One of the tenets of the Human Business Way is that we must learn to tell bigger stories. What do I mean by that? What am I trying to solve by suggesting that to you as part of my thoughts on business design?
Think about you and your media consumption habits. I sent this out Monday in the early AM (in the US, that is). When did you get to it? How many posts did you read before and after this post? How often do you read something and just move on to the next piece without really taking a breath or two to consider what you learned and what you might apply from what you’re reading? How many times do you hit “bookmark for later” or similar and then take months and months to get to something?
Your reader is in the same boat as you. They’re rushing around the web looking for scraps of useful or entertaining (or if you’re lucky, both) content, and you’re just one stop on the menu. What are you going to do to be seen and heard in the fray?
Tell a Bigger Story
I gave similar advice to friends in my free newsletter yesterday. But in case you’re not getting that example of my best advice and heartfelt help for your own business and goals, I’ll tell you a bit about what I shared.
A “bigger story” is one where you make your buyer the hero, where you equip him or her for success, and where you serve the community within which your business exists. For instance, this post itself is written for you, as a business professional, to take and use for your own business value. But maybe you’re not in the same business as me. What if you’re Joel Libava: The Franchise King? Joel serves people in the franchising space. So what does he write about? Joel tirelessly seeks out ways to help the people who buy franchises as well as consults with those who sell franchises. What you read and watch on Joel’s site serves his community well.
A bigger story comes from Gini Dietrich, when she equips PR professionals with thoughts that aid those people with their development. If you’re a PR professional and you’re not seeking out great quality learnings from people like Gini, you’re missing the best opportunities out there.
So, How Do I Get People to Care About What I’m Doing?
It’s difficult. People are busy with their own work. They have their own huge stories going on. Think about yours. When you’re not hanging out reading [chrisbrogan.com], you have this huge life, right? So how have you seen me get through to you?
A Quick Recipe for Telling Bigger Stories
Ingredients(Pick 2 or 3 of the following):
- Connect with an emotion.
- Share something useful.
- Create a valuable resource.
- Give without asking as often as possible.
- Be brief and/or entertaining.
Tell a story about your buyer. Start with them, and not you/your products, in mind. My friend, John Jantsch, is very much the voice of education and a trusted advisor to a horde of small business owners who aren’t necessarily marketers first and foremost, but need to know what John knows to succeed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen John push anything selling-wise. Even when he publishes a new book (which he does reasonably often), he writes one fairly chaste post and moves on. That’s what you’re aiming for in all cases.
If you’ve got customers who’ve been successful with your help, write about them, but don’t mention you. Never ever give in to that nagging urge to say, “…and we were able to supply the website that gave him those 304% more leads a week.” The magic trick is when you can tell your readers some advice that will help them without having to sell your product, and then maybe way near the bottom of the post, you can mention a way to contact you (or however you get people into your pipeline), such that you deliver as much value for free and up front as you can before you ask for anything.
Finally, keep matters brief. People don’t have the time to sift through your rambling piece to find what they want. Break up your post with lots of visual cues (not sure what I mean? Look at this blog post), and make it easy to consume. This means a lot.
For best results, comment as often as you can when people reply to your post. Not always, and not neurotically. Just do what you can.
We Live Through the Lens of “I” But Sometimes We Slip Into “We”
These pronouns of ours matter more than people think. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says “you guys” when they are addressing people that matter to their success. When I started my first consulting company, we referred to our clients as “partners.” It was difficult for some people (on either side of the table) to understand my insistance, but it’s simple: what I wanted to foster was the belief that we were there for our partner’s success. It’s pretty easy to say “well, you didn’t do what we suggested.” But if we’re all “we,” then, we all work for the victory. Right?
To close this up, realize that the best recipe for success with telling bigger stories is the one that helps everyone be the hero in their own story. My best success (in regards to my writing) is when someone uses something I’ve written and they score a win in their own world. Why? Because what do you think that person does once they model my advice and it works? They come back.
Isn’t that why you’re here?
What’s your big story around your product or service?