I enjoyed the presentation times but particularly enjoyed a number of the interactions I had afterwards over drinks.
Three of those that I chatted to for a while were Gabrielle, Yamini and Lyn from a company called One Thousand and One. They grabbed my attention within seconds of telling me what they do as a business – they are into ‘Organisational Storytelling’.
To be honest I’d not heard of Organisational Storytelling previously but even on hearing the phrase for the first time I knew that it was something that could be quite powerful and something that I could immediately see connecting points with blogging.
As a small part of my presentation on Business Blogging I had mentioned that some of the more effective business blogs that I’d come across integrated ‘story’ into their content.
Stories engage people in a completely different way to any other form of communication that I’ve come across and on blogs I find that they can be particularly powerful.
Rather than blogs degenerating into ‘spin’ machines I encouraged people to think about injecting personality into them by sharing stories on a number of levels:
- Company or Business Story – every company has their own story. How it started, it’s evolution, it’s successes and failures, it’s lessons learnt and how it’s interacted within it’s industry.
- Product Stories – in a similar way, each product or service within a company has a story. How the idea was born, what needs it was designed to meet, what versions and evolutions it’s been through and how customers are using it.
- Employee Stories – a business is only ever as good as it’s employees and every one of them has their own story. These stories are important as they illustrate what the employees bring to the job that they do (experiences, passions, skills etc) but they also empower the employee and give a personal face to a company.
- Customer Stories – telling the stories of customers (with permission of course) can be a very powerful thing both internally and externally for a business. The interactions a company and customer have are great for learning and education of staff, they help to illustrate the values of a company and if done well can be incredibly empowering for a customer.
My point in the presentation I gave was that blogs were wonderful places to tell stories. I briefly illustrated the point by mentioning the AdSense blog – Inside AdSense.
I’ve long admired the group behind this blog because whilst they are just one department in a massive company they have developed a blog that is quite personal. They do this in numerous ways but one of them is by telling stories and by personalizing posts by adding photos of employees, using humor and putting faces to the company.
AdSense also has used the stories of their clients (publishers) quite effectively at time. Handing things over to actual publisher to share their story and give their own tips is something that I’m sure those publishers who are featured are proud of but that readers also find valuable (there’s nothing like a real life example to inspire you).
They don’t do this in every post (most of their posts are quite informational in nature) but they do it enough to break down some of the corporate and ‘spin’ feel that such a blog could operate with.
Stories can be used in many ways on a blog both in business blogging and in other varieties of blogs.
I know here at ProBlogger that it’s my posts with stories that people seem to respond to the most. For example my day in the life of a ProBlogger post has always been popular and even my About Pages have elements of story in them (see more on them here).
For more examples of story posts here at Problogger also check out:
- Becoming a ProBlogger – A Story in Many Parts – the story of how I grew my blogging
- Blogging Stories – How Blogs Change Lives – the story of a reader
- Lessons from an Umbrella Salesman – one of my many ‘tangent’ posts
- Blogging in Formation – Lessons from a Goose – another tangent post
- Weddings, Blogging, Intentionality and One Whopping Big Tangent - one more tangent post
In each case I’ve had a lot of email and comments from readers – the stories engaged them on a level that they wouldn’t have gotten to with purely informational type posts.