Recently, I visited one of my clients. I’ve always enjoyed popping in to the warm and inviting shop to take pictures and chat it up with the owner, if his schedule permits. I’ve often thought that my client looks like someone they called up from Central Casting when they needed a kindly shopkeeper. A half an hour spent listening to him talk with his customers as they come and go from the shop always inspires me with fresh content ideas for future blog posts.
I strolled around the shop, listening as he asked his customers questions, considered their answers carefully, and made recommendations on what he thinks they will like. More often than not, they left with a purchase tucked under their arm, I notice. The bell on the shop door jingled as another happy customer left, and I noticed that we had a lull for a moment. I decided to try once again to persuade him to blog on his website rather than have me do it for him. His response amused and vexed me.
“I wouldn’t know what to say,” he protested, shaking his head from side to side.
“You just spent five minutes telling your last customer why you started this business,” I reminded him. “You love to tell stories!”
“That’s different!” he said, not for the first time, and, I suspected, not for the last.
How to Tell Your Story
Blogging is really storytelling, and business owners should be the storytellers, but often there is a reluctance to unite the blog and the storyteller. Although I’m happy to help bridge the gap and blog for them, I think that the genuine voice of the storyteller is extremely valuable. I encourage my clients to write blog posts (or tell their own stories) themselves as they are able.
If you have a business that you are trying to promote through social media, I strongly recommend that you include a blog as part of your efforts. Your stories (or blog posts) drive people to your website and give you something original to tweet about and post on Facebook. This is the kind of content that gets your audience—existing and potential customers—to connect with you.
Remember what Mark Twain had to say about storytelling: “I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself.”
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you write your story:
- Your story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
- One or more interesting characters should populate your story.
- You should introduce a conflict of some sort and resolve it.
This article is a couple of years old, but it is one of the best I’ve found for explaining Storytelling in Business: The Elements of Story Structure.
My shopkeeper and I have come to an understanding. He still doesn’t blog, but he and I sit down more often to discuss the stories we are going to share on the blog. And he has started to look over what I write and make suggestions that sound more like his voice. I call that progress. I’ll unite the blog and the storyteller yet.