Tell your stories, influence your customers

Stories are compelling. Stories are how people passed along knowledge, lore and culture for thousands of years before the written word. If you have children, you know how compelling stories can be: There are some stories kids can’t hear enough. (I used to know “The Little Engine that Could” by heart, I read it so many times to my son when he was little.) Even longer books keep kids engaged: “Wolf Story” is a chapter book I read dozens of times to Evan, then later to his sister.

 

Or think about a dinner party: Who’s the most entertaining guest? The story teller, the one who spins the yarns while everyone listens and laughs.

Whether you’re marketing your small business, freelancing as a Website copywriter or SEO copywritier, or focused on blogs as marketing tools, you should be telling stories every chance you get.

 

It’s part of what I call Indirect Marketing. The soft sell. The nuance. The influence. You tell a story about, say, a customer, and other potential customers will relate to that customer’s story much more than they’ll relate to you talking about you.

 

Here’s an example from the University of Washington Foster School of Business Web site, telling a story about how one person is involved at the corporate level to get other C-level executives interested in getting involved with the school too. The story is about Bill Ayer, CEO of Alaska Airlines, and his personal and business involvement with the school. By telling his story, we’re encouraging other execs to picture themselves there too, playing a similar role and getting a similar benefit.

 

Stories happen all around you all the time. You just have to get your antenna tuned to notice them. Then, guess the best place for your stories? Your Web site definitely, maybe your email newsletter if you do one, but your blog is the best place for your stories. Your stories can start there, in your blog, where it’s easy to post them. Then they can morph into Web content, printed content, an article in your email newsletter, etc. But if you’re blogging and constantly scratching your head, while at the same time using blogs as marketing tools, start telling your stories!

 

And you’ll be a hit at the next dinner party too.

p.s. Yes, I wrote the  Bill Ayer story after interviewing him. Delightful person and the only person I’ve ever met who talks faster than I do!

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