No doubt you’ve heard me talk about this before. I say that it is the foundation of your marketing, that it IS your competitive advantage, and the one element that sets you apart from the competition – it’s YOUR compelling story. No one else has it, no one can touch it.
You are unique and individual. You bring to the table all that you have discovered, learned, practiced, experienced, and witnessed in the course of your business life – all from your own unique perspective. Your story is what people will connect with, what they will cherish, and what they will tell others about. But FIRST, you have to share it, and before that – you have to write it.
What good is your story if no one knows it? We all know the answer – it’s no good at all. It is hard for most people to write about themselves, so if you have trouble with this, ask your best friend or significant other to list 10 things about you that sets you apart – in business and personally. You must get outside yourself. You ready? Ok, so grab your laptop and put your thinking cap on, I am going to show you how to write your story. And once it’s written it will be your guide for all your marketing – online, social, Instagram and print! This is a key component to your good marketing.
How to Write Your Story – What Good is it if No One Knows it?!
A great feature story is something that every business owner should have on hand. It is the foundation for your business. It is the reason for your marketing. Your story is your history, your mission and your marketing plan all rolled into one! You will be surprised at how much you will learn about your business when you sit down and write your story as an editorial piece. This little document will reveal why you are in the business you are in, what makes it tick, what creates the passion for it, why you love it and why it feeds your soul.
The uses for a feature story (the compelling story of your business) are endless. You never know when you might be asked to speak at a luncheon or chamber event, your story can be the basis for your bio and for your presentation. You can publish it online, in print, in book form, or sparse out pieces of it and syndicate it over social media. You can create ads with parts of it, pull out quotes from it for your website, and send it to interested print publications for consideration. You can divide it into chapters and tell it over a period of time in your online newsletter. You can record sections of it and post the videos on YouTube. There are numerous opportunities for a feature article. So one important thing to remember is to write your article with a “shelf life” in mind. You want to be able to pull from the article for up to 18 months. So, keep out specific dates and anything that is time sensitive.
Tips Before you Start
Here are a few helpful tips to guide you through the process of writing your feature. Get “outside yourself” and try to see yourself as others do, write objectively, as though you had been hired to do a high profile marketing project.
- Decide who your audience is
- Develop a checklist of questions
- Focus on your strengths (just like your marketing!)
- Tell your compelling story authentically
- Make the article biographical not advertorial
- Do not ramble
- Key in on interesting details that offer information to your reader
- Work in a personal/emotional angle
- Give information about your future – are you going to be around?
- Draw conclusions for the reader – take them on a journey
- Connect segments of your story to paths that led you to your current business
Here is a list of questions to help you get started writing a feature story or article for business. The questions are not necessarily in the order they should appear in your article, and by no mean do you want to just stick with these questions. These are just to get your mind flowing. Start by answering each question in detail, then add back to each question an element of emotion and a personal angle; get into the detail of how you felt, what you needed, wanted, were missing, etc. You will watch as the story will begin to take shape on it’s own.
- Where did you get the idea for your business?
- How do you give clients the time and attention they deserve?
- How did you decide on your current industry?
- Do you work solo, with a team or with your spouse/family?
- Describe how you (or team, partner, family) work together in the business. Your strengths and your talents.
- Most significant events since you began to work in this business.
- What do you like best about your business model?
- What’s the major contributing factor to your success?
- What’s the passion behind your mission statement?
- What do you offer that is unique?
- How do you manage balance of time requirements between personal life, family, business and community involvement?
- What is the most important fact you want the readers to know about you and about your business? About why clients select you?
- Please give brief family info…spouse, children, their interests, etc. and how they support your passionate business.
- Briefly, share your educational background, associations/awards, patents, etc.
- What are your business vision, goals and growth potential?
- Share an emotional story about your background that led to your business path.
- What types of clients do you work with?
- What types of products and/or services do you sell?
- Tell a current success story on how you helped a client ease their pain.
- How active are you in the community?
- What is your passion for the community, share an emotionally charged story.
- Describe your relationship with your business and service vendors/partners.
- What sets you apart from your competition?
- Share an anecdote or a brief business philosophy you are known for.
- What do you enjoy most about what you do?
- Discuss briefly the personal side of your life, hobbies, loves, passions, convictions, and collections – draw a correlation to your business and how the personal side (re)charges the business side.
- Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years?
- What are your plans for growth and diversification?
Your Hidden Weapon
Now that you have a feature article at your disposal, you are in a better position to educate the community about YOU by sharing your compelling story. In marketing, making a connection with your audience is the first step toward converting prospects into raving fans! Once the article is written and has been edited and RE-EDITED, decide where and how you want to share it. Based upon the audience you wrote it for, where do you solicit placement?
- Targeted publications
- Online and traditional news sources
- Community newsletters / Your demographic area
- Online newsletters
- Your advertising partners – ask them to feature your story
- Vendor websites and blogs – ask them to place your story
- Your website home page, blog, or newsletter
- Your social media networks – space them out so one month you post to LinkedIn the next month you post to Facebook, etc.
- Email blast to your client list
- Email blast to your database
- Hand distribution to go along with a special speaking engagement
- Sparse it out by scheduling posts with quotes from the story over social media with relevant pics, use a link to drive the audience to the main article.
The list is as long as you want to take it and as deep as your involvement is in the community. So, get out there and make a splash!