What makes you buy a product?
What makes you choose one company over another?
What makes you “attach” yourself to one person over another?
Think about the Olympics. Michael Phelps is a household name because they tell his story over and over again. In his third Olympic run, he beat the long time record of total medals held when he swam to his 19th win. We all rooted for him because we know his story, have watched him win time after time, and are right there with him as the announcers scream in excitement as he touches the side.
Think about a product you use. I’ve used a cleaner – Mr Clean Magic Eraser – for several years now thanks to a friend’s input. We had dinner one night and we got on the subject of cleaning. She broke out into this animated story about having marks on her wall. She had received a free sample of the Mr Clean Magic Eraser, and with just a few strokes, the surface was clean. So she moved on to other areas of her home with the same results. She put a new box at the top of her grocery list and started sharing her story with all of her friends. The story was enough for me. I’ve been a user ever since.
Now think about photography. Why would someone want to use you? Which of your customers loves you so much, they break out into an animated story whenever they are sitting and sharing their images with friends? Which of your clients is cheering for you when you do something beyond the scope of your business – you make headlines because of the work that you do?
If you don’t know your story, know one else will either. Which means now as you are building for the future, developing your own newsworthy story will ensure people connect with and stay with you for years into the future.
1. Find something others can care about.
Why did you go into business for yourself? Why did you start a photography business?
Those two questions can help you start building your own story.
Most people don’t go into photography for the money, or simply because they like toting a camera around with them 24/7. There is something else there that makes the journey worthwhile. That’s the thing that helps you develop your own story. That’s what you focus on. That’s where you find and develop a story others will care about too.
2. Use that story to build your business around.
Once you find your story, write about it and make it as succinct as possible. You should be able to give your story in a 30 minute elevator speech, as well as a 30 minute interview. You should know it inside and out, and be willing to give it at any time.
Nope, its not bragging. Many people have problems developing their own story because they feel like too much emphasis is being placed on themselves. Nothing is further from the truth. The story of you is important because that’s what gives people the “care” to want to do business with you. They need to have a reason to love who you are and share you with friends and family.
3. Work the story over and over again.
With your story in hand, you should share it everywhere. That’s what PR is for - a reporter should be able to instantly see your value and want to spread the word about why you matter to your community. You should be able to write it online again and again. You should be able to incorporate it into all of your marketing materials – from your site to your brochures. Everything should link back to your story, giving prospects and clients an instant recognition of what you are all about.
If you message isn’t concise, you haven’t developed your story in a strong enough manner.