Sometimes, the hardest topics to talk about are the ones closest to your heart. So when businesses have to share their stories, they stumble in deciding what to say.
Ann Handley, MarketingProfs chief content officer and co-author of Content Rules, offers eight prompts to help companies begin telling their brands' stories.
Inspired by Handley's recent seminar for Radian6, this colorful infodoodle slide show can help draw out your inner brand storyteller.
1. What is unique about your business?
If you can't immediately rattle off your company's outstanding traits, take time to look inward and consider what separates you from the competition. Why should people engage with your company—and not with similar companies in your industry?
2. What is interesting about how your company was founded? And about your founder?
Beloved brands often have almost mythological stories about their humble beginnings. And folks remember those stories, like the one about two geeky dreamers building a computer in a garage or about buddies who wrote their business plans on bar napkins. A company's origin story—when told well—can captivate customers.
3. What problem is your company trying to solve?
Sometimes, a story isn't so much about who you are but what you can do for folks. For example, not everyone knows how Kleenex became synonymous with "facial tissue" (no one ever says "facial tissue," except Kleenex's competitors), but we all reach for a Kleenex when we need one. Consider telling your story in such a way that customers rely on you to help with their problem.
4. What inspired your business?
Dig into your brand's past, and unearth the reasons for its existence. Was your company founded by someone longed to bring more awareness for a cause? Someone who went on a trip and saw how business is done elsewhere? Look to the past to find your story for today.
5. What 'Aha!' moments has your company had?
Every person's life is filled with "Aha!" moments—flashes of insight for making life better for your or for others (or both). A company's story is filled with similar moments. When did your company make big, positive changes in how you do business?
6. How has your business evolved?
Not all the changes in a company's life are from flashes of insight. Sometimes, technology or world events slowly (or not) alter a company. The Internet, for example, completely revolutionized how myriad companies approached their business, including marketing, customer service, and much more. How has your company changed with the times?
7. What's an unobvious way to tell your story?
Think about how you can share your story in a unique way. Have you always relied on articles? Then consider using visual content, such as Instagram photos or Pinterest boards, to tell your story. Are you comfortable with using only videos? Experiment with podcasts and webinars. Learn to love the other colors on your brand's content-sharing palette.
8. What do you consider normal and boring that other folks would think is cool?
Because of your familiarity with your business, you might be overlooking its treasures. Approach your brand from an outsider's point of view. What would strike you as interesting and engaging if you weren't viewing the company as an insider? Your employee's hobbies? Your meeting protocols? "Furry hat Fridays"?