Lately we’ve been talking about business planning; using strategy and insight to move your business to that next level (or off the ground). We’ve all heard the “b” word; branding and that can play an important role in defining your business so you can reach new heights of success with your initiatives. Successful people know who they are, right and glean from that an inner confidence. So true for successful businesses too. So we encourage you in the coming months to sit down, paper in hand, and write out the words, ideas and stories that describe your business. And while you do that, we are going to dive into a series of blog posts all about writing good copy (using the results of your deep search to best define your business to the public). First up, Chantal takes us through what a story is and why you should be telling one each time you talk about your business.
A fellow writer (find him on Twitter as @small_print) noted that “All outreach should have a narrative hook… ’tis the story that drives your message”.
He was referring to writing for not for profit, where empathy is a strong call to action, but his words are true for most businesses too.
Communications strategy, whether business to consumer or business to business, is more than a strategy. It has to reach people and in this world of mass information, that’s not an easy task. We are bombarded morning, noon and night on social media, through mainstream media and in every day interactions, with both worthy news and useless information.
So how do you get people’s attention?
You need to tell a story. Your story. Your company’s story. You need to reach people on a relatable level. Distill a large concept down to a specific example, so that the reader can relate and react. A business profile need not be dry and boring to read: it’s a question of finding that hook, that detail that personalizes the company.
When you are selling something, you have to assume that you aren’t always reaching people who are receptive to the message. They may not be in the market for your product / service. They may already use a similar product / service. They simply might not care. Getting them to ‘hear’ your message is key. Not just hear it but actually listen.
Educating your reader and potential customer is part of that but no one wants to feel like they are being talked down to. By using a narrative approach, you can draw them in to what you are trying to share, educating without them even realizing it.
A great visual example is an old ad by the cast of the West Wing, reunited to create a video for the sister of one the cast (Mary McCormack – also known as Commander Kate Harper). The ad refers to a lack of voting for non-partisan judicial races, and in particular, for Bridget Mary McCormack, who is running for state supreme court and needs to remind voters not to ignore the non-partisan voting section of their ballot (in addition to reminding them to vote for her!) The ad leverages what us die hard WW fans remember and love about the show (‘Walk and Talk’). Even if you’re not a major fan, the ad is smart, well executed and tells a story. I remember the information that I was told in it. Makes me wish I could vote.