Got a Boring Business? Here’s How to Find the Right Stories to Tell

You may believe your company doesn’t have a story worth sharing with the world–as a SaaS company ourselves, we’re no stranger to the “boring” business stigma that exists out there. When you aren’t selling a physical product, it can be a struggle to actually show what makes your product and brand so special.

Luckily, your product isn’t the only story your company can tell with video. In this post, we’ll help you uncover great stories you might’ve been sitting on all along. From detailing the structure of your company to showcasing office traditions no matter how small (or silly), learn how telling better stories with video can help build your brand and make you stand out amongst the competition.

storytelling

To many, the concept of storytelling sounds overly whimsical; images of children’s books filled with mystical creatures seem to come to mind in an instant. However, we use storytelling to communicate with people every day — it’s how we naturally understand each other as humans. But when it comes to sharing information, we often forget that we’re trying to reach and resonate with humans, too.

We mistakenly fill our messaging with unnecessary jargon and complex language that only goes in one ear and out the other. And when it comes to video, delivery is key. By harnessing the power of story for video marketing, companies can begin to engage their audiences and build their brand in more memorable ways. After all, according to Wyzowl’s 2018 State of Video Marketing Survey, watching a brand’s video has convinced 81% of people to buy a product or service. So, investing time in understanding storytelling may be worth it in the long run!

What are some storytelling basics, you ask? Well, Patrick Moreau, Founder of Muse Storytelling, dropped by the blog a few years ago to teach us about the four pillars of a strong story: People, Places, Purpose, and Plot.

  • People help establish connections with your audience
  • Places add authenticity and make your story believable
  • Purpose gives your story meaning
  • Plot impacts whether or not your viewer watches through to the end

As a marketer, your job is to build on each one of these pillars to craft a stronger story. In turn, your video can help boost engagement and bolster your brand.

This structure may not be the perfect formula for every piece of content, but it’s a good basis to go off of to start telling better stories.

Whether you’re creating short or long-form content, storytelling can help you effectively reach your video’s objective. Now that you have the basics under your belt, we’ll help you find the right stories to tell with these building blocks in mind!

“Whether you’re creating short or long-form content, storytelling can help you effectively reach your video’s objective.”

If you’re stuck in a rut thinking your company is bland and boring, we assure you it’s all in your head. Every business has its own unique stories to tell, and your audience deserves to hear them! Don’t have a clue where to begin? Get those gears spinning and think about how your company is structured, the way you run your business, and how customers feel about you.

How your company is structured

When you’re wrapped up in your run of the mill day, you may never stop to wonder what your audience would think of your company’s structure. However, this is a story opportunity you’re missing out on. People appreciate businesses who are transparent with their customers, and a behind-the-scenes glimpse can establish a more personal connection.

Put your product aside for a moment, and bring the wonderful individuals on your team to the forefront (yes, we’re talking to you, SaaS friends). Remember the People pillar? Members of your team are like characters in your story who help create depth. For example, Wistia’s co-founders Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz decided to be super transparent about the state of the business and what they planned on doing with it. In order to build a lasting, creatively-driven, independent company, they took on $17M in debt to buy out their investors. After hearing their story, tons of people reached out to share their appreciation for Chris and Brendan’s relatability and financial transparency. In order to keep the conversation going, Chris and Brendan held a live Q&A. Check it out!

Another example of a story worth telling about your not-so-flashy business is simply how it was formed in the first place. Moz’s former co-founder, Rand Fishkin, published a book called Lost and Founder before announcing the debut of his newest venture, Sparktoro. What makes Sparktoro’s founding story so unique, is that Rand and his co-founder, Casey Henry, decided to adopt a corporate structure for their business as opposed to the traditional VC model. This structure holds the founders of the company even more accountable. According to Outseta, “Neither Casey nor Rand can take any profit or raise their salaries above the market average for Seattle until they have returned all invested capital to their investors.”

Why would someone care about this story? Well, without putting it in so many words, this founding story says, “If you do business with us, you can expect that we’ll be as transparent and honest as possible.”

Not every business has a story like Wistia’s or Sparktoro’s, but it just goes to show your audience can resonate and connect with your brand on many different levels. If your product can’t communicate who you are or what you believe in, let real people on your team and the story behind the business itself do the talking instead.

“If your product can’t communicate who you are or what you believe in, let real people on your team and the story behind the business itself do the talking instead.”

How you run your business

Another story your company should be sharing is the unique value your team creates. Like our previous point, shining a light on the people behind your product reminds audiences that robots aren’t running your business. Don’t be afraid to showcase the small things that make your organization so special.

Does your company take pride in its culture internally? Think about your company’s involvement in philanthropy or even how you treat your employees — these stories shouldn’t be kept under wraps!

Take Salesforce, for example. The cloud computing company created their own 1–1–1 Philanthropic Model, which engages employees and their communities to pledge 1% of product resources, 1% of employee time, and 1% of profits to charitable causes. Since the company’s founding, they’ve given more than $240 million in grants, 3.5 million hours of community service, and provided product donations for more than 39,000 nonprofits and educational institutions. And they’re not the only tech brand making the world a better place. Check out this article from Yonah that highlights 11 other tech companies with a serious philanthropic side.

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To shine a small spotlight on our work culture, we’ve given our audience a taste of the way we like to run our Sales team here at Wistia. We strive to create an environment that’s focused on the sharing of ideas and best practices amongst teammates — not purely cut-throat competition. We’ve asked members of our Sales and Success teams to share their greatest tips for Sales in short clips on LinkedIn, spreading the wealth of knowledge even further with our audience. Not only do they provide valuable sales advice and expertise, but our viewers also get to see some of the friendly faces of the folks who work here.

The way you create value and run your business is only a story you and your team can tell. Sharing even the smallest idiosyncrasies of your organization can help build a stronger connection between your audience and your brand. It’s time to show the world what makes your company one-of-a-kind.

How your customers feel about you

Whatever industry you’re in, sometimes the most powerful stories about your company come from your customers’ perspectives instead of your own. And there’s no better way to showcase how your customers feel about your product or service than with video testimonials or case studies. The key to producing effective and compelling videos of this kind is to build up the People and Plot pillars of each story.

As storytelling expert Kindra Hall explains, “When telling client stories, organizations often lead with their solution: how the client uses their product and what it does for them. But they leave out the entire beginning of the story, the problem that the client had in the first place.” By focusing on the customer’s full story, you can build a stronger Plot and define characters who display more personality, desire, and motives.

Additionally, developing characters out of your clients sounds production-heavy, but it’s actually rather simple. Patrick Moreau put it best when he said the easiest thing you can do to develop characters is to include a bit more detail about who they are and what they want. Their desire will pave the way for empathy among your audience.

One company who does this really well is Toast, a cloud-based restaurant software company based in Boston, Massachusetts. Here’s an example of one of their customer case studies:

Before Toast, Paris Creperie’s system wasn’t customizable, and it hindered the restaurant’s fast-paced environment and dedication to providing a unique customer experience. After watching the video above, it’s clear that using Toast’s cloud-based POS interface has helped the restaurant in more ways than one. From busting lines with online ordering to increasing tips three times over, Paris Creperie’s supervisor was thrilled to share how Toast has positioned the restaurant for more revenue, happier employees, and even a better overall customer experience.

These types of stories can also be particularly effective for products or services that have a health or wellbeing impact. Take WebPT, a B2B SaaS company that makes software for physical therapists, for example. WebPT’s software enables physical therapists to do their jobs better, allowing them to “serve those who serve us,” like firefighters or policemen.

In WebPT’s case study for T.O.P.S. Physical Therapy, Dr. Amy Brannon and her team lead their story with the heartfelt idea around the special environment they’ve created for their patients. As Brannon describes, “Everybody just smiles right when they walk in … People come here and they want to be here.” Employees care about spending time with patients to help them experience growth. And with WebPT, the software streamlines workflows and brings in more patients to provide more care for more people, which is what matters most to the T.O.P.S. team.

WebPT has seen such success with using video to showcase their product, that they’re encouraging their own customers to do the same — giving their audience simple tips they can follow to use video in their physical therapy practices. If they can find success with video in their niche, so can you!

Don’t miss out on all the stories your clients can tell about how your product or service helped them solve their problem and make their business better. You never know who might resonate with their story and want to know more about your business.

Believing you have a “boring” business is no longer a valid excuse for being unable to find interesting stories to tell. Even tech companies without physical products have found ways to relate with their audience and build stronger connections to their brand. When you keep the building blocks of a story in mind, you can showcase how your company is structured, the way you run your business, or how customers feel about you in a more compelling way. Don’t be afraid to open up to your audience and start standing out among the competition!


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