Telling stories is a great way to connect with your audience, and for life coaches, business stories illustrate the struggles and successes we all share.
It doesn’t matter if you are on stage, teaching a class, writing an email to your list, recording a podcast or writing a blog post. Business storytelling could and should should play a big part of your content creation and marketing strategies. But how do you come up with those stories in the first place? Here are seven tips to help you keep the business story ideas flowing so you can find just the right one for just about any situation.
Share A Recent Encounter
Often the best story are happening to you and all around you. Think about a client who is successful in her achievements? Can you tell her story as an example to newbies? What is the best coaching conversation you ever had? Or which complement from a client meant the most to you? And why was that story most meaningful?
Recall A Conversation
Conversations offer great story ideas. Without going into too many details or sharing too much information about the person you were talking to, what was the underlying message of the conversation in your storytelling. Example: One parent, who called me, was frustrated her their three-year-old daughter was always singing, dancing, and seemed “overly” playful. The daughter was a total contrast to their eldest daughter, aged ten, who mom described as most like the parents. Parents and older daughter liked to read, study the stars, read science-type magazines. The younger child shared few, if any, interests with the parents and older sister. I shared with the parents how there are different temperaments, and because the older sister was an intellectual, didn’t mean that the second child would be of the same temperament. No, the younger child was the talkative, creative, dancing ballerina.. They got it, and I didn’t hear from them until ten years later. Now older daughter is thirteen and younger daughter is six. Mom called to share how the knowledge of temperaments changed their lives. They started offering the younger child outlets for her dancing body and creative brain, as they offered the older child classes and experiences in which her strengths could flower.
Dig Deep and Share A Childhood Memory
Childhood memories are another great source of story ideas. The memories that stick with us from way back when are often the ones that taught us a valuable lesson or had a significant impact on who we are today. Think back to what you remember from your childhood and how you can tie those memories into what you’re doing today.
Pay Attention To Your Surroundings
Stories are going on all around us. Pay attention to the situations and conversations people have around you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how many story ideas you’ll get just by paying attention your surroundings. Example: I went to the hospital when I felt sharp pains crackle cross my chest. Heart attack? Not sure! Go to bed or go to the emergency room? Go to the hospital. Over five hours, I was admitted, assigned a bed, tested, and the doctor finally arrived in the early morning to tell me the news.
“You have a pulmonary embolism.”
“And that is….?”
“You have a blood clot in your lungs.”
Carry A Little Notebook
We’ve established that there are conversations around us from which we draw a story theme. as you observe those stories, which are memorable that would be a good fit with the content or product. Stick a little notebook and pen in your purse, briefcase or jacket. Keep it with you and jot down short notes about ideas, thoughts, conversations and situations that have storytelling potential.
Listen To Your Family and Friends
Pay attention to your loved ones. They are sharing stories with you on a regular basis. Listen to your kids when they come home from school. Sit down for an after-school snack, and ask them about their day. You’ll have an almost never-ending supply of storytelling material. Listen with rapt attention to feel their emotions and exemplify those feelings in your story, as they are genuine and believable. Keep looking for new ideas and keep telling those stories to grow your business, connect with you readers and make the sale.
In copywriting, you know it is important to grab your reader’s attention. What better way to do that than with a good story? But the process doesn’t stop there. Good storytelling can not only get your prospect’s attention; it can move them, compel them and leave them ready to buy, but only if done right.
Your story has to support your end goal.
- What are you trying to sell?
- What is your story’s goal?
- Do you want the readers to buy a product, sign up for a service, or become a coaching client?
- Make sure that whatever the sales are, the story is relevant and illustrates how the purchase will benefit the reader.
You’ll only close the deal when there’s a natural progressing from the first headline to the final call to action. If the story doesn’t support the product, you’ll grab the readers’ attention and entertain them, but you’re not generating customers. Fcus on copywriting as if you were sharing concepts or suggestions like this
- What is the problem
- How easy is this solution?
- Which action is needed to learn or do the action?
- Why this is the best action?
- What your customer gains from this solution?
Your copywriting focuses the story in steps, like flowing from the bottom step, and up to the top, where they see the big picture or goal. Help readers follow you through the narrative. You don’t want to risk losing readers along the way.
- Write your copy, then do something else for a while.
- Come back and read it out aloud.
- Are you able to tell if it flows well and makes sense.
- Will the reader like what happened in the sequence of events?
At the same time, it’s important to keep the story to the point. It’s easy to go into “storytelling mode” and go on and on about a point. As you edit, pay attention to areas where you repeat yourself. Do you need three examples to illustrate one point? Pick the strongest one and ditch the other two
There’s a fine line between too much information and so little that you lose your reader along the way or force him to jump to conclusions. Editing your story will help you refine it, until it fits the purpose of the copy perfectly. Go through it line by line and ask yourself
Does this contributes to the overall storyline?
Does this move things forward?
Is the story too shallow, too much fluff and filler?
Throughout the writing and editing process keep your end goal front and center. By paying attention at all times to what you’re selling in the end, you’ll spin a tale that is sure to lead the reader in a straight line to the order button.
This article focuses on customer stories. Let your customers do the storytelling for you at least some of the time.
Look at customer stories as a way to get powerful marketing materials. Your customers’ stories and testimonials can be the most powerful tools in your marketing toolbox.
Start with compelling stories your clients already share with you – their testimonials. Share your customer’s testimonials anywhere on your site.
- Work them into your sales pages.
- Set up a dedicated page for testimonials.
- Add a testimonials at the bottom of your email.
- Sharing customer stories on social media is another powerful strategy.
If you have a decent client base and your product is good, you’ll likely see more and more testimonials as you start to use them. Current customers read them and decide whether to share a story of their own.
Pay attention to the emails you receive. If your readers are anything like mine, they’ll write in explaining their situation and ask if the product or service is right for them. Use questions in your frequently asked questions emails and web page. Even if the situations aren’t 100% the same, your target audience will be in similar situations and have the same issues.
Encourage your customers to talk about how they feel about what you have to offer.
- Has the information been helpful?
- Has that course on writing and publishing Kindle books inspired them to launch a series of how-to books?
- Showcase how clients can use your products and services. They are some of the best stories you can share.
- Share stories or articles that offer personal social proof.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to share their stories. Is one successful client willing to share their success on your blog? . As you start to publish some of these customer stories, share them with your customer base and ask if anyone else would like to share. Eventually, you’ll have a nice little collection of stories submitted by your clients who will not only help you market your products and services, but also show that you’re the genuine person that’s making a difference in other people’s lives.
Storytelling is a great way to connect with your audience. Professional speakers use it all the time, but it works just as well online. Take a look at five ways you can start to tell stories that will help you get closer to your readers, build a relationship with them and earn their trust.
On Your Blog
One of the easiest ways to get started is on your blog. Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. Share what’s going on in your life, or write stories from days gone by as they apply to your niche and your content.
- Why did I start my business? Share the story of how you wanted to be paid for your natural strengths like listening or planning.
- What unique office or service can I offer? She the story of your passion for helping others?
For example, if your brand and your online business are about personal finance and reducing consumer debt, share how you were able to pay off $15,000 in credit card debt in under two years. Talk about the sacrifices you and your family made or how it has made your life easier today .
- What interesting discovery did you make about yourself?
- What made you want to close your business, and you had to struggle to know the next step?.
Via Social Media
Social media is another great place for storytelling. Get social, be personal and don’t be afraid to share what’s going on with you and your life.When I started this blog over ten years ago, all article were business oriented. Today, you don’t have to mind those rules. Personalization is practically required for you to stand out, stand up, be seen and flourish.
Going back to our previous example, you could post how much fun your family is having at a free concert in a local park. The tool here is to ASK…either ask your followers to share their best free entertainment tips or point them to a resource on your site where you share your top 5 tips to do on the weekend without spending a dime. The pint is ask for a response of some kind.
In Your Email Messages
Start with your core message and your CTA (Call to action) for your email. Then come up with a story you can tell them that goes along with the action you want your readers to take.
- Do you want them to click through to content on your website?
- Are you making them an offer for a new video course?
- Use the story to get them interested in the topic or show them how learning what you’re teaching in your class can either help them or hurt them (if they don’t know what’s in the course).
- You can also use storytelling in an email to open a dialog with your audience. Open up and get a little personal and they will follow suit. It’s a great way to get to know your target audience better.
On Your Sales Pages
Stories are a great way to hook your readers and get them to read about the product you have to offer. Turn to storytelling to come up with a strong headline and intro for your sales pages and sales videos.
In Your Products
Last but not least, let’s talk about using storytelling in your digital products. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing eBooks, creating coaching programs, or recording video courses, stories are a great way to illustrate your point. They make it easier for your students, clients, and customers to understand concepts and make them more memorable.
Storytelling is a great tool when you’re marketing online. You…
Connect with your audience.
Share a message without sounding too salesy.
Open your heart to allow your readers to know, like, and trust you.
Offer a product or service that fits your client profile.
Start With The End In Mind
Every story has a purpose or a moral if you will. Start by writing down the moral of your story. If a moral or purpose aren’t clear yet, then start with a simple goal.
What is the purpose of your story?
What do you want your listeners to do after you’ve finished the story?
What action do you want them to take?
Once you know the goal, it’s easier to craft the story.
Know Your Audience
You know what you want to accomplish with your story. Now think about your audience. You need a good grasp of patterns, habits, motivations, responses, preferences.
How do you do this? Through administering in your coaching session a Core Temperament Style Inventory. The purpose of this test is to discover your inherent traits, emotions, stress patterns, learning preferences and your orientation to living.
It doesn’t matter if you’ll use your story in a business presentation, a blog post, an email or a sales page. You need to have a good grasp on who your audience is to ensure you can tell a story that’s meaningful to them. Think about what you share with your audience. Those are the experiences you want to pull from for your stories.
Make It Personal
Don’t be afraid to make it personal. Once you find that connection, it should be relatively easy to come up with a story based on facts and events from your real life. Using real life stories helps you make a deeper connection with your audience. You’ll sound more authentic and more believable.
Why is this important? It helps you build trust with your readers, and they will be more likely to take you up on any product recommendations you make.
Make It Memorable
The best stories are the ones we can hear and then remember well enough to share. To make a story memorable make it short and to the point, but also try to evoke emotion. We remember things better when our feelings get involved. Surprise your readers, make them laugh, or bring them to tears with your stories. Either scenario will make sure they remember the story along with you and your brand.
Practice, Practice, Practice
This last tip may be the most important. While we all have a little storyteller inside us, telling stories to market our business isn’t something that comes naturally to us. The trick for getting good at it is to practice. Start writing and telling stories about anything and everything. Share your favorites with your audience and just keep at it.
The more you practice storytelling in your business, using the tips shared here, the better you’ll get. It’s a powerful tool to have and well worth the time and effort it takes to become an effective storyteller.
Stories work in marketing, and especially in coaching. Each parent you coach has their personal story and their parent story. You will find the different story themes in commercials and in the way brands present themselves. Storytelling is especially helpful in parent coaching and family coaching. Each person has their story, their version of how they happened.
Sharing and telling stories work well for online marketers.
The hardest part of telling a story is figuring out what to say. It’s not easy to come up with a good storyline when you’re staring at a blank screen. The solution is to stick with one of the tried and true basic story plots and tweak from there. Here are three of the most popular ones.
1. Good Vs. Evil
1. Let’s start with the big good vs. evil theme. Most fairy tales use this storyline as do fiction books like Harry Potter series. You’ll also see in television programs that the story line follows a pattern.
You accept a challenge
You face adversity In coaching, the adversary may be a quality in a client to name and tame, or perhaps you have had a personal problem with procrastination that you want to reprogram for better business success.
2. A second pattern is a transformation. Similar to the previous, this plot features an inner change, instead of changing the outer form. You may find this theme often in your clients. You may have your personal transformation story.
Here is an example of my conversion story:
I had waited too long to seek treatment for a growing, painful condition with my right ovary. I thought I could handle it, but I had no clear understanding of the problem. My new, young, inexperienced gynecologist explained to me that the ovary had turned in on itself and was necrotic, in short, dead. She scheduled my surgery immediately with her professor, also a surgeon.
After surgery, I died in the clinical sense. I had closed my eyes and instantly opened my eyes in brilliant white light in which I floated. I was delighted to be there, experiencing the transition with consciousness. The experience made evident that I was to “take on a new task,” explained the voice. The result was my formulation of the Academy for Coaching Parents International which took about three years to get off the ground.
2. The Reluctant Hero Returns
This storyline should sound familiar too. The boy leaves home, builds his fortune while he’s away, or learns something important. Then the hero comes back to share the discovered wealth or knowledge. Along the way, he might just save the day. Does that sound like a Western or romantic comedy you’ve seen lately?
With this storyline, you can share your personal story of how you discovered your chosen niche. Maybe you’re the gluten-free expert because your child was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and you and your family had to find a way to live with it.
3. Rags To Riches
This storyline also shouldn’t come as a surprise. You’ve seen it in a million forms from Cinderella to Shark Tank. The idea is to share how you went from nothing to where you’re at today. It’s the quintessential American story.
This storyline works well when you’re sharing how you’ve made your money online. If you’re marketing to marketers or business to business, this is the storyline you’ll use more than any other. The story line is not limited to the “making money'” market. Tweak the same storyline and share:
1. how you found more time in your day,
2. how you organize your office or your writing,
3. how you found your faith, your courage, or your self-esteem.
Any journey of growth could become a “rags to riches storyline.
What is your story? Which category for storytelling best suits you? Please answer in the comments below so I can learn what stories you would like to read.