Take Control of Your Story

Take Control of Your Story

There’s a famous adage in corporate communications and public relations, “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.” While the adage is geared toward a corporate audience, it’s broadly applicable for all marketing and reputation management and thus, holds true for your personal brand, as well as for nonprofits and community efforts.

Why is taking control of your story so important? There is more “noise” and competition than ever before. The “dual screen experience” is now completely normal with people watching TV while interacting on social media. We’re bombarded with email, mail, texts, and other media and targeted solicitations everywhere we turn. We don’t have time to fully process it all and, as a result, largely have become quick to share and quick to form an opinion or judge based on whom else is sharing it, even though the information being shared may be completely false or inaccurate. If you and your organization remain silent or choose to let others or the media dictate your storylines, after countless online shares or comments, you might find it too late to effectively respond or change the conversation.

The good news is that you can harness these same vehicles, like social media, email, video, and text messaging for FREE and be proactive in building relationships and sharing your story. While media coverage is powerful, you don’t need to be disappointed if they don’t cover your event or get some of the information incorrect. You have the power now to create your own audience and following; recruit and empower ambassadors; expand your influence; and attract attention that delivers the correct messaging.

It starts with identifying the heart of your storyline, such as your mission and purpose; products, services, programs, and events; lessons learned; how you’re making a difference; stories and statistics of impact; and opportunities for engagement with others. Next, set expectations and goals to showcase these qualities and expand your influence, like sharing a community service related story or something positive each day. Then, collaborate with others and give them the proper information and tools to help your efforts. Focus on consistency with your execution. Remember, we have short attention spans so use pictures and short videos that can connect emotionally. Lastly, have fun sharing your story!

How are you controlling your story? Share your ways: @jeremycpark

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