Everybody Writes: How to Tell Your Business Story

This Old New Business Podcast with Jeff KorhanThis is Episode 09 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

Ann Handley is a household name in the world of business marketing, especially with respect to creating valuable content that engages customers with a business or brand.

Using her new book as the foundation of our conversation, we bring writing down to a ground level, first by discussing why people have a complicated relationship with writing – and how to get over that.

We then explore the practice of writing, especially storytelling, and how businesses can use it to enhance their presence online.

Whether you are writing to express yourself in an email or on social media, or writing sales or marketing copy to grow your business, your happiness and success depends on your ability to write well.

So, join me and Ann as we discuss how to tell your business story.

Our Featured Guest: Ann Handley

Everybody Writes: How To Tell Your Business StoryAnn Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a training and education company. In addition to being named by Forbes as the most influential woman in social media, she is also a monthly columnist for Entrepreneur magazine, a member of the LinkedIn Influencer program, and the co-author of Content Rules – the all-time best-selling book on content marketing. Her new book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, will help your business tell its story.

Every Marketer is a Writer

Everybody that sends a text or email is a writer, but marketers in particular are responsible for using written words to convey a message to their community.

In both circumstances, Ann says it’s important to think before you write. What are you trying to say and how can you convey it in a way that is unique to you?

Our words are a stand in for who we are as individuals and companies. Therefore, it’s smart to build the habit of writing. Ann provides a simple formula for getting over any ideas you may have about your writing capabilities that may be holding you back.

  1. Show Up
  2. Practice
  3. Do the Work

Focus Your Story on the Customer

Storytelling is not so much an art as it is a practice of telling a true story well. In a business context, Ann says this is best accomplished by putting your business in the background and focusing on the customer.

Make the customer the hero of your business story. Tweet this

Your business story is not what your product or service does, but what it does for others. Therefore, the focus has to be on the customer. Consider the following for story ideas.

  • How does your product or service help people?
  • How does your product or service shoulder their burdens?
  • How exactly does your product or service exist in the real world?

Keeping your company in the background will help you tell your business story from the perspective of customers, and that helps potential buyers envision their circumstances within that story.

Choose Your Storytelling Channel

There are media channels that allow your business to tell its story in writing, video, audio, photos, and combinations of all of them, such as infographics that marry text with images. Everybody Writes: How to Tell Your Business Story

Whether your business is large or small, it has to choose the preferred channels of the community it serves. If your target audience is male adults from ages 18-34, YouTube is for you. That’s a recent statistic.

Do your research to determine the best channels to tell your business story. You’ll find lots of tips and advice for doing it well in Everybody Writes.

Lighting Round Tips and Advice

Ann’s Top Marketing Advice – Create content as the cornerstone of your marketing to tell your business story online.

Her Favorite Productivity Tip – Get up an hour earlier every morning. It’s a great time to write when your mind is fresh and there are no distractions.

A Quote that has Inspired Ann’s Success –  “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” E.B. White

Key Take-Aways

  • Think before you write, but when in doubt just plunge in and start writing.
  • Forget about marketing as you know it. Just tell better stories that make your buyer the hero and they will tell your business story for you.
  • You can connect with Ann on Twitter at @annhandley or at AnnHandley.com where you can sign up for her newsletter.
  • Learn more about Ann’s new book at EverybodyWrites.com
  • Visit Marketing Profs to learn more about this marketing education and training community.

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How is your business telling its story to engage customers and new buyers?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Marketing to the Worldview of Your Customers

Marketing to The Worldview of Your Customers

A worldview is a philosophy or set of values through which people interpret and interact with the world. Do you understand what this is for your ideal customers?

Communities align with businesses and brands that reaffirm their worldview. Tweet this

This is the power of your story.

The Market Shapes Your Story

When you launched your small business, you most likely tested the idea by sharing it with friends who eagerly supported you. In fact, a few of them probably became your first customers.

If your business delivered on its promise, those early customers shared your story with their friends, at least to the extent that they understood it.

What happened over time is their worldview shaped your story to become what it is today. This is a subtle, yet powerful aspect of marketing that many businesses miss.

Most businesses are so busy promoting the features of their latest products that they forget it’s what their customers are saying that matters most. That’s because their friends are listening to them. Having a digital marketing company in Honolulu, Hawaii backing your business with superior SEO can truly improve your revenue.

Learn Which Words Trigger a Response

If you are intentionally listening, the key words that your customers identify with will jump out of the conversation. They are embedded in their stories, and should be in yours too.

Study these words, because they become triggers for attracting others that share their worldview. They reveal what it is about your business that gets and keeps people associated with it. Most important, it gives you a better understanding of who they are as human beings.

  • What they say and do
  • How they think and feel
  • What they see and hear

Hopefully, that last one is your media, provided your media is congruent with the other media they engage with that reaffirms their views.

Therefore, commit to making a list of the media sources they follow. Then have your team subscribe to and get familiar with them.

Get Involved with Customers to Learn

A young couple that was a customer of my landscape business shared something with me that changed how we marketed and operated. They said: “You know what we like about you Jeff? You’re a neatnik.”

The word neatnik is an old-fashioned one you would not expect someone in their twenties to use, so that caught my attention. After translating neatnik to attention to detail, suddenly a lot of things became very clear.

We soon discovered our customers valued the little touches that personalized our company and the people within it. This included picking up the newspaper from the driveway when greeting the customer at the front door, and how our mowing crews neatly rolled up the garden hose instead of just tossing it into the bushes like so many other companies.

What is it about your business that resonates with how your customers see the world? Tweet this

This is what shapes the stories they tell about you and your business? I’ll give you a clue; it’s not quality.

Quality is a meaningless word these days. Reliability, simplicity, consistency, friendliness, and attention to detail are examples of what people talk about.

This is the new marketing. It’s what drives online and offline conversations.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

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