If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you’ve probably heard at least one marketing expert say you need to share your story. But like many entrepreneurs, you might be hesitant to actually start sharing.
Maybe you think you have to share all your personal business. Maybe you wonder if your story is unique enough or worth sharing. Or maybe you worry no one will care about what you have to say.
If any of those maybes sound like you, I have some good news!
1) You don’t have to share all your personal business.
Your safety, comfort, and privacy matter. And your story belongs to you. The purpose of sharing your story isn’t to invite people into every aspect of your life.
And since this is your business, you are in control of how much of your story you share with your audience.
Even if your brand’s story is your personal story, it isn’t actually about you. It’s about your audience’s needs, wants, desires, and what you can do for them in relation to those needs.
For most of us, there are a lot of people who provide a similar solution for a similar need to a similar audience. But there is great power in being able to provide people with a solution while also making them feel seen, heard, and understood!
When it comes to self-acceptance, I rarely talk about dating. This is partially because I don’t share other people’s stories as a part of my own (even with their permission) and partially because I love the idea of popping up with a husband out of the blue one day! ;)
When it comes to brand storytelling, I have to be deliberate about sharing my advertising work because most projects are confidential until they go live.
And even after they go live, I have to be careful I’m not sharing proprietary information about a client or their brand.
2) Your story is an unlimited resource for ways to connect with your audience.
Sharing your story is the perfect way to guide people through your shared journeys but with way more insight and ease because they have you to help them — giving you an authentic way to connect with and grow your audience without oversharing.
When you share your story, one that mirrors your audience’s, you are helping them to see a win is possible for them. You are helping them view an unattainable goal as achievable. And you’re probably also helping them do it in a way that's more realistic for them. (One that others in your industry may have overlooked.)
That’s because there is great value in being able to recite someone’s story to them but with a different ending. Especially when you can help them achieve that alternate ending!
3) You can set yourself apart in a crowded industry.
Your story doesn’t have to be unique to make an impact. There, I said it!
I find most people fall into one of two camps:
they think every [insert identity here] experiences life exactly the same as they do.
they think they’re the only person who’s experienced [a specific thing] as they have.
The reality is both camps are right. Most of your audience will relate to your story in some way but the reasons won’t be the same for every single person.
When I share my personal experiences with brand storytelling, I often share my experiences with being a Black woman, a millennial, a creative professional, someone who struggled to start their career because of a recession, and an anxious busy body.
But I don’t assume every Black woman, millennial woman, creative professional, or person with anxiety experiences those things the same way I do.
But I still share those parts of my own story because they’re all part of how I experience the world around me. Those experiences affect how I choose to run my businesses.
Sharing these experiences helped me realize just how impactful my personal story can be to my audience. And it’s how I know the same is true for you too because, like most people, you and your experiences are layered so you likely have a variety of opportunities to spark a connection with your audience.
4) You can position yourself as an expert or go-to person in your niche.
Your story helps to humanize you while also allowing you to share how (and why) you approach the problem you solve from a specific point of view. This is also important because everybody isn’t looking to learn from “the expert”.
Sometimes experts are so deep into their topic that it’s hard for a newbie to understand what they’re talking about. Sometimes the person who’s only a few steps ahead is more relatable because they were JUST where the newbie is now.
And sometimes, it’s the person somewhere in the middle who's still aware of what it was like to start. This helps them easily relate to the newbie. But they’ve also learned enough about the topic to help the experts look at their own methods in a whole new light.
Let this be a reminder that your people might not be looking for the person who knows the most — they’re likely looking for the person who can help them the most!
With my self-acceptance business, I realized I didn’t need to position myself as an expert. My strengths are actually my willingness to try new things to figure out what works for me combined with my professional experience with using colors to influence how people feel.
5) You can grow your audience using your best asset — you!
Your experiences fill in the gaps between where you once were and where you are now. Also, as people continue to explore the world around them, they want to know that the people behind brands they’re considering giving their money to care about the things they care about. (And believe the things they believe in.)
The in-between is where all the magic happened for you and where it can happen for your audience too. It’s also where you get to share what matters to you and why!
Remember, you are good enough. You know more about your niche than you give yourself credit. Embrace what makes you unique (and embrace the uniqueness you see in others). And share your story because it is powerful enough to capture the attention of your audience.