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Have you told your story?

By Drew Strojny on July 9, 2013

You’ve got a website or blog, but have you told your story? If the answer is no, you might be missing a big opportunity.

Have you ever watched a major professional sporting event on live TV? Here in the United States, I’m referring to a playoff football, basketball, or baseball game. Notice how the network will usually profile a player or coach, and tell a story about that individual? This builds viewer engagement with the broadcast. If you know more about someone, you’re more likely to be interested in the game they’re playing in. Not to mention, most people like a good story. It’s human nature.

You might be thinking — my story isn’t interesting or good enough. I don’t want people to know that much about me, and it could reflect poorly on how they perceive me or my business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most people don’t expect perfection, and they’d rather engage with someone they see as genuine, regardless of that person’s accomplishments.

A story is essential on the web, because the web lacks the interpersonal connection we seek out when we meet someone in person. When you see someone face to face, you can quickly become comfortable and build trust in a few seconds. On the web, you start on defense. You don’t see a face, and it’s really hard to trust without that context. A story provides the context, and helps build a bridge to trust.

Finding your story

Imagine you’re on a first date. Your date asks the proverbial question: “So, what do you do?”. You don’t want to brag, so you answer politely: “I’m a web developer. I build websites.” Your date is intrigued, and asks a follow up question: “Sounds interesting. How did you start building websites?”.

This is where your story starts. You’ll want to be honest, transparent, humble, and show a good sense of humor. You’ll want to share a few anecdotes that reveal where you came from, and who you are. At the end of the story, your date will likely feel like they know you better.

Your website visitor is that first date. Tell them about your journey. Be honest. Be transparent. Be humble. If you’re just starting out, don’t pretend you’re bigger than you are (most people will see through it). Talk about where you’ve been, and why you’re excited about where you are right now. Be sure to include a good photo. When readers know a little bit about you, they see you in a different light. They know you (even if it’s just a little bit), and they’re more likely to trust you.

A story is an essential part of your website. Stop worrying about how you’ll be perceived. Be yourself. Be truthful about where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. You’ll build a more engaged and genuine relationship with your potential customers and readers.

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