Everywhere I go these days, those who know me ask what’s my story. They mean it casually, but for me it’s such a loaded question. What’s my story? My story is YOUR story.
I set out to spark stories full time, and it’s driving every element of my business all day long. Your story is what motivated me to leave a job that was comfortable in a place that I loved. It’s what’s driving me to focus full time on my business so that I can help small businesses and organizations focus full time on THEIRS.
Here’s My Why
As far back as high school, I understood that my ability to articulate ideas in writing was the most essential skill I needed to master. From college admissions essays to summer program applications, I attribute learning to write well as my key to doors of opportunity. It was why I studied journalism in college – not because i wanted to be on the frontlines of the news cycle – but because I wanted to hone the craft of storytelling.
Storytelling is what I did for five years straight at JUF News, a local Chicago magazine, and storytelling across all media is what I mastered for 14 years as communications director at a private high school and in my freelance work.
But here’s what I found. Digital marketing today moves at record speed, and our attention span is at an all-time low. Small businesses and organizations are so busy in the weeds of digital marketing tactics, that they’ve forgotten to focus on strategy. Most people who come to me are so busy keeping up with social media posts that have a life of only a few hours (if we’re lucky), ads to post (and A/B test!), a website that already looks dated after three years, not so mention print material –– that they’ve lost sight of the big picture. The story behind it all.
Your story is your strategy. Everything else is just a tactic to tell that story.
This realization, that so many of you need someone to remind you of your story and to support you on how to tell it across digital marketing is what drove me to launch Sparkr Marketing.
How to Spark Your Story
Sparking your story doesn’t have to be hard. But it requires time and space to think. This is why many successful brands will offer key employees a retreat together. It can be the reset button that gets everyone back to the heart of what matters. But, even if you don’t get a company trip to a resort, you can still try this exercise:
Take some time on a walk, run or find a spot in a quiet, creative space to think. Then, imagine what you would say if you were sitting among friends by a fire. (For me this is outside among mountains, but for you it might be around an indoor fireplace at a 5-star resort.)
Now, imagine telling close friends around you why your organization exists and what your place is in it. You don’t have to be feeding starving children to matter. Does your product make someone’s day easier so that they have more time? Do you help people stay healthier? Do your services make people’s homes last longer so that they can create more memories? There’s a higher purpose to everything worth doing. Reach back and remember what’s yours. This is your story.
So tell it well.