Guest Post by Sam Uhl, memoir writer, teacher, & publisher, owner of The Cheerful Word
In recent years, it has become popular for the everyday person to publish memoir. This is a powerful form of personal story, one that allows us connect with the generations to come; to share a legacy with family and friends.
The small-business owner can also benefit from the extraordinary power of personal story.
Humans are driven to connect through story and we spend lots of money on it at the theater and reading books. If you learn to discover and tell the extraordinary stories of your own life and you have all the marketing fodder you need as a small business owner.
While you are in business-building mode—before your first million or so—your story is rich with the enthusiasm and joy of bringing your gift to the world. Your story becomes the platform. This is where you connect with your primary audience.
By the way, I teach my authors that they are the best marketers their books will ever have. Who knows their book or will sell it better than they will? Social media channels are fantastic tools, but they must be populated with their stories and the energy found in their books.
Three pillars of story
Stories must deliver one or more of three things to be effective. They must be emotional, they must enlighten me, or they must entertain me. If they don’t do at least one of those things well, you have failed.
Everyone loves a good book or movie, but we don’t spend $40 just for the date, the popcorn and the strawberry slushy. We want to experience story.
Take romance films—we all know what that warm wash of giddy attraction feels like. We enjoy it, and it’s utterly light-hearted and relatable. We view them time and again because we are entertained and we feel positive emotions every time.
Enlightenment & Emotion
Other times, we intentionally choose a book whose author reveals a true experience so far from our own, that it grips our core values and shakes them into bits. We sit still and breathe shallowly as we turn the pages, or shed a tear and wonder at human cruelty, frailty, or resiliency and joy. We want to learn something new about the world, even if it makes us squirmingly uncomfortable.
When our eyes are tired, we’re emotionally rung out, or dinner needs cooking, we put a business card in the pages, close the book, and return to the safety of our living room. We contemplate our gratitude and return to the story later when we’re ready to dive in again. We read these books or see these films so that we can find answers to life’s questions with friends or turn them over in our own minds.
This is the power of story. To learn. To feel. To laugh. To connect.
We seek people who are passionate about what they do in the world, and we find them when they share their stories. Have the courage to put your business story to words and share it with the world—enjoy the connections that follow!