When Deborah first came in to my Facebook community and introduced herself, she told a story. I've always known that stories are important - that stories are a way to connect to an audience, and that stories are important for business owners. Deborah's story clearly did all those things because the response was incredible. People wanted to know more about her, people wanted to follow her to her own group.
She definitely sold her own product with that post and I wanted to have her on the podcast to talk more about storytelling because I think all business owners need to incorporate in more into their communications.
Who is Deborah?
Deborah Ager guides her clients through the process of finding the right words and using them in the right places to get more clients. She’s called a business muse, copywriter, marketing consultant, and business storyteller. She has 15+ years of marketing and copy experience for billion-dollar organizations, multimillion-dollar companies, and for small business owners—and with successes at each. She believes in serving those who aim to improve humanity. She lives in the Washington, DC area and is founder of Radiant Media Labs and host of a weekly free training on using words to grow your business.
What’s your story?
If you’re having a hard time finding clients, or are struggling to fill your funnel, the key to your success could be in the story of you and your business. Even if you don’t enjoy writing, or don’t believe you’ve had any interesting experiences, you have stories in you that, once shared, can help you attract your ideal customers.
Why does storytelling work?
A good story is compelling, peaks interest, and teaches people something. When you develop stories around your experiences in business that help people understand who you are and what you do, it helps your prospective customers sit up and pay attention.
What should you talk about?
Back in high school, we learned that a story had three basic parts to it: the introduction, or building of the action, the climax, and the denouement, or ending. This kind of story doesn’t translate well to the business world.
According to Deborah, a great story is a 6 part process:
1) Be clear on your audience
Who do you want to work with? This is a super important step when deciding what details to include in your story.
The more you know your target audience and what they like, want and need, the more you can create stories that speak directly to them. This means you’ll attract more of the people you want to work with, and fewer of the people that aren’t a great fit.
Pick a few of your favourite clients and make a list of the things that they have in common. What are they interested in? What could you include in a story that would really resonate with them? The more stories you tell them that really connect, the more potential clients will feel that you’re a person that understands where they’re coming from.
2) Be clear on what you do
Are you sure that your prospective client is clear on what it is that you do? How do you stand out from the pack? How are you different, better?
3) Be clear on why you do it
What are your beliefs? If you’re not sure what exactly you believe in, take a pen and paper and free write a page starting with “I believe”. If you let yourself just write continuously without stopping, you might just experience a breakthrough about yourself that can attract people with similar beliefs.
4) Include a struggle
People want to know that you’ve struggled. Don’t assume that appearing perfect will make people want to work with you. Easy might be desirable, but it sure isn’t interesting. You might write about a past business fail, a transformational process, or a problem you fixed that helped in your own business. If a prospective client sees that you’ve overcome the same struggles they’re having, they’ll know that you’re the right person to help them.
5) Add an element of surprise
People like intrigue and excitement, remember to bring in something that keeps things interesting to hold people's attention.
6) Add a satisfying ending
We want a solution to the problem and something that demonstrates that you've arrived in a place that your audience wants to be. Make sure not to leave people hanging - give them what they want in the conclusion.
Where do you want your prospective client to go next? You can include a call to action, a link to a freebie, or an invitation to the next step.
How much should you share?
You might be nervous about sharing personal info, or you might worry that sharing too many of your quirky qualities will push people away. Use words that are real and true for you and if someone doesn’t resonate with what you’re saying, that’s ok! If someone can’t accept you for who you are, you probably don’t want to work with them anyway.
Some people are totally ok with their lives being an open book, but others prefer to keep their private lives private. It comes down to deciding how much you’re comfortable with putting out there. Operate by your own rules, but err on the side of caution. Remember, once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.
What if you’re overwhelmed by creating content?
Storytelling can be a lot of fun, but people think they have to spend all day and night creating content. Work on small pieces of writing and don’t let it overwhelm you. You might want to start with a “safe” story like your business origins story and go from there. You can also find ways to repurpose your content to make it easier to create later on. Take baby steps—the better you get at it, the more you’ll enjoy it.
Start connecting to your audience through storytelling:
Download Deborah's blueprint help you build your brand/business origin story. It takes you through her 6 step process to produce your very own brand story!
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