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I spoke to the Iowa CPA conference in Des Moines in October 2016 and shared these six steps you need to take to share authentic stories to be successful.
(I start at 1:18 mins if you want to fast forward to there.)
In summary, here are the six steps with short overviews:
1) The decision
You have to make up your mind to actually want to get started. Decide to tell better stories for long-term success. Without the declared decision you can’t move forward. This also includes getting buy-in from key stakeholders.
Do we really need executive buy-in?
2) The plan
It’s hard to move forward without a plan. Make that plan, write it down. Keep it short so it’s implementable.
You don’t want this:
High-level plans works great and help us stay on course. It’s okay to update them as we move forward and external (or internal) things change. I like to print copies of it – even in the digital age – and bring it to (client) meetings to help us stay on track and refer to it. (See No. 4)
3) The skills
Everyone has some kind of storytelling skills. Some people are better writers, some are better in front of a camera, etc. Know your strengths and build on those.For organizations, determine what skills are needed and hire those (and of course cultural fit). Don’t assume new tasks can just be added to already busy people’s workload.
4) The execution of the plan
Sometimes people forget about implementing the plan or putting the right skills to the right tasks. So, actually doing the plan might me more important than the actual plan. Keep the plan front and center and do something every day to move something related to the plan forward. Make it a habit.
Don’t stop but adjust. What’s working? What’s not working in your authentic storytelling content marketing strategy? Adjust on the fly and constantly keep an eye out on those metrics to see what kind of content resonates with your audiences.
The final step is, of course, to keep things going. Think about how to sustain the project. How can we continue to share relevant stories that help our audiences and our business? We need the right people in the right seats at the right time. Some of this has to do with budget. Especially larger organizations need to hire people to tell the stories. For smaller businesses, or single-person businesses, owners might decide to share stories on their own. It’s possible, but keep in mind that it takes time, energy and brain power.
Following these steps can help organizations – large and small – tell better stories for long-term success. The stories we tell can make or break our success. No pressure at all.