This month we go behind the stories & loose our excuses to get started with Carin Pickworth, who is here to answer 3 common questions about content and storytelling for business.
Q. I find it hard to get started on producing content/stories – how can I make this easier?
Writer’s block or writer’s fear is real!
But it’s usually pretty easy to overcome.
Every story requires a plan, and when you break down your writing into easily-achievable chunks, it somehow doesn’t seem as overwhelming.
If you find yourself staring at a blank screen far too often try these 3 tips.
- Brainstorm – and phone a friend too
It’s much easier to pump out relevant and engaging content if you have a good idea of what you are wanting to get across to your audience in advance.
It is useful to have weekly or monthly content topics nailed down on a schedule. Many organisations even do their content schedule a year in advance – it’s not a crazy idea at all, it’s great for beating writers block blues.
This can seem overwhelming when you’re on your own with the task so it’s a great idea to call a staff meeting or enlist the help of a colleague or two to sit down with you and brainstorm some content topic ideas.
- Beginning, Middle, End
Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end.
Now that you have your content topics sorted and you know what you’re writing about, take apart each topic by writing one sentence about what the Beginning, Middle and End of your story will need to entail to get your point across.
An example might be:
Content Topic – Product Benefits
Beginning – Introduce the product here.
Middle – List the 3 benefits the product provides to customers
End – Include purchasing options and details
- Fill in the blanks
If you’ve completed the above two steps your writers block will have vanished, I am sure of it.
Now it’s time to fill in the blanks and, voila, your story will be complete.
As you’re adding specific details, consider how testimonials or anecdotal evidence, facts and figures could enhance your story.
Like… This product has helped how many people so far?
Do you have an example a happy customer has shared on how your content topic so great?
Keep a library of info, kind words and reviews up your sleeve for opportunities where you can add them into various content for your organization whenever the content topic aligns – you’ll be thankful when it comes to crunch time.
Q. Why do I need words when video/images are so market leading at the moment?
You’re right, everyone is videoing on Tik Tok, Instagramming like crazy, Facebook stories creating and YouTube uploading to get their fair share of attention and love.
But great clips and pictures still need great content to support it.
Most videos you see that seem to work in promoting something effectively are very specifically planned.
A YouTube video would usually require a script, as may a TikTok or even a Facebook story.
No Instagram post is complete without a witty or gritty caption, either.
You’d better get used to crafting clever words, because they are everything – honestly.
The important thing about using these mediums for business is controlling your “voice” to ensure whatever you put out there matches the brand your business is building or upholding.
Is that really something someone representing your company would say?
It is a solid idea to have a Key Messages document for your business.
This includes statements you are happy to share publicly that represent your branding specifics that you would like to have appear across your communication platforms repetitively.
So even though you need good words to accompany your more visual communications, you also can’t ever replace a good old black and white, ink and paper story.
Luckily, our culture is still pretty good at conjuring up the theatre of the mind that standard text requires in order to deduce meaning from words.
Use your funky new mediums, but plan how you use them with well-crafted words, and keep up the “old school” storytelling too.
Q. How do I come up with ideas for creating unique content?
This is a common question and requires very little effort, you’d be glad to know.
The best place to start when attempting to find ideas and topics for your own content is to look inside your own mind.
I hereby give you permission to do a heavy session of scrolling!
When you check out Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, traditional news articles, blogs and books – what types of stories really catch your eye?
What makes you want to keep reading?
What makes you stop reading quick smart?
Jot down what it is about this content that catches your eyes, draws you in, and alternatively, what you come across that turns you off instantly, or can’t keep your attention for long.
How can you re-engineer these ideas for your own business?
How can you make what it is you love about certain types of storytelling work for you?
When you take an analytical approach to the things you enjoy yourself, you’d be surprised how much you learn about the right types of content and you quickly become an expert at crafting content ideas and producing stories that will make your business shine.