Matt Scott asks if there is an easier way to tell your story and build your brand.
You have a message to share – a message that is as unique as you are. You want to tell the world, “This is who I am, and this is what I’m building.” You recognize the power of storytelling, but these things take a lot of time, right?
And, there are so many options! Write a blog. Share a live video. Podcast. The choices of how and where to tell your story are limitless.
Maybe you’re like Matt Scott. He wants to know if there is a way to easily and efficiently share your story. Matt is the Manager of Storytelling and Engagement at SecondMuse, a certified B Corporation. He is also the founder of 180° of Impact, a project to celebrate 180 people dramatically improving our world through their work.
Matt recently sent a question through my “Ask Me Anything” page, where you can ask about business, productivity, personal growth, or anything else. Here’s the question Matt asked:
Knowing how limited the time is for social entrepreneurs, what is one tip for a lower-effort way for someone to build their brand and tell their story; to build a community and build their audience?
In this episode of Social Entrepreneur, Matt and I go over five steps to easily tell your story and build your brand. Here they are:
- Know why you want to tell your story.
- Know what story you want to tell.
- Know your strengths.
- Know your audience.
- Know that you’re going to be OK.
Let’s look at these one at a time.
Know Why You Want to Tell Your Story
Know the Impact Are You Trying to Achieve
Let’s face it. When it comes to sharing your story and building your brand, there are so many choices. Knowing what impact you are trying to achieve will inform your decision of how and where to share your story.
Are you going to use social media such as Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn? Are you going to share your story through a third-party website, such as Medium, YouTube, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or Spotify? Do you need to build your home base – your domain name and website?
There are also a lot of choices to be made when it comes to media. Are you going to share your story in text? Will you microblog, write in short form, or write a long form story? Will you share an audio file? Should the audio be a podcast or just a simple recording on your website? Or, do you want to share using video? Should you post a pre-recorded video, or stream your video live?
With all these choices, knowing the outcome that you’re trying to get to will inform your decision. Want to change people’s minds? Sending a single tweet probably isn’t going to accomplish this goal. Want to build excitement and engagement? You must decide if a long-form blog post is going to do that. Know why you’re sharing what you are sharing.
Why Will Sustain You
When you know why you do what you do, it will sustain you over a long period of time. When it comes to brand-building, it takes time. Even Oprah wasn’t the Oprah we know today when she first started. It took years for her to perfect her craft and build her brand. This work is a long slough. If you’re going to stick to it, you’re going to need a big ‘why.’”
Know What Story You Want to Tell
You are a complex person. You don’t easily fit into one label or even a handful of labels. So, part of telling your story and building your brand is deciding what part of your story to include and what to leave out. You may be a daughter, sister, mother, and aunt. You might be a dog-owner, marathon runner, guitarist, and puzzle master. So, one of the first choices you’re going to have to make is, what part of my story am I going to leave out? Editing is a master skill when it comes to telling your story quickly and efficiently.
A second reason you need to clarify your story is, you want to be congruent between the story you’re telling, and how you tell it.
If, for example, the brand you are building is mellow, almost Zen, then mimicking the style and delivery of Gary Vaynerchuk is not going to work. If you’re offering financial services, adding a bunny Snapchat filter to your picture might not be the best strategy.
Be the Source
This week on Sally Koering Zimney’s podcast This Moved Me, neuroscientist Carmen Simon talked about the importance of source memory. Source memory is the ability to recall where or when something was learned. This provides a powerful context for the content of the memory. According to Carmen, “Source memory is as critical as content memory.”
Here’s what’s interesting. When I wanted to tell you about source memory, the first thing I thought of was my friend Sally, her podcast, and her guest, Carmen. That is what locked the memory in my brain – the source.
And, because I associate this knowledge with Sally and Carmen, I now attribute this knowledge to them. It raised their brand awareness in my mind. And, it caused me to see them, especially Carmen, as subject matter experts. The next time I want to know more about neuroscience, I’m probably going to look for something written by Carmen Simon.
This is what you want. By being the source of information, you create a quick association for others. That is why it’s important to narrow your focus and be congruent.
Know Your Strengths
Find What Makes You Comfortable
This third point gets at the core of Matt’s question about how to quickly and easily tell your story. By finding the media that works for you, you can reduce resistance and increase flow. When it comes to finding the best way to share your story, ask yourself these two questions:
- What overwhelms me?
- What makes me feel free?
Every person I work with has a favorite media format for sharing their work. For some people, the thought of sitting down with a blank computer screen and writing a blog fills them with dread. While others love being able to thoughtfully compose their thoughts in writing before sharing.
Others love the spontaneity of sharing live video. With a little bit of planning, they find that they can think on their feet more easily than sitting still and writing.
Whether you prefer to write, speak into a microphone, or appear on video, do what works for you. It’s important to start with what you have and improve as you go. If the media is tripping you up, find a new media. There are so many choices.
Learn to Stretch
Once you find your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to experiment with new media choices. Not all consumers want to read blog posts, just as not all consumers want to watch videos (more on that later). By experimenting with new outlets for your message, you’ll introduce yourself to new audiences.
Trying new methods and media will stretch you outside of your comfort zone. But, as author Susan Jeffers says, sometimes you have to “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” You might even be surprised by how much you enjoy it.
Know Your Audience
In the first three steps, we’ve been focusing on you, the author of the content. But, to build your brand, you must focus on being of service to others. Here are two important questions to ask about your audience:
- Where do they hang out?
- How do they want to consume content?
Where Does Your Audience Hang Out?
The fastest way to reach an audience is to go where the audience already exists. If you’re fishing, go to the lake, not the desert.
Where does your audience hang out online? For example, if the content you’re sharing is for business people, you may want to focus on LinkedIn instead of Instagram. Or, if your content is for 18 – 24-year-olds, you may wish to hang out on Snapchat.
If there is a conference on your topic, can you become a guest speaker? Or, is someone running an online summit about your topic? Or, perhaps you can start your own online summit. Find out where your audience is and go there.
How Does Your Audience Want to Consume Content?
When you create content for your audience, you want it to be in their preferred format, even if it’s not your preferred format. For example, I’m not a huge fan of Twitter. Twitter can be a haven for trolls. A few years ago, I almost gave up on Twitter. But, I surveyed my audience and found out that many of them love Twitter. So last year, I redoubled my efforts on Twitter, and as a result, I grew my following by 380%. Now, Twitter is one of my primary sources for connection. I even met Matt Scott through Twitter.
Remember that, storytelling and brand building isn’t about you. It’s about your audience. If you want to be of service, share your story where they are in a way that they want to consume your content.
Know That You’re Going to be OK
When it comes to sharing your story online, there are so many choices; it can all be a bit intimidating. If I could give you one piece of advice it is this: Just start.
When I started writing this post, I brainstormed several key pieces of advice:
- Know the right equipment for sharing online and learn how to maximize their use
- Know the rules for each social media outlet
- Know how SEO works, etc.
But, when I force ranked these pieces of advice against one another, in the end, the most important thing I can tell you is, it’s going to be OK. If you share a live video and your dog starts barking; if you find a typo in your blog post; or if you post a video and suddenly realize that your hair is sticking up in a particularly peculiar way, know that it is all going to be OK.
Perfection Prevents Connection
Last week I was in a meeting with the very talented voice actor, Sue Scott. Sue is working on a fun podcast project, which I can’t wait to share. During the meeting, she said something that stuck with me. “Listeners want to connect to the host.” As a podcaster, I find this to be true. I love receiving unsolicited messages from listeners who tell me how much they enjoy getting to know my guests and me.
One of the best ways to break down the wall between podcaster and listener is to show up authentically. People want to know that you struggle with the same things they do. They want to know that your life is imperfect. As the saying goes, “perfection prevents connection.”
My Cringe-Worthy Moment
Here’s an example. Last April, I received an email from a listener who told me that I mispronounce the word “entrepreneur.” I tend to drop the second r…so I say “äntrəPAˈnər” instead of “äntrəPRAˈnər.”
I want you to picture this. The name of my show is Social Entrepreneur. I say the name of the show probably five times per episode. I also created promotional audio where I mispronounced the name of my show. Over the last 2 ½ years, I have mispronounced the word entrepreneur around 5,000 times. Ugh!
At first, I was horrified. I went into a shame spiral. But eventually, I made this video where I confessed what a massive error I had made. The funny thing is, I think it brought a lot of my listeners closer to me. People reached out and told me about their own cringe-worthy moments.
When you show up as authentic and vulnerable, people find their way into your story.
More About Matt Scott
Thanks to Matt Scott for asking this question. Matt just launched a new podcast called 180º of Impact. You can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, or other podcast apps. Be sure to check out his video interviews at Lets.Care.
If you have a question, submit it at https://tonyloyd.com/asktony. I’ll do my best to respond to every question. Your question might even make it on to a future episode of Social Entrepreneur.
Social Entrepreneur Quotes from Matt Scott:“It is my journey to learn from people who are making a positive difference.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare Click To Tweet “The WHY is something that weaves itself into my conversations.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare Click To Tweet “The first step is why do you want to tell your story? The second is, why would anyone want to hear your story?” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare Click To Tweet “It’s important to know why, for the simple reason of staying motivated.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare Click To Tweet “When my dad passed away early last year, that’s something that’s continued to drive my work.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare Click To Tweet “It’s crazy how much grief ties into people’s stories and the work they do to make an impact.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare Click To Tweet “It’s important to not get tied up in the numbers.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare Click To Tweet “The way for me to more effectively tell their stories was to have conversations.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare Click To Tweet “It’s going to be OK if you are authentically approaching your work.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare Click To Tweet
Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
- Ask Me Anything: https://tonyloyd.com/asktony
- Matt Scott’s project, 180º of Impact: https://www.lets.care
- 180º of Impact podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/180%C2%BA-of-impact-the-podcast/id1431547090?mt=2
- 180º of Impact podcast on Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/matt-scott/180-of-impact-the-podcast
- 180º of Impact podcast on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/letsyoucare
- 180º of Impact on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LetsYouCare
- Matt Scott on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MattScottGW
- Matt Scott on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matt-scott-6ba55a28/
- SecondMuse: http://secondmuse.com/
- SecondMuse on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SecondMuse
- Book: Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs: https://tonyloyd.com/book