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If you want to get ahead in business, know your business story and own it.

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Author

Natalie Weaving

If you want to get ahead in business, know your business story and own it

Storytelling is no new concept. From the moment when books first came about, stories have been written down to ensure that more people could enjoy them. Our childhoods were full of stories from our grandparents telling us about the good old days, through to our parents telling us when they knew a child who used to bite their nails and the harrowing misfortune which followed.

And, whilst some were fiction, a lot were were true stories. They were born from experience and then polished up to make them sound better or have the impact that the author desired.

That’s exactly the way that you should tell your business story.

DISCLAIMER: I am not saying lie or make things up – far from it.

But, I am saying know your business story. Tell it, own it and be proud of it. The good bits are the easiest to tell. But, what about the hard bits? The lessons learnt? Those probably resonate with your customers, partners, industry peers and target audience far more than the trophies and contract wins.

Of course, those stories still need to be told. We also need to be cautious about the bad stuff we share in the public world as some of it could do more harm than good to your reputation. Some stories will only be poignant when something happens in the world or even when something starts trending.

So, here are three ways to incorporate stories into your marketing to help tell your customers and potential customers exactly who you are and what you stand for.

The evergreen content.

This is usually the story about how and why your business began and the people behind it. It is often this story which draws out your values and drives home the type of people who your customers could be working with or buying from.

Once you have this story on your site, use part of it from time to time across social media or to give context to the way you do things. Your audience changes, the algorithms means different people will see your updates, so don’t be afraid to tell this story over and over –  but in different ways.

The opportune opportunity

Times often present themselves which allow a business or their employees to tell a personal story. This is a recent example of something I tried out, which related to the #10YearChallenge doing the rounds on social media in January 2019.

Having seen posts about people celebrating their triumphs, I decided to tell my story about what was happening with my own physical and mental health a decade ago. It was a relatively simple post with the before and after picture which the 10 Year Challenge was about – yet it went semi-viral!

By semi-viral, I mean that it wasn’t picked up by the nationals nor was I invited to talk to Holly and Phil on This Morning. But, in terms of social media reach, it was hugely popular as over 20,000 people have seen that post to date.

Why? It was a story that showed a side of me which not many people know. Because of that, it got a positive reaction. Vulnerability can be incredibly powerful. I admit that I wasn’t sure how it would be received and I even sense checked myself with my co-fo and BFF Polly before posting it. Then, off it went.

A personal connection

The people in my social media network who knew me at that time took a moment to comment as did people who I have recently connected with but had no idea that had happened to me. I have also had messages via my social media channels from people who have been through similar experiences or just to say WOW and to thank me for telling my story.

The key elements in that social media post were that there was no ‘woe is me’. I am quite aware that there are people in worse situations than I have been in. It was more of a ‘wow, that happened and I am a better person for it, so here is to living’ style post. So, even personal stories which show vulnerability, can evoke an emotion or could resonate with people have a place if used at an opportune time in a positive manner.

Using stories to gain PR coverage

Not every PR story has to be about your product or service. We have been fortunate to have gained courage which is not about our business but about our stories which have shaped us as individuals.

One example of this is when Polly featured in The Telegraph about mums returning to work too soon after giving birth. This was following comments from Lady Barbara Judge, the first female Chairman of the Institute of Directors, saying that women shouldn’t expect to go back to work in the same capacity if they are not willing to go back full time and quickly. Polly’s feature subsequently led to her being interviewed on BBC Three Counties Radio to debate the subject in more detail. This story not only gave us a lot of exposure, but it also boosted our brand as one which is flexible and supportive to our employees and clients.

We have no doubt that this story helped us win the Variety Catherine Award for Women’s Empowerment in the Workplace last year. We also get a constant stream of people asking if we have any work available because they like our approach and vision.

So there you go – three different examples of how you can get your business out there by telling either your business story or personal accounts from the people within the company.

Contact us

Do you know your story? Or do you need help getting it ready for the world to hear? Get in touch to book a consultation with our team who will help to tell your business story with confidence. Give us a call today: 01256 614921.

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