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POSTED 3.2.2017

Make 2017 the Year of Your Story

As every teenager will attest, it’s not easy getting noticed. Standing out seems to be the preserve of the wild, the free spirits —the people who put themselves out there.

It was probably a lot like that for some businesses last year.

Ask yourself this: did you lurk in the shadows? Did you hide your light?

How many of you stood and watched from the sidelines while your rivals and competitors scooped up the limelight, made the national media business pages, got on TV or were featured on radio with ‘their story’.

Maybe they popped up on Facebook with a clever video or a set of great images of their service or product that just had you saying: ‘Wow.’

How many times did you think to yourself, ‘we have an even better product’, ‘we have such a good story to tell?’

Perhaps you even stamped your feet and said ‘It’s not fair!” Ok, maybe not, but you get the picture.

At StoryLab, we often hear people say, ‘we have a really good story to tell.’ ‘Ok’, we say, ‘tell it’….

Not naming names obviously but sometimes it goes a little like this: ‘Our solution provides opportunity across the entire supply chain. We believe we have the chance to grow market share in core geographies…with best in class… something or other.”

As they prod us from our slumbers, they ask, ‘what’s wrong with that?’

No people, no emotional heart, no story and an addiction to choosing the kind of verbose language that normal people don’t use– that’s the problem.

This is the real world. Jargon doesn’t cut it. Waffle is of no interest to anyone either in or outside the media. If you want to communicate, speak everyone’s language.

Imagine you go into a bar to meet a friend. You’ve just been told something incredible and you want to share it: the chances are you will cut right to the point. That often fails to happen in business content or communications.

Jargon is a disease in communications and PR, an obstacle to securing coverage and media profile. Ditch it; that’s the best tip we can give to anyone who hopes to connect with an audience or make them care.

So, look at the media, learn their language, give them content, stories with hooks that they want in a way that THEY want them; be it a video, infographic, and yes, if it helps to tell a good story, a press release.

In telling your story, images and video have just got to be be part of the conversation. The number of businesses that expect positive stories and coverage – without images – still staggers us. They are essential.

In telling your story, you’ve got to let go a little, allow some digging that will tease out the very best angles; stand back so you can see what might interest outsiders and package the whole thing in an accessible style.

That’s what happened last year: you saw ‘their story’ making headway. ‘They’ got it. ‘They’ developed stories that could be quickly understood by others; ‘they’ stopped locking people out with daft language; ‘they’ understood how modern media works.

Some gurus would have you believe they invented storytelling, that they’ve discovered this amazing new communications formula that is suddenly changing the world we live in.

The truth is stories are as old as time. It’s always been that way. Some people are good at it, others less so. The skills required to tells stories also take time, and that’s why we think we can add some value to your plans.

We don’t have all the answers — who does? But we do have the deeper shade of proven experience, contacts and energy to set you on the right path.

We’ve been the ones telling ‘their story’ — it’s time to make 2017 the year of Your Story.