Hey everyone, we started our Technology Marketing in the Digital Age column back in 2014 and now want to refresh the title to reflect our focus on marketing techniques for tech companies. Our intent is to help you create opportunities for your business by optimizing today’s communication channels.
For this article, I interviewed Amy George, owner of By George Communications and columnist for Inc. Online. Amy is a professional writer and communicator with over 20 years of experience helping businesses with communications. She is a lifelong storyteller who helps company leaders by telling compelling stories about their companies and shaping their personal brand on LinkedIn.
Q. You’re a big proponent of companies getting out there and telling their story to strengthen their brand appeal in their marketplace. Can you elaborate?
A. We are all told stories from the time we are children. Stories resonate with people because they connect. Today, people do business with people, not brochures or websites. Talking about specifications and only technical “speak” does not resonate. Think “how am I going to make my customer’s life easier or better?” Talk about how actual customers have used your service/product and make that your “brochure.” Be comfortable with the #humblebrag.
Q. You dislike corporate jargon. Can you give us a few examples?
A. Jargon, or buzzwords, like “strategic,” “driven,” “cutting-edge” and “unique” are my least favorite. People want a story — not fluff or lofty corporate language. Before you write it, think: “What does this word or phrase actually mean?” If you claim to be “leading,” you are the leader of what? Compared to whom? Don’t use the jargon for your brand story — you have to know your audience.*
Q. What are the best platforms to tell your story?
A. First begin with your employees because every one of them is an ambassador for your company. Nurture that opportunity. Staffers from the top down should not only know what you do and why you do it, but also be consistent in their message. Inside out storytelling develops stories from inside by creating an environment for these stories to bubble up.
Make sure you have a communications vehicle in place like regular staff meetings, company portal, newsletter, etc. Then make your story known by posting LinkedIn articles, pushing your content via social platforms and posting on your executive influencers’ social media platforms. You’re ultimately in charge of your own PR.
Q. What is an example of a strong company story?
A. A story doesn’t have to be a 1,000-word masterpiece. Customer stories about how your product or service has helped them do their jobs better, increase revenue, etc. resonate the most with customers. Think: “How does the end person benefit?”
Stories are not unique, but the way you tell them might be. People want to hear stories from and about real people. Don’t just tell me that your product is going to improve my life; present an actual example that paints a picture. Look at the Super Bowl ads. Which ones do people remember? The football player doing his daughter’s hair. Not the $9.99 pizza with the cheesy crust.
Other stories can portray your company’s unique expertise in a certain field. But try not to guard all of your company expert “secrets” — you have to give up a little bit to gain credibility. And remember no jargon.
Q. In 2018, there is so much content to read on so many channels. How does a company get started telling a story that will get noticed?
A. First assemble your team and collect your inside story. Open up staff lines of communication and begin to sow the seeds of storytelling. What wins has your company had? What makes you different this year? Now give people a means to share them. Setting up a company blog is a low risk way to begin. Or have them write a post for your company LinkedIn page. It’s important that you embrace these stories and tell them at your companywide events.
Q. What is your favorite flavor ice cream and more importantly, why?
A. Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, because I love the banana flavor.
* More jargon words from Amy: leverage, best in class, robust. Want to see more? Try Jargon Buster here.