Often when we talk to entrepreneurs who would love to start with content marketing or blogging, they say something like
- we do not know what kind of content to publish
- we do not have so many interesting stories to tell
- why should people want to read what we have to say
- we are no writers (filmmakers, photographers, …)
Most of the time this is pure insecurity whether they are experts enough, interesting enough, good enough storytellers. But the truth is, most of the expert bloggers and marketers, have started out from a similar starting point. They did not have a long career of being a proficient writer before they started with blogging and they were no more expert in their field than most other humans are in their own business area.
They simply started telling stories. And believe me, there are many stories out there, which you can tell just as well and people will like to read your stories. To help you come up with some ideas and start out with your own storytelling, here are some examples of what kind of stories you could tell (and what stories other people tell).
Keep in mind, the stories, which will work best for you depend on what situation you are in, what audience you want to attract and what you want to achieve with your stories. And also keep in mind, the best stories which YOU can tell have your personality in them – so, do not be afraid to show it.
1) Tell how you solved problems other people might have too
This is a classic in blogging. Tell people how you overcame some difficulties and solved problems. Other people will be happy to learn from it. Of course, you do not want to talk about stupid mistakes. But there are many rather challenging situations many other people face just as you do. And these people will be happy to learn how you coped with the difficulties.
An example of this kind of story is Jonathan’s article from the end of last year when we moved this blog from Tumblr to WordPress and Jonathan wrote a post on how to do this.
2) Give your opinion on some current “hot topics” in your area of interest
In most business areas there are “hot” topics many people are talking about. These serve well as the fundamentals of a good story. You can collect some takes by others on this and either add your opinion or raise some questions that are not yet answered. On your blog you are allowed to have an opinion, simply keep it polite and do not attack people.
We show you how to use your content and stories to grow a social audience, traffic and leads from social media in the ebook “The Social Traffic Code!”
3) Relate how you built (or are building) your business
No, I am not talking about publishing some business secrets, and I am also not talking about the bragging big number stories, I can read that on TechCrunch. I am talking about the everyday life of an entrepreneur, and this is interesting to other entrepreneurs. It is a fact. It motivates and inspires to hear how other people struggle and solve the problems we all experience on our way to success.
4) Give your clients a voice
If you are in doubt, that you have enough stories to tell for yourself, why not give your customers or business partners the opportunity to speak up?
This is not necessarily about your clients working with you and how satisfied they are with your work. That would get quite boring if you have one customer after the other praising you.
This is about showing your audience a glimpse of the people you work with, the variety of people and businesses that use your work will definitely help to build trust. If your clients do not want to create the stories themselves, you could simply set up a couple of interview questions and ask about their business, what they do, what current challenges they face and what their big plans for the future are.
You could mention your relationship to them in a short description of them which you add to the story.
5) Give your employees a voice
Why not let your employees present themselves and the job they do for you on your blog? Show how diverse your team is, how diverse the jobs are which they do – you can even have the office dog or cat tell a typical day in the office story.
The German company Krones AG works a lot with stories from their employees. They use Social Media for recruitment purposes and even let interns and trainees tell how their job is evolving and maturing what they learned on the job and how they get to know more and more parts of the company.
6) Tell how you tested different solutions for a problem and why you chose the one you chose
This can be a kind of a product test you did to figure out which solution would be best for yourself. I, for instance, could have done a piece like that on accounting apps and why I chose the one I am currently using. (I did not write this because I guess my international audience is not overly interested in the drawbacks of German tax and accounting rules). But we did write some articles on Social Media tools and why we love them.
5) Tell how you solved your client’s problems
Again this is not about bragging about how your solution is the best. Rather it might be interesting to learn how your product can be used in a not so obvious way and how you helped your client figure out the best way to do so. Often these kinds of stories serve well to build trust not only in your products but also in your willingness to help your clients when they are facing some challenges.
Simply keep in mind that you should not talk about your products and services all the time – that is the story that gets boring to your audience first.
7) Answer questions with your storytelling
This is something we try to do with a lot of our blog posts: We listen to people we meet and then we answer some of the most frequent questions that come up in these talks with our blog posts. Again, it is totally legit to answer questions about your products and services. But your stories should not focus on that. Rather answer questions like: How did you do that? Have you experienced these problems, how did you cope?
Good stories are everywhere: Keep your eyes and ears open
The truth is, once you start telling stories and thinking about what you could tell next, you will be much more open for ideas when they cross your path. Some of the best-liked posts I have written resulted from talking to other entrepreneurs at some events, listening to talks in conferences – and reading what other people publish. Often the problem is not finding ideas, often it is simply sitting down and starting to tell the story.
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