How to Captivate Your Audience with an Epic Business Story, Part 2
I’ll wait here while you do so.
Are you ready?
Excellent! Let’s continue down the road together. We’re going to look at the rest of the elements of the Hero’s Journey and how to apply them to your business story. Then, we’ll take a look at how to get your message across with a style that reflects your brand.
Okay: our heroes were last seen accepting the supernatural aid of a benefactor in the form of help or wisdom. They crossed the threshold into adventure and found themselves in…
4) The Belly of the Whale
(Cue dramatic dum-dum-DUM!!!) Without adversity, there’s no struggle, and without struggle, there’s no story. Every great narrative contains some formidable challenge upon which the hero must prove his or her worth. If the Death Star hadn’t caught them in its tractor beams, Luke, Han and Chewbacca would never have met Leia and their fight against the Empire would never have begun. (That’s a reference to Star Wars, for any under-rock dwellers out there.)
What was a moment of adversity at the start of your business journey? What threatened to swallow you up? What did you gain from the experience?
As a new freelance writer, I naively found myself churning out ghostwritten assignments through low-paying “content mill” websites. Despite the drawbacks of content mills, I learned the keys to creating buzz-worthy content on a tight schedule.
5) The Road of Trials
This is the heart of the journey: the series of adventures that ultimately lead to the hero’s triumph. In A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, we follow Arthur, Ford, and the rest of the crew of the Heart of Gold as they plummet through space and time on their search for the planet Magrathea. Each episode on that journey is part of their road of trials.
What adventures have you been on thus far? What case studies do you have to share? What testimonials have you earned?
My writing has appeared as copy for retail websites as well as professional services websites. An opportunity to learn and research something new is one of the things I’m most passionate about, both in my life and in my work. If you’d like to see what I’ve done, here’s a link to my portfolio.
6) The Ultimate Boon
This is the climax of the adventure. The hero has now gained greater wisdom through his experiences and finally achieves victory.
Harry Potter, after seven adventure-filled years at Hogwart’s, finally defeats Voldermort with a combination of the love he’s won from his friends and the knowledge he’s gained as a wizard.
What’s your business goal? Have you achieved it yet? Where are you on your business journey?
With the launch of my freelance writing website, strong social media presence and weekly blog on the power of storytelling, WordWeaver Freelance is well on its way to becoming a popular resource for clients in need of freelance writing services. To learn more about what I can do for you and your business, click here or please contact me at email@example.com.
That Hero’s Journey thing was a way for you to reflect upon your own business story so it has a structure. Now we need to craft it into an interesting presentation your audience can interact with. It’s time to stop making your About page about you and start making it about the client you’re hoping to attract.
Here are some things other companies have done to make that happen:
Define your audience and their needs- Who’s your typical client? A bargain-hunting retail warrior? A profit-seeking entrepreneur? A busy homeowner who needs to save time? Start with the answer to this question: why should they want to learn more about you? This About page from Apptopia opens with a simple description of what drives them and what problems they solve for their customers.
- Define your storytelling medium- As a freelance writer, an About page with mostly text makes sense for me and my audience since words are my medium. But if I were a photographer or graphic designer, I had better present my story through images. As pained as I am to admit this as a self-described word-geek, visuals are just as effective as words at storytelling, and depending on the subject matter, can sometimes be more powerful. This minimalist About page from GoPro tells its story through an artfully produced video.
- Imagine your About page as your office décor- What’s the feeling you want your client to have as they look around the room? Do you want them to see a quirky, creative company? A civic-minded fundraising organization? A family-run business with a human touch? The narrative voice you use and the imagery you provide will give your audience a sense of your company culture.
- Communicate your beliefs- It’s important for your potential customers to know what drives you so they can feel comfortable doing business with you. Think about the companies you’ve chosen to do business with; chances are their beliefs have aligned with your own. Speaker and author Simon Sinek’s About page has a strong, clear message on his world view.
- Avoid industry jargon- The best way to distance your audience is to speak a different language, or to make yourself look like a know-it-all. Even if you’re in a high-tech niche that serves other tech-heads, it’s best to dispose of the corporate double-speak: people like to connect with other people, not corporations. This high-tech company keeps it nice and simple.
- Keep the story of your business concise and easy to navigate. While it’s important for your audience to understand the journey of your company and how they fit into the story, it’s doubtful the typical website visitor will stick around to read a novel. Compelling headings, bullet points and links to your portfolio and testimonials will keep a customer engaged without losing track. Here’s a great example of an innovative About page from Swedish design firm Doberman that tells a business story in bite-sized chunks.
- Keep your staff bios short and sweet but full of personality. The people behind your company are key characters in the story you’re telling. Make them come alive with well-done photos (or illustrations) and a few sentences highlighting their qualifications and what makes them tick. This is one of my favorite examples of a Team page; I'd love to work with these guys, wouldn’t you?
- Always leave them wanting more. You’re inviting your audience to help complete the story. There's no “The End” unless they decide to do business with you; then the ending should be “…and they lived happily ever after.” Your about page should provide ways for your customer to contact you, subscribe to your e-mail list, join your social media feed, etc.
- If you don’t feel confident doing it yourself, have someone do it for you. A talented copywriter will know the proper questions to ask and will collaborate with you to tell your story in an innovative way. Learn more about what I do here.
That's the end of our journey together so far, brave business adventurer! By now, you should have some ideas brewing on what you want for your About page. Go forth and triumph!
Let me know the story you want tell. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
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