How to Tell Your Brand Story
Are you telling your brand story on social media?
Are you sharing your story the right way to connect with your audience?
Does your brand story align with your core values and experiences? Do you even have a story?
Don’t freak out because my amazing guest and fellow mompreneur is here to give you all the tips and strategies to help you craft your brand story, share it, and connect with your audience. Remember, that’s our goal on social media … connections and conversations!
Michelle Knight is a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. She is the founder and CEO of brandmerry.com, where she supports entrepreneurs as a personal branding and marketing consultant. She helps entrepreneurs brand themselves online, market their mission, and build more revenue and impact. You are going to love this episode.
Connect with Michelle HERE.
In this episode you will learn:
- how to use your brand story that connects with our values + experiences to connect with our audience.
- how to identify what stories our audience needs to hear.
- how to tell these stories with our brand story to our audience.
- Mistakes entrepreneurs make when telling their stories.
- Tips & strategies on recycling stories and creating brand story banks.
Full Transcription at the bottom of this blog post.
Before you go, I’d love to connect with you and give you some gifts to help you grow your online presence!
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/socialmediaformompreneurs/
Work with me: https://ascholes.wpengine.com/coaching/
Free Caption Templates: https://ascholes.wpengine.com/free-captions/
Personal Branding Workbook: https://ascholes.wpengine.com/rock-your-personal-brand/
Hi, Michelle. Welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me. I’m excited for us to chat today.
I am too. It’s about one of my favorite topics, but before we dive into that, let us know what you do.
Yeah, of course. So, um, I’m Michelle Knight. I founded my company brand mary.com in 2016 after the birth of my son and continued to grow my business, struggled, fumbled didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Got to a place where I could leave my nine to five, which was kind of the goal. And since that date I have, um, scaled my business to a point where I could retire my husband. We traveled in a travel trailer for two years and, um, have just really been able to kind of live that life of freedom that you hear about. And it’s all been through the work that I do as a personal branding consultants and marketing strategist. And my goal is to really help entrepreneurs brand themselves online market their message and create more income and impact in the world.
That’s awesome. I think all of us can relate to that, right? We all want that time. Freedom and financial freedom. You said that you have a child and we want to be there for our kids. Right? That’s why I started my business. I did not want to be in the corporate. And then I went to teaching, did not want that anymore. I want to be fully present with my kids, right. But I want to build a business, you know, and help out financially with the family. So we are chatting today about one of my favorite topics, branding, and year we’re going to break down for us, get real specific on how we can use our stories that are connected with our values and our end, our experiences, and then how we can connect that with our audience. So how can we identify what stories our audience need to hear?
Yeah. So the first part of the branding process that I love and that I love to teach is first understanding what is your story? Because although, and we’ll talk about some mistakes that people make, although you are sharing stories for your audience, they still need to come from like that central core of your brand, which is you, right. We just talked about like creating our own businesses. And so that really comes down to identifying who you are. And I often like to say, what’s led you to where you are today. We all know those stories that we love to watch on TV and in movies, you know, that clear, like this is where we were, this is what’s happened. And this is where I am today. So, you know, that’s often referred to as the brand story, how did my business come to be? But sometimes we forget about those little micro things that maybe aren’t directly connected to what products or service we offer and just about like life lessons and experiences that we’ve had that connect us with our audience.
So the first thing I recommend is getting clear on your transitions, those moments in time when maybe something happened, you learned something, you saw something, um, you initiated a change and you kind of pivoted, right? You kind of like went well, that’s not what I was planning on doing, but here we are, those are really great places to start. And many of those you can then use in your brand story, which you’ll use on your, about me page and some of those core places. Um, but in addition to that, you can also identify some pieces that are great with building your audience in relation to your mission. So what is the purpose, the why as people call it, um, I have a background in nonprofit, so I just referred to it as mission. So what is your mission? Like what is the real reason that you’re doing the work that you’re doing and that’s so closely tied to your impact. And then another piece of that are your values. You know, 77% of consumers wants to buy from brands that share values with them. So one of the best things that you can do in the beginning when you’re identifying these stories are what are your values? Like, what are your company values? What’s important to you and then start to share that through storytelling on social media. So that’s really kind of the first pillar of sharing with people who the heck you are and starting to build that brand affinity.
I love that. Um, now a quick question that just came to my brain, as you were talking about, like, what led you, your transitions, you know, what is leading you? What’s your overall mission? What do you say to someone when they come to and they simply say, I don’t have a story or my story is boring. I have nothing to share because I’m sure that comes up, right? Yeah.
Sorry. It’s like the number one question. Um, and it’s so interesting because I’ve definitely had a lot of, um, life impactful moments. I call them kind of earth shattering. You know, I’ve had the moments of the birth of a child and, and the loss of a loved one selling our home to move into a trailer. But I can tell you from my experience that while those stories are cool, um, they’re not the connection stories that my audience, I get the best engagement with, or I get the best response because people are really looking for those stories that have those shared experiences. So sometimes we think that our story has to be like blockbuster movie. When in reality it needs to be relatable. I was listening to a podcast recently from a book publisher and they were saying that they will actually deny books that feel so out of like the normal, like realm of life, because they’re not relatable to, to their readers.
People want those connection pieces. So I encourage my audience to actually think about those moments and share those moments specifically, focusing on like the lessons that you’ve learned or, um, you know, the, how that ultimately impacted your life. Because the art of storytelling, isn’t so much that I did this and then this happened, it’s that by sharing your story, there’s I can get real nerdy with this, right? There’s like neuro coupling happening, happening in the brain. Dopamine is being released. It’s just, what’s happening in the reader’s body and mind. That is the power of storytelling, not the story specifically itself.
I’m so glad that you said that and clarified that because a lot of people on Instagram will come to me and they’re like, well, I don’t know how to elevate my brand on Instagram. So people will come to me. And I always say, well, back up a bit. I go, why do you want to be like, so-and-so why do you want to put yourself up on a pedestal? I said, because the trend is on Instagram, people are smart. They don’t want to follow those influencers or those celebrity type influencers. I go, they are following people who mirror their life experiences. And we can do that through brand storytelling. Right.
I love what you said specifically too. Like I think sometimes as consumers and just scrollers of the internet, we see people, especially like influencers, things like that, that are feel a little unattainable. Right. Um, but we’re business owners over here, right? Like we are creating revenue, generating businesses, a lot of influences or things that we see. They’re not making profit, they’re not making money. And so it’s important to understand that disconnect, that being relatable, being authentic and sharing stories, contribute to the buying process, lead to the sale. And that’s ultimately what you’re wanting to do. So you also have to be careful at like how you’re comparing your strategy to somebody else who’s in goal might be completely different.
And I think we have to ask ourselves the question, do we really want the life they have to get influenced. Right. But then when you sit back and go, do I really want to do that? Is that how my weekends are going to look like no, there is a disconnect. So I’m so glad that you clarified that. Now. Are there any like mistakes that you see entrepreneurs doing when they try to share or tell their brand story on Facebook, through their email list on Instagram?
Oh yeah. I mean, I think the number one, and this is going to, I’m going to have to explain this one because this always throws people off. The number one is that even though your story might specifically be about your experiences, um, it, it, you know, the lessons that you’ve learned at the end of the day, it’s really not about you because as a business owner, it has to be about your audience. And so this is where that connection piece of like, well, what stories do I consistently share? Right? We talked about the brand story. We talked about the transitions. We talked about values, mission. Those are definitely core pieces of content that you can cycle through. But then you have these everyday micro stories of like something that you saw at the grocery store. That’s the one I use all the time, or, you know, something your kids said to you that made you like, think of, think of something that you want to share with your audience.
You know, those are those micro stories that we get to share on social media and our daily content. And it’s important that when you’re identifying those stories, that you’re also identifying how it connects to your audience. So by sharing the story, what value am I providing my audience and value can be entertainment. We all know that we all, we all scroll Tik TOK, right? It can be entertainment. It can be education, it can be inspiration, it can be motivation. And so it’s really important that before you even start writing your storytelling content, that you’ve identify, how is this a value to my audience? You get really clear on that because that’s going to shape how you present that story and what you want your audience to walk away with. And that’s the number one mistake that I see from business owners making, because again, they’re looking at maybe authors, um, who have written, you know, an autobiography or they’re looking at influencers, but as someone who is wanting to accept money from somebody else for a service or a product that they’re selling, it’s important that we make our audience front and center of our stories.
So we almost need to ask ourself the question, does my audience care? Or why should they care about this?
Yes, exactly. Exactly. And then that comes back to like one of the key pieces of the branding process, which is you’ve got to know your audience. Like, we didn’t talk about that, but that should just be across the board. Like ideal customer research is key. And when you do it, then you, you know, what are the struggles? What are the pains that my audience is experiencing? What’s the problem that I’m solving? What does my audience want? What’s standing in their way, that information will help you choose the stories to share that are going to impact your audience at the highest level.
I think another way to think about it, this just kind of came to me when we are developing our brand story and then doing these little micro burst kind of stories. We almost need to present it. This is the way I’m thinking is we are guiding our audience through the story to make them the hero at the end. Yes, totally. We want to make ourselves look like the hero, right? We don’t want to put ourselves on a pedestal. We almost want to uplift our audience. So they feel like at the end of the story, that they’re standing on the pedestal, we are guiding them, giving them, you know, the motivation, the inspiration, the tools to work through their problem or their pain points.
Absolutely. One of the leaders in brand storytelling and business is Donald Miller. And this is one of his, this, his, this is like his whole thing, right? You want to position yourself as the guide, not the hero, the hero is your audience. And so it’s important that our stories are equal parts, empathetic and have authority, right? So that we, we are relatable. We are connecting, but we’re also the person that they’re coming to solve that problem. Whether that’s solving the problem through a service or a product, it doesn’t matter. Everyone, the businesses grow because they solve a problem. Right? Like if my egg is sticking to my pan, my problem is I need a new pan. So I’m going to go find a product out there. It doesn’t matter. But yeah, you’re, you’re spot on. It’s all about positioning yourself as the guide.
Awesome. So let’s, let me ask you another question. Cause I’m, I have a feeling that we’re going to have some listeners going, okay, this is great. I need to tell my brand story in these micro stories, but then they might sit there and they might just stare at their computer. So do you think it’s a good idea? Not when you want to post, not when you want to write your email, but at a separate time when you’re relaxed and you know, your focus to just brain dump, a few stories, the stories that you have that mean a lot to you, like your earth, shattering the stories, your, what led you, your transitions, just brain dump them and then maybe have little micro stories underneath them and just have them filed away and ready to pull when you need them. Like, I’m kind of wondering, like what kind of process would you advise our listeners to go through?
Yeah, absolutely. So, um, the first thing that I would say is that the brand story, you know, identifying your values, the mission, those are kind of core stories that you, you kind of write, right? You ride them, you put them on the about me page. It’s the first story everyone wants to write. Right. Um, and then making sure that you’re scheduling that type of content, that story specifically on social media, maybe every 30 days, right? You don’t necessarily have to rewrite those stories. Um, but you just want to make sure that you, if you’re growing your audience strategically with marketing, you’re getting in front of your audience, new people all the time, and that they know exactly who you are. And then this idea of the micro stories, I call it a story bank. So it’s just a brain dump. It’s just a fancy name.
I’m super simple over here. It’s like a side-by-side spreadsheet. And one side is the story idea that you have and any details that you have, you know, if it was something they heard your kids said, or you saw it in a movie, or you thought about the grocery store, whatever you’re, you’re brain dumping these, and then the second column is why does your audience care about it? Right. So you’re already identifying that before you even start writing. Now, one of the strategies that I teach with my marketing clients is planning out your content 90 days in advance, because then you, aren’t waiting till the day of to write a post and you know, where these pieces fit in. So this is something that you can do when you are planning out that content, go to that story bank and pull the pieces that are contributing to whatever you’re doing in your business at that time.
Uh, if you’re launching something or, you know, you’re putting out a new product or something. And, um, and so that’s a great way that every 90 days you’re sitting down in that like creative mode and saying like, what are some stories? You know, let me pull from my bank. Let me think of some things that have happened. Uh, but the beautiful part of this process is it happens every time, once you start this process, your awareness just radiates. And like, I don’t even need to use a story bank anymore because I’m constantly like, Ooh, that’s a good one. That’s a good one. That’s a good one. Plug it into my calendar. And I know like I’m constantly paying attention. So you’ll notice that your awareness will peak and then you just need a place to dump this stuff, maybe a Trello board, and then come back to it. When you’re planning out your content for 90 days,
I love that you mentioned Google because that’s my go-to. I have Google spreadsheets school to work. And because I have the, you know, the Google drive app on my phone, and I love that idea about just having two columns, your story, Cal column, and why does my audience care? I love that. I really think we need to now add that to my Google spreadsheet family.
We have so many spreadsheets for my business, but you bring up such a good point that like it’s accessible everywhere. And that’s what I really encourage my clients that like these moments are going to be happening throughout your life. And again, your awareness is going to be peaking, have something to support. You have a system in place to support you. So if you’re at the park with your kiddo, you can just pop that in the spreadsheet, on your phone. And then you’re, you can circle back to it when you need to. And you’re not like forgetting about it. I think that’s getting, if I can’t do it everywhere, I need to be able to access it everywhere. That’s why we love Google.
Yeah. And you know what, and everyone has a mobile phone. So even if it’s Google or like you said, Trello, or any type of project management, you know, app that you use set, you know, a brand story management system and keep dumping those ideas. That is it’s, it’s brilliant. It’s simple, but it’s brilliant. Right? It’s just like one of those moments you’re like, ah, yeah. Now before we end our chat, are there any last minute tips or strategies you would really like to share?
Yeah, I think that, you know, I want people to really think about stories as complementing the, the goals that they have for their business. So, you know, think about your ideal customer and where they’re at on their journey and everybody is kind of at a different place. And so, you know, when you’re thinking of, let’s say, let’s say you’re getting ready to sell a course or something, you know, think about the content that you’re creating to sell the educational content, things like that, and how story can enhance that content. Because I find when it’s time to sell that everyone stops talking about stories. They’re just like, this is it. And this is how it will help you. And those are important pieces, but we know that storytelling improves content and that when you incorporate storytelling, your content is 22 times more likely to be remembered.
And so even just a single sentence in an email where you’re selling a product or on social media, uh, you know, uh, two sentences about why you created that product and the problem that you saw, those can really, really help you sell. So think about how storytelling can really enhance your content overall and your business and just, you know, make it, it makes marketing so much easier. Like it’s just, once, once people really start doing it, they’re just like, wow, I’m getting more engagement. Wow. I’m getting more saves. I’m getting more DMS. And I’m like, of course you are because we, as humans, love reading stories and stories connect us. And that’s really what it’s about. You know, we talked about this kind of in the beginning of like, it’s about that connection piece. It’s about that authenticity, especially on social media, our audiences are craving that. And so you’re really putting yourself ahead of the game ahead of others in your industry when you’re strategically using storytelling in your business.
And I think it goes back to when you were talking about selling people, don’t buy necessarily the product you have, they’re buying the transformation. They really don’t care if it’s a course and it’s got seven modules and 18 bonuses, like they want to know what’s going to happen to them after it. So it’s, you’re really telling the story of the transformation. You don’t really, I mean, you do have to talk about the product, but yeah, I get that. It’s more about the transformation. So,
Well, we buy based on an emotional and we make decisions because of an emotional connection. There was a study done with E-bay where a bunch of products were purchased for like $130, a bunch of small things like a paperweight. And then these, um, these scientists hired people to write stories about those different products and like this paperweight that they bought for like a dollar, someone made up a story and it sold for $137. The product itself is not different than something you can get at the dollar store. In fact, that’s where it came from. It was some sort of emotional connection that the consumer had with that story. And that’s why they bought. And so that’s what we want to remember that it’s not about, you know, like you said, it, there are a million, like I sell branding course, right? You can go get a branding course anywhere, but like, why are people choosing me? It’s because of that connection, it’s because of the transformation and the benefit that I’m providing them. And it’s because they, they feel like they know me and that I get them. And you know, that’s one of the reasons that the second most read page on your website is the about me page people care, they care who is behind the brand.
And again, we have to care about our audience. I think that is crucial as well. Absolutely. Thank you so much. This was like a load of information, so informative. I loved our chat. So where can our audience connect with you on social?
Yeah. So I am hanging out on Instagram. It’s Michelle Knight co and, um, that’s a, that’s a group I do weekly Mondays with Michelle episodes, with branding and business tips. Every single Monday, I’m hanging out in stories. And then you can also check out brand mary.com for blogs and resources and all kinds of goodies as well.
That’s awesome. I’ll make sure it’s in the show notes and thanks again. Thank you.
Hang with my on Instagram
Email: [email protected]
“Stay sassy, sparkle and wear sweatpants!”