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Talking about Your Business or Organization

So we know the goal of our website is toΒ tell a compelling storyΒ where your customers/clients are the main character. But does that mean that you can’t tell your story at all? Of course not! But you may need to tweak the way you approach it.

Humans and stories

Whether it’s ancient people gathered around a fire to hear a legend or a modern couple sitting down to watch a movie, people love stories. We’re drawn to them, and, in a lot of ways, they are a tool we use to make sense of life. Stories help us come together as communities, they teach us how to avoid past mistakes, and they help us gain empathy for others. 🌍 Without those things, civilization would fall to pieces.

The reason we use story to guide our website copy is because of how powerful stories can be. I bet you have a powerful story to tell about your business or organization and how it began. But I’m also willing to bet you’ve been to a company’s About page before and clicked away before reading too far. πŸ₯± 

The curse of the boring About page πŸ˜±

It’s interesting to note how often we are bored to tears by a website’s About page, and yet we so often navigate there to see what it says. I think this is because we are drawn to the idea of a story, but we’re often disappointed with what we find.

So how do we fix this? How do we make sure that our About page isn’t a snooze fest? 😴 The answer lies in our overall approach: keep the customer/client as the main character. But this looks different when we’re talking about our own business/organization than it does elsewhere on the website, so let’s explore the idea a little more.

How to [effectively] tell your story

It makes sense that folks tend to focus on themselves when writing about how they got to where they are. After all, everyone likes an opportunity to talk about themselves. 😎 But that often translates into a very dull experience for website visitors. 

A Tale of Two Tales πŸ€ͺ

Let’s look at two different ways our self-warming coffee mug company might write about the birth of their business.

In the winter of 2021, we watched one too many cups of coffee get cold around our house. With a toddler and a newborn, there were just too many things going on in the morning. It wasn’t necessarily hard to brew the coffee, but it was nearly impossible to drink it while it was still warm. So we sat down and thought about the best possible solution… and then, with the help of our family and friends, we brought it to life!

πŸ₯± Boring, amirite? While this story may be accurate to the way the self-warming coffee mug company got its start, it’s not exactly riveting. One of the main reasons this feels dull to read is because there’s no space for the customer in it. Sure, if you’re a potential customer and you happen to have small kids, you might relate, but if you’re any other person, you don’t see yourself in this story. It’s all about the business owners, and they’re not supposed to be the main characters here.

Let’s try a different approach.

“I’m so tired of going to drink my coffee and finding it cold.” my wife said one day in 2021. I was ready to blame children for the problem, since most of our disrupted cups of coffee were caused by our toddler and newborn. But my wife pointed out that we had childfree friends that had similar complaints. “I guess life is just too fast-paced.” Phone calls, early appointments, partners, bosses, kids, the doorbell, basic forgetfulnessβ€”the reasons were myriad, but the problem the same: no one got to enjoy their coffee. We decided to do something about it.

So maybe this still isn’t the most thrilling of stories, but do you see how there is more room for the customer in this version? The focus is less on the brilliance of the business owners or their own plight and more on the general problem. It shows empathy for the customer, no matter their particular life situation, and there’s enough personal detail to give a view into how this particular company came to be. 

Keep it brief

When it comes to your About page or any section of your website that is talking about your story, you have to face the realization that most people won’t care. πŸ€· Think about your favorite businesses or organizations. Have you visited the About page of most of them? Do you remember their stories? 

In the end, people visit your About page to look for more reasons to trust you or to choose your product/service/etc. The more you write, the higher the chance that you lose their interest, and that can mean losing their business. So resist the urge to share every detail of how you got here, and instead hit the high points and always keep your focus on the customer/client

Stay on topic

This might feel obvious, but you don’t want to stray too far from the point when talking about your business/organization. Every single page on your website should work together toward one goal, and your About page is not an exception. Think about the overall movement of your story, and then figure out what details align best with your goals. 

Know what to cut βœ‚οΈ

A very common mistake people make when talking about their business or organization is wanting to include all the ups and downs that got them to where they are today. However, this can make for a convoluted and dull retelling. When people ask about how you got started, they’re almost always looking for the short version. 

Your website visitors want to know that you and your offerings are legitimate, and they’re looking for reasons to pick you over your competitors. They want to be convinced, so telling them every detail probably isn’t the best way to do that. In fact, some details might actually undermine your authority or trustworthiness! πŸ«£ So be honest about your journey but know what to leave out. 

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