Have you ever sat back from your business and asked yourself – what are the consistent stories we tell clients about what we do, how we do it, who we do it for and why? Do you have stories like this? Have you written them down and do you use them as the foundations for your business’ marketing and communications?
I have been asking people I meet this a lot lately, with most people looking me dead in the eye with a wry grin and answering “No, we don’t have any stories”. Usually followed by “That is just what we need. Can we get some?”. “People don’t really know what we do,” or “We need a bit more profile in that area,” or even ”Our staff aren’t good at explaining the real value we bring to a client”
You see, the world is changing, or should I say bluntly, it has changed! Traditional advertising doesn’t work cost-effectively any more to get your message across. People don’t have time to read the papers, they aren’t sitting anywhere reading magazines, they don’t have a radio on their desk anymore, and direct mail simply doesn’t reach its destination. Instead, they want to be engaged, valued and given insight and leadership, regularly, in a way they can develop trust for your business. They want to hear from you. They need your stories.
Reminding the target client of a story they know and trust performs a powerful short cut to getting your marketing across.
Clients want to choose whether you are worth listening to and get to know your business by listening to it over a period of time. They want to hear your stories. They want them to be told to them in different ways, and tied back into the major value propositions you offer, sensibly, without selling. If you don’t tell them, you are missing a massive opportunity.
Anticipated, personal and relevant insights always perform better in promoting your business than unsolicited junk. If you build stories, then use the relevant ones to communicate with the relevant people around your business rhythmically… the chance of them listening to your message is a lot higher because the stories will have a value to the person you are trying to engage.
Give people stories to tell and they will tell them… give them nothing and they will either make up their own or say nothing at all.
It is important to remember that conversations are going on in your marketplace everywhere all the time. If you give people inside and outside your business the stories to tell, you’ll encourage the right types of conversations about your business and the trends and clients it is attached to.
Now I know there is a percentage of you out there shaking your head going “Nope, I just don’t need any more stuff in my inbox… I don’t have time for video and … “
But you are reading this aren’t you. Why? Because we strive to give you useful, selfless ideas that can help you in business, and that my friends is the key. Useful, selfless, valuable ideas people can use will keep them reading your stories, time and time again. People want value. And with the value can be a good stashing of personality helping people to get to know you, like you, and perhaps, one day they might call you to do business.
Despite all this, so many PR companies pump out blatant advertorial, blind to the importance of the story, the real value of content marketing, and ignoring the importance of “giving value”. I know, because I am also a publisher of a website that receives many content pitches from PRs with some significant disappointment at the quality of the “stories” they send. Be aware of this. SEO providers too. They are often hired for volume, not quality, which can be problematic later, but that is another article.
So if you are going to build stories, promise me this… they will be smart, valuable, useful and insightful for the people you want to have engaged with them. Don’t bother with advertorial, google keyword stuffing, or ignoring the need to communicate – it just won’t work for you. Your clients are human beings. They want value.
You can build stories up over a long period of time, in so many different and engaging ways like:
- Blogging and/or Business Articles
- White papers or Research papers and insights
- Social Media
- Media Coverage
- Industry stories
- Guest Speaking
- Personal Contact
The best stories combine a little of each, giving people a great taste of what you have to offer, without any selling at all. And they are not one hit wonders, they are sagas…
Bear in mind, you will be judged by how good your story telling is. If you business is bad at story telling, it will probably be bad at selling, because frankly that is what marketing and communications is, story telling…
How many stories does your business have?