Effective storytelling requires balance. Too much introspection and we may not connect with a wider community. Too much sales content and we can alienate those we have connected with.
Balance means we need to think about why we’re sharing everything. And that means you need to know what goal the Information you’re sharing supports.
TELL WHAT APPEARS TO BE ALL OF YOUR STORY (PLAN YOUR ARC).
For your story to appear organic and natural, first identify:
- what you want to be known for (the content you will create),
- how you’ll establish credibility (showing behind the scenes details or people you work with or highlighting people you have helped and the results you’ve achieved), and
- what you want people to do (what actions do they need to take to make your vision a reality).
Once you’ve planned your arc, you can develop an editorial calendar to ensure consistency and achieve balance between current events, your backstory, and your asks. But until you know what you want to say, a calendar won’t help.
CONSISTENTLY RETELL KEY PARTS OF YOUR STORY.
Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. They naturally divide themselves into chapters and volumes, with a cadence and rhythm set by major events such as a company being funded, going public, having a new executive chef take over, eliminating GMO ingredients from the menu, and so on.
Because you can’t assume where someone starts with your story, you need to consistently retell past chapters of your story--abridged versions of your story that support your why and those that establish you as an expert, a trusted resource, and an authority on what you do.
You have to think like a movie director, proactively including flashbacks when the audience might not understand your motivation.
SET GOALS FOR THE CONTENT YOU'LL SHARE.
We all have selfish reasons for telling our stories and sharing information. Many of those reasons consciously or unconsciously lead to a sustainable living, from protecting the planet to earning a living wage.
So for now, let’s all assume we want people to take action after reading our stories. (Action doesn’t have to be a monetary transaction or tangible, it could be we want people to like us a little better after they hear our story.)
For a business or personal brand, there are four primary goals:
Get your audience to dream bigger. If you have a revolutionary product or service, aspirational content showing potential uses and benefits can highlight a need people didn’t know they had.
Discuss what’s unique about what you and why you do what you. Your audience learns how you envision them using your product.
Include behind the scenes details that spark the imagination of your community and identify the people who make the product/deliver the experience they love.
Connect with members of your community by showing what they are doing; get them excited to support your why; and make them proud to say they’re a member.
How are they consuming your product or service? What are their lives like with you in it?
PLAN CONTENT TO COVER YOUR CUSTOMER DECISION JOURNEY (CDJ).
Some parts of our story are easier to tell than others. And there's the temptation when time is short or resources are tight to write what's comfortable.
Download your content marketing matrix worksheet (PDF) to identify gaps in your current content marketing efforts. Once you know the holes, you can start brainstorming your future offerings.
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