Have you heard of the late author Nora Ephron (who wrote the script for the film When Harry met Sally, as well as many books and articles)?
About a year ago, I watched a documentary about Nora and learnt that she was famous for the phrase: Everything is copy.
Basically, she felt that anything that happened in her life was fair game and it was okay to write about it (and she did, ruffling a few feathers along the way!)
I think Nora was ahead of her time, because I’m Generation X (born in the ’70s) and I was definitely raised to believe that you don’t wash your dirty laundry in public!
But things are changing.
I don’t agree with categorising age groups – we’re all just people – but the increase in blogging and influencer marketing, arguably dominated by millennials, shows a massive shift towards people sharing their personal story as part of their business brand.
And the trend for content and social media marketing is very much geared towards sharing valuable content and storytelling, with the mindset that people buy from people.
So how can you share your story as part of your brand in an *buzzword alert* authentic way?
The simple answer is by being you.
Because being you is your business’s USP.
Let’s be honest – there are thousands of people offering the same product or service – but they’re not you.
It all goes back to your why.
Why did you start your business? What life events led you to your industry? And how have your personal experiences shaped the way that you work?
You can tell your story in several ways:
- Choose a business name or logo that has a deep meaning connected to your story (you’ll need a professional designer for this).
- Publish your story on your About page on your website (keep it separate from your home page though, that does need to focus on your customer).
- Write relatable blogs that link your personal story with your business.
- Guest blog on other people’s websites or pitch to appear on their podcast.
- Refer to your story on your social media posts and make connections with people who have had similar experiences.
- Use tools such as Instagram stories to chat about your daily life and show what goes on behind the scenes of your business.
If, like me, you’re a private person, it doesn’t mean you have to disclose every tiny detail of your life. It’s up to you how much you share.
And your story doesn’t have to be tragic or unusual.
It may be as simple as wanting to work from home to be there for your children (in which case you’re part of a huge community).
Or maybe you have a fitness or educational goal that you want to share with the world.
If your story does have an element of tragedy, trauma or sadness, you don’t have to alienate friends, family and colleagues to tell it in an authentic way.
For example, if you started your business because you were made redundant, don’t word it in such a way that you sound bitter or critical of your previous employers (however tempting).
If you became self-employed after a relationship breakdown, don’t waste your time and energy slating your ex.
Focus instead on the positives and how you turned a difficult situation around to create a better life.
People love to see someone pull through difficult times. It gives them hope.
After all, if you’ve pulled through a low point in your life to build a business, maybe they can too.
If you come across as bitter or angry, it might work against you – use words to inspire people.
Ultimately, it’s all about communicating your true self in a way that isn’t fake.
Don’t be tempted to make something up – it doesn’t matter if your story isn’t out of the ordinary.
If it’s true, you can weave it through all the strands of your marketing and social media engagement, showing prospective customers the real person behind the business.
What do you think?
Are you drawn to business owners who let their guard down?
Or do you prefer clear boundaries between professional and personal lives?
I’d love to hear your comments.
Enjoy this blog? I do hope you found it enjoyable and valuable. Please feel free to share with your friends and colleagues.
Further reading. If you’re keen to tell your business story you may enjoy my blog Write as you speak – your readers will love you for it where you’ll be pleased to find out you don’t have to swallow a thesaurus to write good copy.
About me I’m Alison, a Freelance Copywriter living and working in Milton Keynes. The experiences of raising a child with autism and losing a parent to dementia remind me to value the power of words and communication. I believe in writing clear, conversational copy that everyday people can relate to.
Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to work with me.