Nothing is more engaging than a riveting personal narrative. A triumph-over-tragedy tale, a self-deprecating anecdote that illustrates a great business lesson, a funny story from your first day on the job — these types of stories are at the heart of great content and why company leaders shouldn't be afraid to share.
Personal stories make you relatable, and that’s a huge advantage when selling your brand. By creating unique, personal content, CMOs can connect with current and future clients while boosting their companies’ images.
I usually write about content creation and thought leadership, but the birth of my first child profoundly changed my life. This is an experience that every parent knows well, so I chose to write about my early days of parenthood, even though that’s not relevant to what we do at Influence & Co.
The article received great feedback, and some people even said they felt like they knew me better after reading it. We ended up getting several new clients as a result of that article. People respond to authenticity and openness, and unique content is an excellent way to make new connections.
But writing is time-consuming, and one thing CMOs are short on is time. Drafting a solid article around an anecdote about a career-changing moment of inspiration or a business lesson learned on a surfing vacation might seem like something that can wait for another day. But you shouldn’t wait because that content will pay off in terms of relationships, brand image, and profit.
Here are five reasons that sharing your personal experiences is worthwhile:
Relying on journalists to tell your company’s story is a dicey public relations game. They can put their own spin on stories and leave out important details. The contributor model of publishing content puts the power in your hands and gives you final say on the narrative. You have an opportunity to share your brand’s story in a compelling way and connect directly with your audience.
Editors and audiences have grown wary of blatantly promotional content. Offering genuine insights from your own experience humanizes your company and helps you build relationships with current and prospective clients. Personality and credibility go hand in hand, and both are essential to building your brand.
It’s easy to focus on the external benefits of writing about your experiences, but you shouldn’t forget about the personal advantages. Keeping your knowledge bottled up prevents you from reaching your full potential. I often jot down notes from an event in the moment and ask for different perspectives on the topic. This challenges my assumptions and makes me think differently. Writing down your opinions and insights will help you become a sharper thinker and a well-rounded leader.
I’m constantly traveling and often have the privilege of meeting smart, innovative people in a number of industries. I like to share the lessons I learn from them by writing about interesting encounters. For example, a discussion with John Ruhlin, an Influence & Co. client who is a gift-giving expert, inspired me to write an article about adding meaning to relationships.
Always be on the lookout for great content ideas, and take note of valuable interactions and best practices that work for you. As an exec, you’ll often experience new trends and innovations before others. You can lead the way in new areas of thinking just by sharing your experiences. My team meets once a week to chat about recent lessons or experiences to make sure we are capitalizing on new opportunities to create authentic, valuable content.
You might occasionally run out of ideas for interesting anecdotes, but chances are, your team has plenty. Encourage your staff members to share their own experiences, and urge them to publish company content on social media sites such as LinkedIn. People like to tell their stories, and sharing an array of stories and insights from staff members will only strengthen your brand.
People learn from experience, whether it’s their own or others’, and CMOs and execs have the unique opportunity to teach through their content. Consider the transformative moments in your life and what you learned from them. Then consider how your community can benefit from those insights, and start writing. As long as you’re coming from a place of authenticity, your stories are bound to make a positive impact.