Objective: You will be able to tell your story in an engaging way that grows your community, builds your brand, and gets you financial support.
Earlier, we talked about how to tell your story. Now, we want to go further and talk about how to do it in a way that captures attention, connects, and engages your audience.
Here are a few key points that the further readings elaborate on:
- Know your audience. For you, your audience is your target community! You should craft your story to be relatable to your community.
- Choose a clear central message. A great story usually progresses towards a central moral or message. When crafting a story, you should have a definite idea of what you’re building toward. For you, this central message needs to be strongly connected to the problems your business solves. For an engaging story, try to increase the dramatic tension and suspense right up until the climax of your narrative. This climax should reinforce the need for your business and the problem it solves.
- Establish your call to action. Your central message established the importance of your business – it addresses a real problem. Now you have to decide what you want people to do after they listen to your story. When telling your story on Backers, you’ll want people to support your campaign by pledging their funds. Make sure your story calls on them to do that, and shares with them the benefits that that action will have in their lives. If you are telling your story in a non-Backers context, it might be to sell your product/service or to grow your community or to receive funding from an investor or organization – make sure you shape your story and its call to action accordingly!
- Embrace conflict. As a storyteller, you can’t shy away from conflict. Great storytellers craft narratives that have all sorts of obstacles and hardships strewn in the path of their protagonists. In order to be satisfied with a happy ending, audiences have to watch the main characters struggle to achieve their goals. To tell your story in an engaging way, make the central conflict about the problem your business solves, and the happy ending about your business actually solving that problem.
- Mine your personal experiences. Whether or not you are telling a real story directly based on personal experience, you can always look to your life for inspiration when coming up with new stories. Think about important experiences in your real life and how you might be able to craft them into narratives.
- Show, don’t tell. Instead of telling your audience about a certain event in a story, try showing them by transporting them to a scene. This will make what you are sharing feel more real, compelling, and ultimately memorable.
- Have a clear and cohesive structure. There are many different ways to structure a story, but the three ingredients a story must have are a beginning, middle, and end. On a more granular level, a successful story will start with an inciting incident, lead into rising action, build to a climax and ultimately settle into a satisfying resolution. When you tell your story, it does not need to be one single story throughout. Your full story can have smaller stories within it. You could have separate stories for each phase: what you are doing, why, and who you are. Just always make sure any stories you tell have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and that each story adds to your central message while also reinforcing the importance of your call to action.
- Write down your clear central message in one sentence.
- Write down your call to action. Be sure it builds off of your central message, and shows how people can embed that central message in their lives.
- Write down a few possible conflicts that could fit into your story. These conflicts should relate to the problem your business solves.
- Write down a few of your personal experiences that relate to the problem your business solves.
- Return to the 2-3 sentences you wrote down in the Telling Your Story lesson for what you want to do, why, and who you are. Think about how you can make these better support your central message, how you can embed your call to action, what conflicts you could work into the story (drawing on your personal experiences). Integrate these thoughts into your story – make it less a statement of information, and more an engaging story with a structure, characters, conflict, and resolution.
- Share what you have written with at least 10 people in your community – these should be people who do/might use your business, and people who do/might invest in your business. Ideally, these people are strangers, not your friends or family. Listen to these people’s reactions, and ask them a few questions: were they interested in the story? Were they interested in the business idea? Did they think the idea is useful? Did they want to buy it/pay for it/support it? Did they have suggestions for changes? Did the story make them want to share the idea with other people they know?