story actually means creating a connection with your supporters or customers. Writing your story and the story of your business or idea is less about what you have to say and more about what people will want to hear in order to believe and buy in. That doesn’t mean you should write an imaginary or inauthentic story – it just means that when you’re writing your story it has to be structured and put together to get across the reasons why someone should connect with your business or idea.
Often one of the hardest aspects of putting together any pitch, page or marketing material is our own story and the story of our brand. A simple mistake many business people make is to write content based on what they have to say rather than on what the audience would be interested in. Using structure and key questions can you help put together a story that is authentic and can connect with our audience.
Your brand’s story: the building blocks
Getting your brand (and campaign) story clear in the early days of your business is vital in creating effective brand communication (and sales!). It goes beyond a beginning, middle and end and needs to incorporate elements which your supporters can connect to, believe in and ultimately buy into. You need to build a picture and create trust.
Ultimately, there are four main building blocks to any successful story:
- The protagonist, often portrayed as the hero;
- The conflict;
- The story set up; and
- The deep issues the story addresses.
If all seems a bit overwhelming, remember, with these four key building blocks you can create a story which your supporters can connect with and buy into. By using these blocks as your structure, the overlaps (between the blocks) will create the interaction points at which your supporters can make their connection.
These overlaps create the essence of your story and consist of:
- Story tension
- How we got here (Hero’s Arc)
See brand architect Mark Lightowlers’ brand storytelling map below to understand how the simple building blocks overlap to create the emotional connection:
A good story is created by showing how a protagonist (you) works to resolve a conflict in their journey. Showing empathy and being authentic encourages your supporters to engage, and support you.
Still overwhelmed? Ok, the next phase in writing your story is getting down the facts.
Your brand’s story: just the ‘facts’ ma’am
By answering the following questions, you can put together the key building blocks (and overlaps) which create the connection with your supporters:
- Opportunity: What is the history behind your idea?
- Protagonist: Who is the ‘chief actor’ in your story?
- Conflict: What conflict faces the protagonist?
- Motivation: What is the motivation for the protagonist in your story?
- Deep issues: What larger issues does your story deal with?
- The win: What is the goal for your protagonist?
- Heroes arc: How does the protagonist (you) change over the course of your story?
- Empathy: How will the protagonist travel their journey?
- Tension: What is the unspoken feeling that connects the conflict based on the deeper issues the story speaks to?
Your brand story: Bringing it together
By working through the nine questions above, you will start to see how the keys elements of your story overlap and interact. It will help you see if your story hangs together and to develop a concise authentic story of your brand and your campaign. This story will be the foundation of all your communications and interactions with your supporters. The bonus of telling your story in this way is that it becomes transparent who your actual supporters [customer, distributor or client] will be and how your brand/business will fit into their own stories. This transparency will help you to develop your future communications with your supporters.
Hints & Tips:
- Any writer will tell you, first of all don’t overthink just start It doesn’t have to be perfect (and it won’t be!) on your first go. But it will be authentic and will give you the basis for developing the story so that all the elements come together.
- Be authentic. It’s your story, don’t write to impress anyone on the first go. Write what is true and those elements of connection will become transparent. The flow, tidying and massaging of the message will all come in the editing process.
- Don’t publish your first draft. Call in a friend, consultant, mentor or business partner to review your drafts. Be prepared and ask for critical analysis of your draft. Ultimately you want your story to make sense and speak to your supporters.
- Your brand story is not your memoir, save that for later when you’re on your boat in your tropical paradise relishing in your success.
- And finally, get your story out there. It does not need to be perfect. As you develop in your business so will your story. Better to be seen than not heard from because you’re in year two, three or five of ‘preparing’ to launch your business. Preparation waiting for perfection can make the difference between those that do and those that always wanted to but never did.
Pinpoint Grants and Tenders is offering all Ready, Fund, Go participants a FREE 30 minute consultation to help you with the structure of creating your own authentic, engaging and ultimately ‘sold’ story. Contact us at 1300 796 343 or firstname.lastname@example.org and quote this article on Ready Fund Go.