Let me tell you a story …

Who, on reading that, doesn’t feel themselves start to engage?

Everyone loves a story. Right from childhood, hearing about the adventures of someone else excites and interests us. We can identify with the characters, we enjoy their trials and tribulations vicariously, and we learn from their experiences (I still eat parsley if I’m feeling slightly sick – just as Peter Rabbit did after eating too many carrots).

Story telling is a really powerful format for content – and it works in a whole range of formats.

How can you help me?

Sometimes, telling a story is a great way of explaining the benefits you bring. It has attracted the rather dull name of ‘case study’ in the business world (and has led to people writing in a similarly dry fashion as a result). But you are describing the ‘adventure’ of your troubled customer who has battled to find the perfect solution to their problem.

By relating your product or service to a specific case, people will grasp it more easily.

A word of warning, though. Do keep the focus on the customer – the hero of the story – rather than the technical ins and outs of what you do. Start with what their life was like before they met you, how you helped and what their life is like now.

If you are naming your customer, do be sure to get their permission (and, explicitly, to use their logo so you aren’t breaching copyright) and make sure they are happy about what you are planning to say.

What is it that you do?

If you don’t have a real case study to use, or you do something a bit different or harder to explain, then a series of fictional situations can be a good way to make things clear.

You can tell how ‘Cecil’ needed to find the perfect tie…

How ‘Gemma’ wanted her bridesmaids to wear dresses which were the exact same colour as the icing on her wedding cake…

How ‘Chris’ was crazy about Good Omens and wanted the same waistcoat as Martin Sheen…

If you decided to write a series of blogs or articles of this nature, it is worth making it clear that they are fictions. Start with ‘let me tell you a story…’ for example or add a footnote at the bottom that this is ‘based on real events’ or is ‘a typical example of how we help.’

And, never put these on your testimonials pages as if they are real. It is not okay to pass these case stories off as real.

Your own story

Never forget, when presenting and explaining your business, that how you came to do what you do is likely to be one of the most inspiring and engaging stories of them all. By explaining your journey and what led you to start your business can create a real connection with potential customers.

People buy people – so don’t be afraid to put your own story, with all its highs and lows, out into the world.

To get a better idea on how to generate great content ideas and turn them into working content for you, take a look at our online course Demystifying Content  which includes, as an added bonus, Cate’s own story of how she came to found Creative Words.

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