People love stories. Our brains are wired in a way that makes us think and perceive reality regarding stories. And this is why if you run a company’s blog or promote your customer’s business as an independent blogger, you should tell stories that will set this business apart from boring, faceless competition.
If you want to tell about a business in a way that will make your readers share your post and retell it to their friends, writing about its strong work ethics and mission statement won’t help. A fascinating and unique story will.
Define the Audience
It is a tricky part – although you most likely know the audience of your blog, what about the target audience of the business you promote? Are they similar to each other? How much do they overlap? In what tone should they be addressed? Will they appreciate content written in a manner usual for your blog?
If you come to a conclusion that there are more differences between your readership and the people potentially interested in the business’ products, it may be wiser to refuse the partnership – or not, if you can think of a way to tell a great story that would bridge the gap.
Conflict at the Center
A story without a challenge or a conflict isn’t much of a story. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you tell about: it may sell electronics online or rent out rooms, what the reader wants to know is what risks it overcame, what difficulties it faced and how it dealt with them.
Touch upon the Audience’s Pain Points
Unless you go all-out with your promotion, you may want to keep it subdued, but whatever business you tell about in your blog, you should play upon your audience’s heartstrings. It doesn’t have to deal directly with them – it may merely touch upon topics that are moving and inspiring for those who read you.
Take this story about Huit Denim Co., told dozens of times in blogs, newspapers and other publications. Although it doesn’t try to make readers feel the void in their lives that can only be filled with the product in question, it makes them feel that buying this product is a good, socially responsible deed.
If You Have Personal Experience, Talk About It
Telling stories about a business is one thing, but telling stories about your interactions with business is something else entirely. While the former can be interesting, it never loses the quality of being retold. When you tell about something you’ve experienced on your own, you give your readers something they cannot find anywhere else. And these experiences make for awesome promotional posts, like this famous blog post by Peter Shankman.
The Four Pillars of Business Founding Stories
Every good business-founding story, however short, should contain these four key points:
1. The problem in need of solving – what led the founders to the idea of starting a business. Usually, it is a problem in the outside world. For example, BrewDog brewery founders tell that they decided to start out because they were bored of industrially brewed beer dominating the UK market and decided to brew their own.
2. Insight – perhaps we can solve this problem?
3. How it all started – how the founder began to work on the solution of the problem (usually it involves pointing out the busines’ humble beginnings)
4. The mission – how the business owners see their mission and relationship with customers.
Of course, in reality, things are much more complicated – but your readers don’t need to know this. Make the story short and snappy, add a few details to make it more credible and personal but don’t overload it with all the little annoyances the company had to go through when it made its baby steps.
Help the Business’ Clients Identify Themselves with It
According to psychologist Robert Cialdini, we tend to trust and like people who are like us or whom we imagine being so. Whether you try to improve your credibility with your readers or want them to feel attraction to the business you promote, you should work hard on showing yourself and those you want to sympathize with as just like them. Mention how you deal with problems they are likely to have, say things they are likely to think.
Any Business Has a Good Story
If the business you promote has seemingly nothing exciting or even mildly interesting about it, it simply means that you have to dig deeper. Find something that makes it unique. It may be an amusing origin story, or a striking contrast between its current state and humble beginnings, or the founder’s epiphany that led to its creation.
Once you’ve identified the four points mentioned above you already have a foundation for a story in your hands – it is just your job as a blogger to tell it in a fascinating and inspiring way.
Companies may spend thousands of dollars formulating stuffy and barely comprehensible ‘mission statements’ that are usually little more than a bunch of buzzwords. However, something as simple as telling a story about how the business came to be or how it overcame some adversity is almost universally a more efficient effort at promotion – and a blogger who can put it in the right words can bring a lot of value to their client.