I had someone contact me recently to help with her writing. She had a gorgeous purpose-driven business, professional branding and brochures. I’d read her marketing content so far and it was obvious she could write. But, while informative, the copy lacked colour. It provided the necessary information, but it was short on personality.
The client was scared of putting too much of herself into her writing. She was scared no one would care about her and her story. So she kept her content impersonal and ‘professional.’ The result? It failed to engage.
So many business owners are scared to reveal much of themselves and their story when it comes to their business writing. And I can totally identify with this. I much prefer to tell other people’s stories than my own. But, as editor of Inspired Magazine, I’ve come to realise how much power there is in your sharing your story.
But isn’t it egotistical to rave on about myself, you may ask? Shouldn’t my writing be about my client and what’s in it for them? And these are fair concerns. People are interested in what’s in it for them.
I believe the difference between a story that interests people and one that bores them is the intent behind it. This is important so let me repeat it – the difference between a story that interests people and one that bores them is the intent behind it. If you’re sharing your story to help others, you’re far more likely to capture attention. If you’re sharing it to stroke your ego, you’ll lose them.
So what is your intent in telling your story? Why do you want to share your story?
To tease this out of you, you may wish to try a free writing exercise that we cover in my six-week online course, Authentic storytelling for purpose-driven solopreneurs.
Take out a journal or open a new document on your computer and start a free writing exercise. Set your timer for 10 minutes and make yourself continue writing for that time. Ask yourself, what is my intent in telling my story? Why do I want to tell it? Free write whatever comes into your head as your answer. Dig deep. Turn off your inner editor. Let whatever comes out, come out. Continue to ask why to go beyond your first answer.
Here’s an example I used in telling the story of why I started Inspired Magazine.
Why do I want to tell the story behind why I started Inspired? So people will understand why I produce it. Why do I want them to understand? So they’ll want to read it. Why do I want them to read it? So I can continue to write about inspiring people. Why do I want to write about inspiring people? Because it makes me feel amazing. Why does it make me feel amazing? Because I feel so pumped by what’s possible. Why do I feel so pumped? Hmm this one’s harder. I think because I get the feeling if they can do it, maybe I could do it too. And why do I want to do it? Because I want to be the best version of myself. And why do I want to be the best version of myself? So I can do my bit of good for the world. Why do I want to do good for the world? Because it makes me feel good. Why? I don’t know. It just does. It feels like it’s what I’ve been put into the world to do. Why? Perhaps because telling these stories may inspire others. Why would it inspire others? Because they’ll see what’s possible in other people’s stories. And why would I want to do that? So everyone’s living up to their full potential. Why would they live up to their potential? Because they’ll see that it’s possible. Ok, I’m now starting to run out of whys, or I’m starting to repeat myself, so I’ve discovered the why behind telling the story behind inspired – because I want to encourage people to live up to their potential.
What comes up for you? Continue asking why until you find yourself repeating yourself, or until you’ve got nowhere else to go. What comes up may just surprise you. What you’re left with can form the key message to telling your story. It’s the thing you should reveal about why you do what you do. Be sure to inject it into your business storytelling – whether it’s your about me page on your website, a marketing brochure, a business bio or a blog post. Happy storytelling.