You are working hard, cranking out content but it’s not moving the needle. The C-suite is disappointed and you have to make a change fast. Ask yourself a few questions related to the strategy behind the corporate story you’re telling.
Have you started with the goal in mind?
Whether it’s your “About” page, a blog post, a presentation, or any type of piece of content, you want to influence your audience in some way: To make change, share something, make a purchase, subscribe, or donate.
Make your reader the hero, not you.
Literally bring your audience into a fairy tale, and make them the hero of the story. It doesn’t matter if you sell paperclips or the cure for cancer. You solve a problem in the marketplace and communicating that idea although easier said than done, is critical to influencing action.
A simple example are the banners we see on buildings during the commute home from work. “If you lived here, you’d be home by now.” The Corona ads come to mind. No people; just photos of the beach with a cold beer and a slice of lime. I want to be in that photo.
I’m working with a client who provides a platform for creating reciprocal referral relationships. Our stories are about getting back a piece of your life because working by referral is not only more enjoyable and profitable, it’s more time efficient and allows you to scale your business. We’ve implemented a Take Back 10 campaign where we ask members to share what they are going to do with the extra ten hours in their week.
What does this mean to you? Get rid of vocabulary that resembles anything like this: State of the art facilities, world class technology, or been in business since 1825. That’s white noise. These are words that have been used so often, they don’t mean anything. Like the poster hanging on the wall for years you no longer even notice.
Instead, show how that technology or facility has made the world a better place for someone.
What is the Happy Ending?
Call me a Pollyanna, but I like stories with a happy ending. In marketing and the corporate world, everyone wants a happy ending.
Nancy Duarte gave a TED Talk on The Secret Structure of Great Talks which applies to more than talks; it works for communicating ideas in general. She asks the question, “What is the final bliss?” That is the idea you are trying to communicate. And if we think in terms of the outcome we want to help our customers achieve, and communicate it in that way, we are sharing the final bliss. If I drink a Corona, I’ll be on a beach in the Carribean. If I lived in that apartment, I’d be home. If I create a profile on my client’s platform, I’ll get back ten hours of my life each week.
Your customers and prospects are busy. Start with the happy ending. Pull them in and show them how they, too, can be the hero of the story.
Are you showing personality?
In order to do all of the above, you’re going to have to break out of that corporate veneer, drop the jargon, and be real. Your audience is no longer impressed by 25 cent words when you can use 5 cent ones. More importantly, they expect to be able to create a relationship with you. You can’t make that emotional connection and get them excited to take the next step unless you’ve done so.
People connect with stories. And stories inherently involve conflict resolution. Your prospects and customers have a conflict you resolve. If you’re communicating that idea, you’ve got a match made in heaven.
This post originally ran on the Vocus blog.[ssba]