I have a routine at night. After everyone settles down for the evening, I scroll my social media feeds to get caught up on the news and events of the day. While doing this I always stumble upon a few stories from Love What Matters.
Sometimes the stories are uplifting and filled with hope, sometimes they talk about medical struggles without a ‘happily ever after’ and sometimes the stories describe the power of community. Some stories are simple and some have layers and layers of history and complexities. Every story has one thing in common: they are real. To quote a description from the book, Love What Matters: Real People. Real Stories. Real Heart, the stories are “Genuine. Authentic. Raw.”
The editors of Love What Matters state, “We launched Love What Matters with the dream of building a community around hope, support, compassion, healing and kindness.” What they have done is exactly that, through the magic of storytelling. Aside from my need to find out what is happening each day, WHY do I keep coming back for more? Because the stories on Love What Matters make me FEEL something. Truth: people WANT to feel something even if that feeling is sadness. The stories shared remind readers that we all have our own struggles and triumphs. Often, the comments on the social posts are filled with #crying or #lovethis. They also bring conversations of others who have lived similar stories. “This is soooo my story,” they say. “OMG, @Friend did you see this? It’s just like [insert name]!”
Ok, so I promise I have a point here (other than gushing about one of my favorite blogs). Storytelling is the key to effective communication. Often, clients will turn to me looking for the perfect way to communicate to their customers or donors. Companies spend hours and hours (and money) choosing the perfect tagline or message. Nonprofits agonize for weeks about how to go about putting together the best possible year-end fundraising strategy. First of all, good for them. Messaging IS important. More accurately, messaging that makes the reader FEEL is imperative. Even if the feeling is a craving for chocolate from a bakery ad or the peace of having a clean home thanks to a fancy new vacuum.
People often think that stories have to be complicated, that they need to have a catchy phrase or be a perfect writer in order to get words on paper. There must be a happy ending — they think. But, what if the ending is not happy or there is no end to the story at all? Often, my clients will lament that they have no clue how to tell a story. But they are wrong. They can tell the story, they just need help organizing the pieces in a way that will connect with the reader — and make them feel. The stories ARE there. I’ll let you in on a little secret, you know way more about your organization and customers, clients or donors than I do. In the busyness of the day to day, perhaps you just can’t see those little stories that are really big stories that will make people cry, laugh or cheer. Most of the writers on Love What Matters are not professionals, they just took a leap of faith and put their stories out into the world to be seen, heard and shared. Because the Love What Matters stories are authentic, people listen.
In 2019, my challenge to you is to be genuine in everything you do and to share the authentic message of your organization. Unlike baseball, there is #crying in good marketing! Give me a call or send me a message if you need help sharing your stories, putting them into words or video to share with the world. In the meantime, I’ll be over here still #crying about the stories that made me feel something last night.