There is a big secret in the business world that some businesses understand very well.
In fact, if you think about the businesses that are the most successful – globally or even in your hometown – you’ll realize there is a common denominator.
The secret is storytelling.
The best businesses in the world all seem to understand that they are media companies.
It’s really always been the case, but today we’re in the middle of the Information Age. People have access to more information than ever before. People crazy information for education, entertainment and enlightenment.
Businesses have always played a role in storytelling and information, but today it’s even more important.
Another way of putting it is that your business is a media company.
Business as Media
The first time I read about this concept was back in 2010 from Adam Singer. His background is in PR and analytics. He has worked for a few different PR and marketing firms and now works in the Google Analytics department at Google.
He’s big time.
The concept revolves around the way a business communicates with its customers.
In the past, this concept might have looked like a retail store that served as the home base for the business. It was the center or hub for all business communication with customers.
People would enter the store. They would read product information. They would speak with the salespeople and learn about the product. That communication built trust and earned customers.
Good products and good service created word of mouth that sent more people into the store to get the entire “story” about the store.
In addition, there were usually paid channels of media like buying ads on the radio, TV or in print media. This allowed the business the opportunity to get access to audiences, which is necessary to grow a business.
Perhaps the store even did a little press such as appearing on TV or radio to talk about their industry. It was again access to established audiences, but in return for the access to the audience they would provide content for whatever the media channel was.
The key to all the content was having a story to tell.
People love stories.
We’ve created entire industries around non-fiction and fiction stories.
We love it for the entertainment value. We find enlightenment and knowledge in hearing stories.
In a way, stories are kind of how we live.
So it’s natural that people are attracted to stories.
When it comes to business the story is important. People want to know the story behind products (How It’s Made), services and the business itself (About Us). They want to hear the stories of current customers (Testimonials and Reviews) and partners.
It’s all interesting and people eat it up.
Stories form connection. Stories bring about emotion in people and when you have those two ingredients you often create a sale.
An additional part of the process is trust, which is hugely important in business.
Through stories you can earn the trust of potential customers.
Think about it, a new customer comes into your store (or goes on your website). They don’t know you. They don’t trust you yet. You have to earn that in some way.
Today’s Business Media Companies and Storytellers
Recently we looked at the blog analytics on GBW.
The “About Us” page here on GBW is usually in the top 3 most visited pages on the entire site. This is not uncommon especially in the B2B world.
People aren’t going to just hire you. They want to get to know your first.
That’s why it’s so important to realize that you’re a media company and that you have to share the stories from within your business.
You need to share the story of your business. Make it human. People like to connect with other humans.
Talk about your company. Convey your passion for existing. Talk about the people.
Do the same with your products. Tell a story about how your products and services have been developed.
Also share the stories of your clients.
Even after people trust you they still sometimes look for a little more proof. They want to hear from other people like them that you can be trusted.
Taking action and becoming a storytelling business today is easier than ever.
For many businesses today the hub or center of the business is the website. That’s the owned channel were all content originates.
It’s where you story originates. Everything on your site should be about telling stories.
Do it on your homepage, about page and product pages.
Also do it with your blog posts.
One of my goals for 2013 was to tell more stories in blog posts. So I’ve been trying to work in more of my personal stories into the posts while trying to work more stories into the posts – non-fiction and fiction.
They seem to make for better blog posts.
Media companies have always understood the importance of stories. Without stories papers don’t sell, TV shows get cancelled and movies go unwatched.
You’re in for the same fate in business if you can’t tell stories.
It’s always been that way.
I love using country music examples because I’m a huge country music fan.
Here is an example of how companies or artists today share their story with prospective listeners (or customers).
Meet The Henningsens