If You Tell Stories About Your Business You’re A Storyteller
To make our own titles, we don’t need anyone to quantify who we are.
Last week saw the new series of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off back on our screens and attracted record figures of 7.9 million viewers. It made me think, to bake you don’t need to be a baker, all you need to do is bake.
The talented enthusiasts saw a real mix of people, including a builder, a grandma and a 17 year old. Their craft was in creating beautiful looking cakes and by the looks of it there is an audience who champion those who weren’t born into entitlement and an abundance of related qualifications.
From Baking To Business
Moving things from a baking angle to one of a business perspective, engaging others with the content you create, you don’t need to be a respected author or a journalist to be a storyteller, all you need to do is tell stories.
Similar to those in this year’s Great British Bake Off and the contestants’ appreciation of timing, technical knowledge, presentation and creativity can be mirrored to those who adopt a content first approach. In it’s simplest form you are a storyteller if you can engage others, entertain and encourage a reaction. The media platforms (from your website to the social spaces) that you decide to be part of is the stage that you are about to take your place on and compete with those around you. The only way that you are going to stand out is the way that you compose yourself and look to captivate by making yourself essential to others. Lets show a quick example; I know which tweet I am more likely to click through to:
Storytelling is not a title we should adopt after years of study. For me it’s something that I am studying all the time and working on. I’ve come across challenges, hurdles, people and circumstances that have added fuel to my content stove and encouraged my learning. I am not a journalist or a copywriter, I just want to take on board the way I see the world from a business and marketing perspective and then execute.
The Audacity Of Entrepreneurs
In an age of entitlement many think they have the right to be revered. Coming back to our Bake Off contestants, these are people who may not be recognised on a professional level, but are driven by hard work, talent and determination. This is the key that doesn’t require qualifications, but an ongoing commitment to study and be prepared for the long term and to be continually present. We are in an age where the word ‘entrepreneur’ is used in casual abandonment, to build favour but within England and Wales in the three months to June 2014, the number of people who became insolvent shown a 5.1 increase on the same period in 2013 according to the Insolvency Service.
My argument is that to become storytellers, we can’t put ourselves on a pedestal built on content grown from self-congratulation; it’s more about training and being useful to others. I’d rather we looked at the word ‘blog’ a bit differently and as an ‘information source’ that tells stories which in turn provides value.
A Tear In The Eye
Lets not get nostalgic here and long for the days when traditional marketing (a host of paid for advertising, direct marketing and print) ruled. This type of marketing doesn’t have the same value as it once had. We don’t have the same patience and time that we had anymore. For instance, the days of going to the cinema and walking up to the box office has paved the way for ordering online and then having to queue at a machine to pick up your tickets. We just adapt to new ways of doing things.
This is why the role of storytelling is taking precedence; it’s a new way of doing things. It’s where we can be seen and for others to know what we stand for. We have never had the widespread opportunity before. People should not be scared by thinking of storytelling as a name (as said at the top of the article, it’s not a title), but to embrace the various challenges and characters that take shape on a regular basis and translate this in a way that relates to others in an entertaining way. Business doesn’t need to be straight laced with big words and product promotion. We’ve taken ourselves too seriously for too long and conformed to a world of 9 to 5 that has dictated how we have behaved.
The Way We Should Think Of Blogs
For instance, back to the word ‘blog’ that we have all become accustomed to. Doesn’t it sound a bit sedate when saying ‘I am going to write a blog.’ How about we change it and sound more human by saying ‘I am going to write a story.’ This helps us to become more inspired by the world around us and according to Mitch Joel, ‘inspiration is the ultimate survival mechanism’ have a read of his ‘how to be inspired at work’ article by clicking here.
We shouldn’t be scared of a label we haven’t necessarily become accustomed to, but lets start appreciating that with the rise of the social web and the democratisation of traditional media we need to treat the marketing and communications of our businesses a bit differently.
Starting To Round Up
To be a poet all you have to do is write some poems and this is the approach you need to make. We may not necessarily be a trained journalists, but we need to become better at sharing how we see the world, what we think is broken and how we can solve it. It is these steps we make to find a rhythm and to then become consistent with our views and the myriad of ways to present (and also repurposing content) that helps us build confidence and an audience who will stand by us.
Everyone and every business has the capacity to tell a story, let’s start becoming more fun, captivating and interesting to others. If the Great British Bake Off has seen its audience grow from 2 million to 7.9 million in four years by showcasing other peoples raw talents, time to build yours by demonstrating your know how and a slice from your world.
Learn how to become a storyteller by being able to tell stories for your business. Listen to some well known brands such as LV=, Organix, Jimmy’s Iced Coffee and Olives Et Al explain how they have told their story. Come along to the Once Upon A Time half day event in Bournemouth on Wednesday 10th September. Click here for more information and to reserve your space.
Cake image coutesy of Ann Larie Valentine