Imagine yourself in front of your laptop with the dreaded blinking cursor on a blank screen. You’re working on creative content marketing your latest inbound marketing campaign and you want to spice it up with a good story or two. A good story helps your prospects live vicariously through your current customers and experience what it might be like to work with you and your team. A great story leaves your readers feeling like they have walked through the fire and have come out the other side changed. So you are going to write a good story.
That’s the situation I face four or five mornings a week writing the blogs for our own site and for our client sites. If I am faced with a blank screen, I go back to fundamentals. One trick is to remind myself of the various kinds of stories I could tell.
Creative Business Stories Feature Four Kinds of Content
- The stories your customers tell. This kind of story is probably most familiar to you, and is my first choice when creating a blog post that needs to cast a clear vision for what it is like to work with your company. Whenever I meet with a client I keep a notebook nearby and listen for any interesting stories they tell. Ironically, these often pop up in the first few moments and the last few moments of a conversation, the kind of small talk that isn’t usually the point of the meeting and can often go unnoticed unless you are listening closely. To use a client story, paraphrase and edit ruthlessly, unless you are creating a direct testimonial for a piece of content. I try to write in my own voice and use the story to illustrate whatever information I am conveying to my prospects. The best way to think about client stories is to imagine how a preacher might use it for a sermon illustration. Details can and should be left out…find the underlying principle.
- Stories about your company. This is a tricky kind of content to use well! The last thing you want to do is make the post all about you. Remember your brand archetype — your customer is always the hero, not your own company. So tell stories about your company that educate your clients and prospects on working with your products or services. Tell about your company legends. And above all, show your personality! Let your prospects feel they’ve had a conversation with you.
- Stories about your industry. Share any interesting developments about your industry in your creative content plan. Your business needs to position itself as a trend and thought leader. Over time, you will create a library of industry expertise that positions you as an expert with your prospects and with Google search optimization.
- Stories from inspirational leaders. I once heard Donald Miller say that when we are scrolling through our FaceBook feeds, we’re really hunting for a good story. We’re filtering out the noise and searching for the stories that hook us. Give your readers what they want. Use great stories from business leaders, mentors and even celebrities to educate and entertain your readers. Allow me to hop on my favorite soapbox for a moment: the best way to find those stories is to read voraciously. Read widely, in and out of your specific field. When you find a great story, make a note in Evernote or wherever you keep your business research. OK…I’m climbing down off my soapbox.
Writing a business blog is easily best way to attract prospects to your business site and educate them as they enter the process of considering your product or services. This short chart can help you create the specific content your prospects need as they progress through the buyer’s journey.
Take a minute to download the Content Mapping Chart and keep it handy as you plan your editorial calendar.