How To Create A More Powerful Backstory
Sharing the story of how you got to where you are today puts a unique stamp on who you are and how you figured things out, and it also creates, very importantly, an opportunity to start building trust with your audience.
Have a think, is there somewhere you regularly signpost people to so they can find out who you are and how you got to now?
This sort of thing doesn’t have to be solely focused on an ‘About Us’ page. It’s an opportunity for thinking about all the various touchpoints where you could offer people the chance to find out more about you.
Back stories are important in the You Are The Media community:
- Most people know me for You Are The Media. For new connections that want to know a bit more about YATM there is this scrapbook page that goes through the years and the milestones; it’s somewhere new subscribers are always signposted to.
- When people join the You Are The Media community, I make a point of checking out their ‘About’ pages to find out more about them.
In this article we’ll look at how you can give yourself a powerful back story that in and of itself lends meaning to everything you do. As Mark Schafer recently said (1st April at the YATM Month of Learning launch), “use every single interaction as an opportunity to tell a story that is RITE (Relevant, Interesting, Timely, and Entertaining), eventually people will share your story with others.’
Why Is It Important?
Taking a step away from your business, let’s talk about you. The way to look at it, is this: how does your About page contribute to creating and developing trust? How do you make sure someone knows they made the right decision in getting to know you? Sometimes all it takes is taking this sort of “from the outside looking in” perspective to tighten up the copy on your LinkedIn bio or website About page.
The You Are The Media story – how we got from 2013 to 2021 – reminds people that a lot has happened but that it’s all had a flow, constancy and trajectory to it.
It’s there to put people’s minds at rest, offer assurance that they’ve came to the right place and communicate how much work has gone into building the community and its knowledge base. It’s similar to when people come over to your house for the first time and you make them feel comfortable and at home. You’re essentially bringing them up to speed. With those joining the YATM community, you’re filling them in on what they’ve missed out on so far and also promising that there’s plenty more good stuff just around the corner!
A backstory is more than just communicating who you are and how you help. It’s more than talking about yourself only in the context of the value you provide to others.
Perhaps you are all too familiar with About pages that:
😳 Go heavy on the Services offered
😳 Have people referring to themselves in the third person and hiding behind company names
😳 Lack any sense of humility and fun
😳 Go straight into business mode and talk about the people they work with
😳 Go all out on their successes and the queue of people wanting to work with them
When you look to tell others a bit more about you and the hard work it has taken to get to today, remember that you are not producing an advert. It’s a snapshot of someone with something relatable they want to share with others.
How You Can Frame It
You don’t have to feel constrained to just writing or thinking of your back story as something that only belongs on an About page with a traditional About page format.
Look back at what you’ve done as a ‘living’ scrapbook, something you’re happy to share with others. If you can visualise what you have done and your journey, even better, it lends an extra element of interest to what you’re saying. I liked the idea, for YATM, of producing a timeline – this approach also meant it could be easily added to as the months and years progressed.
Everything that we do has a beginning. For instance, one of the reasons You Are The Media started was that I wanted to figure out a better way of getting, and keeping, people’s attention.
Brief moments of attention could of course be achieved by spending money on one-off happenings such as advertising or sending prospects cupcakes, but I knew there had to be a better way of keeping people in the loop and letting prospects know I existed!
Letting people see the steps you took and documenting that it was far from an easy journey can really help with making you more relatable and building that trusted relationship.
How You Can Do It
When it comes to building a more powerful back story, have fun and remember not to overcomplicate things.
Here are some pointers on what you should be communicating with your backstory:
Share why it was that you found yourself wanting to figure something out.
A good place to begin is putting a time and a place on when you started wanting to dig deeper and why. Did something happen to prompt it or had it just been an itch you’d been wanting to scratch?
Make the most of that ‘spark’ moment.
Did it feel like there was a moment when everything aligned and you recognised there was a space for what you wanted to do? This moment can bring deeper meaning to your story in a very powerful way.
Define what it is that you stand for.
There has to be something credible and within reach that you always come back to, no matter how long you’ve been exploring a particular area. For instance, for both the consultancy (WATM) and community (YATM) side of my businesses, I believe that anyone can build an audience in a place they own, where people will come to trust them and want to spend time (and money) with them.
Share what is relatable and your shortcomings.
If you come across ordinary, everyday experiences that can present you as ‘one of us’ that can only help make you feel genuine and highly relatable to others. For instance, on the YATM ‘About’ scrapbook, some items relate to ‘fails’ such as deleting the database and also being forced to cancel events due to lack of interest. It can help to be transparent in an environment, particularly in B2B, where others are happy to focus solely on self-congratulation.
Make it always sound like you.
If you want to create deeper connections with others, you must not disappoint when it’s time to interact. If you want to come across as relatable, make it sound personal, speaking in a voice that is always your own; like you’d be if someone came across you in the everyday.
Share why coming over to your side is a wise choice.
You have every right to share the proof – let people know the good stuff they may have missed out on but also demonstrate how now is still a fantastic time to get involved. For instance, I share pictures of people coming together in a physical space on the YATM About section https://www.youarethemedia.co.uk/about/ so they can see for themselves how popular our events have been in the past.
Prove that you care.
Rather than just being another glorified sales page, your About page should help people recognise that your journey is one that is ongoing. Like them, you’re not the finished article but someone who is a constant ‘work in progress.’
Having a place to bring people to, where you share your back story in a personable, highly relatable way, builds trust.
This place can then become an extension of your personality and will help you in a number of ways: It becomes a way of showing people who don’t know you, who you are and what you stand for, as well as mapping out the direction you’re going in.
Your goal is to pack a punch, so when people understand your back story, they made the right choice and are not going to go anywhere else.