Get your full story out first – then edit
Don’t rush through it
This exercise has a purpose, don’t skip ahead to the end
Make sure you’re writing down YOUR story, not someone else’s take on your story
Organize, refine, and CREATE
Over the past few months, I have presented on one of my favorite topics – Selling Through Storytelling. Recently I sat down with one of the presentation attendees and she was so excited to show me her progress on her story. She spent about ten minutes explaining how powerful the presentation was and she was so inspired she had been working on her story for the past few days. I was feeling pretty excited. Personally, I am always gratified when anyone takes a workshop and walks away with this much energy.
Here comes the big reveal: she opened her laptop to show me what she had done, and it was two sentences. WHAT? I was shocked and a bit frustrated in myself. Had I not explained this properly in my presentation? She went on to explain that she wanted to create a quick message for people to remember – Eureka! I now understood her goal, but she missed the importance of the exercise I give in my workshop: you have to get the entire story out. She had been conditioned by marketers to speak in sound bites and headlines. While these elements of marketing are important, they are the result of the work, not the work itself.
Today I want to walk you through what you need to do to get your story out and why it is so important to go through this activity – I’ll also reveal the hidden gems you’ll find when you really tackle this process.
Do It Alone – Get It All Out
I know it’s not easy, but if you’re the business owner, you need to get your story out on your own. Think of it like an exercise you had in school – write out or talk out load and record your story. Here are some questions to get you started:
- Why did I start this business?
- Why do I love what I do?
- What gets me fired up about growing my business?
Completing this exercise alone is important because though this may seem isolating it is actually reflective. This forces you to face the things in your head without noise or input from other people. Getting your story out does not have to happen all in one sitting. Things throughout your day may remind you about what inspired you. Take note of these little moments and add it into your story. Doodle pictures, write words that help you find a connection to your story, record voice notes or videos of moments that help you illustrate the background to your story and your purpose for perusing your passion or dream.
This exercise and process is not meant to be neat and tidy; it’s meant to be messy and emotional. If we don’t dig deep into ourselves to tell our story, we can’t connect with others. Once it’s all out, you can move on to the next phase.
Share Your Story
Bring your story to your team, or if you are just starting, bring it to your family and friends. Share your story and you’ll find the magic happens here: those around you will start contributing to your story. They will say, “I remember that moment when you…” or “You left out this part of your story.”
This part of the process is powerful. You’ll receive feedback on what resonated with those around you. It will give you energy! This exercise is great for team building – it helps those in your organization feel more connected to you. Remember your team, and soon your customers, are the ones that have to pass on your story. Learning early on what connects them to your business will make growing your business a real joy.
Organize and Create
Now that you have gotten things out and received feedback, you have so much content. Yes, I said it – content (you had to know this was going to come back to digital marketing eventually J ).
Now you have the ingredients to write your mission statement, and revise headlines and web page copy that connects back to your story. Look through your doodles… Can you turn that into a social media post? Are your voice notes usable or can you re-record that message now with more confidence and share it as part of blog post? Look through the words you used when you were just getting it all out; do you now have a list of values or beliefs that you can share?
When you get everything out without editing yourself in the process, you are generating content that can be leveraged in different ways on different platforms. Think like a movie director: shoot the scene, get the extra angles, and then cut it together. The things that get left on the cutting room floor make great outtakes – or in our world, social content.