Storytelling in business is a clever strategy to connect with your clients. Danielle Cook lets me in on her secret to do it well.
Have you ever met a ghost writer?
I know I hadn’t.
Truth be told, I only had a vague idea of what a ghost writer does.
Then I met Danielle Cook, professional ghost writer and copywriter. Expert in storytelling for female business owners and thought leaders.
I thought this was my chance to ask her ALL the questions about storytelling in business.
Because surely you have noticed too: storytelling in business is a thing. And I was going to find out why and how!
Why Is Storytelling Important In Business?
It’s easy to dismiss storytelling as the latest fad in content marketing. But Danielle says it’s here to stay. And I agree. The reason for that has everything to do with some real psychological strategy underpinning it.
I mean, if this doesn’t convince you, I’m not sure what will.
- We like what’s easy and fun. It’s human nature. Ask yourself what you like better: facts and figures? Or a good story?
- If you’ve paid any attention, you’ll know that people have their prickles up from the moment they feel they are being sold to. They’re not interested in a sales pitch riddled with overused (yes, let’s call it: ‘abused’) superlatives or a one-way conversation.
- People buy from people they know and connect with. It’s about building a relationship. Telling your story makes people feel like they know you. It also builds trust.
- People remember stories. FACT! (See what I did there? )
Which begs the question: HOW?
How To Write Your Business Story?
I’m a numbers girl, not a words girl, so to me, storytelling in business doesn’t come naturally. As a matter of fact, it’s hard slog.
So I want to know about the art of storytelling in business. What’s the secret?
According to Danielle, your founder’s story is a crucial ingredient in your business storytelling. But it shouldn’t be a 3-pager, nor should it be a resume. 1 or 2 sentences is all it takes. Yet, it needs to be considered. Danielle tells me you should look for your aha-moment.
I’m confused, so Danielle gives an example.
Take Jenna Kutcher. In her bio, Jenna says she got started with a $300 Craigslist camera and never looked back. This one-liner gives people a sense of who Jenna is. But it also shows her dedication and her determination in business.
But what’s more, it’s a conversation starter.
My story is a lot less sexy, I tell Danielle. I was a soon-to-be mum who needed more flexibility. Talented Danielle just pulls the tagline out of her hat: ‘On the eve of expecting my first child, I knew I wanted more, and the time was now.’
I’m stunned! Impressed!
A Good Story vs. An OK Story
But what makes a business story a good story versus an ok story?
According to Danielle, it’s honesty and authenticity. Any good story has a heart. Story’s that don’t feel honest, on the other hand, are forgetful. They don’t jump off the page.
It may take a few adjustments to nail it, but if you get the honesty side right, you shouldn’t need to do more than 2 or 3 revisions. And they should be tweaks rather than a massive overhaul. If you keep finding yourself going back to your story and changing it, it’s time to look for the honesty.
It’s All Interlinked
Talking about honesty and authenticity. Any business decision I make, I look at through my values filter. That’s how important values are to me. So I want to know how we get our story aligned to our values and our mission?
Danielle says it’s all interlinked. Your ‘why’ informs your core values. But equally, as she explained before, your founder’s story should also tap into your why story.
If you keep the why story and the founder’s story at the center, your business is always going to feel life-giving. It’ll prevent you from burning out. Your core values then turn into something that you want to become rather than something you want to do.
I tell Danielle we’ll pull that last bit as a quote.
What if storytelling is not your forte?
But say, like me, storytelling nor writing is your talent and you decide you need ‘a Danielle’ to do it for you. What happens when you hire a storyteller? How can a professional ghost writer and copywriter possibly tell your story in your voice?
Danielle says it’s like playing doubles tennis. You need to be in tune. Your copy is about you and should sound like you. And while it helps to have something in common, it’s not essential.
Danielle explains: ‘As a storyteller you need to be able to write in a range of voices. Before I start, I send clients an array of examples in different genres, different forms, different styles, different voices so people can get a feel.’
As for her strategy to write your story in your voice and tone, a meeting or a 30 minutes video call is her guide. Her clients can expect a list of questions that have nothing to do with your business.
‘What does your perfect vacation look like?
What is your favorite recipe to make?
Tell me about a time when you were terrified, but you decided to be brave. ‘
While you answer those questions, Danielle listens to the changes in your voice and tone. She looks at your eyes lighting up, and she picks up on hand gestures. The ‘-isms’ you use are important clues. And then she feeds all the seemingly irrelevant information into a heartfelt message that entirely sounds like you.
I know...It’s a kind of magic!
What interests me is how you feel about the importance of storytelling in business? Are you a master of storytelling in business? If you are, what’s your approach? Do you agree with Danielle’s vision? Or do you, like me, sweat bullets over words? Have you considered hiring somebody to create your stories for you? Or maybe you already have? Tell me, tell me!
Connect with Danielle Cook
If Danielle’s storytelling is like music to your ears, you can get in touch with her. Heck, she could be the ghost writer you thought you’d never find!
Instagram handle: daniellechristine.C
LinkedIn: Danielle Cook