Guest post by Ardelia Lee
If you’re launching a new product or service soon, I know you’re excited. And probably a little nervous. Launch involves so much work, and there’s always that nagging fear that you won’t do as well as you want to. I’ve been there. It’s not fun.
But there’s a way to improve your launch potential, and I’m talking profits and impact. It involves using your launch story in your content.
What’s a launch story? It’s the story (or stories) surrounding the creation of your product or service. They can even include your experiences during your launch. These are great compliments to the strategy content you’re likely planning to share during launch time because they offer several benefits that straight up strategy content can’t.
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Why You Should Use Stories in Your Launch
It sounds kind of weird to say “use stories in your launch content strategy.” But there are several things stories can do that straight-up tips and strategies can’t. And those three things are what really separate stories from other content you create. They also give stories their power, allowing you to grow your reach and your impact during your launch.
1 | Stories Entertain
The first reason to use stories in your launch is that they’re downright entertaining, waaaay more so than strategy-focused content. Stories have the power to make us laugh, cry, and feel the whole spectrum of human emotions.
Which would you rather listen to (or read)? A story that illustrates the point “Don’t give your toddler a permanent marker” or just the advice not to give your toddler a permanent marker?
Personally, I’d pick the story. And it’s not just because I’ve had my own brush with a permanent-marker-wielding toddler. The story sounds much more interesting.
That’s not to say that you should avoid straight strategy content altogether, but be mindful of the mix of content you create.
If you’re not using stories in your content mix, there’s a good chance that sometimes you bore your audience. And we don’t want that, especially when what you’re launching isn’t boring (and neither are you!).
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2 | Stories Connect
Another point in storytelling’s favor is the fact that you can connect on a deeper level with your audience and get them to open up to you when you use stories.
If you were to tell a story about giving your toddler a permanent marker and the subsequent home destruction that’s only really funny 5 weeks in retrospect, you’d probably have other people tell you about their own brushes with permanent markers and kids. (They always have a way of finding each other – permanent markers and kids.)
The reason for that is stories enable us to connect with each other. We want to share similar experiences to let the other person know they’re not alone. That also helps us understand that we’re not alone in our journeys. Someone else has experienced what we have – perhaps not in the exact same way under the exact same circumstances, but close enough.
When you use stories in your launch content strategy, you enable your audience to form deeper connections with you. You make your channels of communication two ways then. You start the potential for a conversation, so it becomes more of you talking with them than at them.How to Find Your Launch Story: 3 Steps to an Impactful Launch by @ArdeliaMLeeClick To Tweet
3 | Stories Inspire
Show me a man (or woman) who has never been inspired by a story, and I’ll show you a man (or a woman) who’s never heard a story.
It’s true. Stories inspire us, and they don’t have to be non-fiction to do so. I, along with an entire generation, was inspired by the Harry Potter series. I grew up reading the books, and I would eagerly wait for the next one to come out. That was the high point of my summer.
The Harry Potter series inspired me to dream, to imagine, to explore my creativity. I so loved the stories and characters that J.K. Rowling created, that I wanted to become an author, too. That started me down the path of writing, which has – in a roundabout way – led me to this very place in my life. All because of a novel.
Imagine harnessing that power in your launch. You wouldn’t just be telling your audience about your newest product or service. You’d be inspiring them, too. Inspired people are amazing to watch. They’re elated. They’re determined to take action. And they want to share what they know, which bodes extremely well for you in spreading the word about your launch.
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How to Find Your Launch Story
Ok. All this talk about why you should be using stories in your launch content strategy is great, but how do you actually go about finding your launch stories?
That’s a great question, and I’m answering that next. But first, I do want to say that discovering your stories is a lifelong process. And some of the stories you’ll discover for your launch will come after the fact (as hindsight is often 20/20.)
But don’t let that deter you from finding as many launch stories as you can. You may find that you only have one, and that’s fine. Or you may find that you have too many to count, and that’s ok, too.
1 | Change Your Mindset
First up, you need to change your mindset around stories and storytelling. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably sitting there thinking, “I don’t have a story. There’s no high-stakes drama in my life.”
Telling yourself that you don’t have story will stop you before you even begin. If you want to find your stories, you have to believe (and know) that they’re there. To help you with that mindset shift, remind yourself that you do have stories.
You’ll also need to come to terms with the fact that your story doesn’t have to be as dramatic as Shakespeare’s plays or as intense as The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s ok if you didn’t face bankruptcy when you started your business. It’s ok if you’ve lived a comfortable, happy life and have nothing to complain about.
Your story doesn’t need drama or tension or desperateness to be a valid, inspiring story. And if your story does have all of those things, that’s fine, too.
My point here is that you shouldn’t psyche yourself out of telling your story because it’s not as “dramatic” as someone else’s. Your story is unique, and it deserves to be heard.
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2 | Fictionalize Your Story
Once you’ve accepted the fact that you have a story and it should be used in your launch, it’s time to find it.
My favorite way to bring stories out of people is to remove them from it. I have them fictionalize their story because it seems to be a little easier for people to write about their stories when it isn’t in the first person.
Here’s how you fictionalize your story: Choose a character that you’ve always wanted to be. Then, place that character where you think your launch story begins. Tell your launch story through your character’s life.
Sound crazy? I’ll give you a look at what a snipped of my life’s story looks like fictionalized.
The character I’d be is a princess. (Cliche? Maybe. But that’s what I’ve always wanted to be.) So there’s the amazing princess who lives in a nice castle. But there’s just one problem. There’s a huge, scary, fire-breathing dragon that comes two times a month to terrorize the princess. This dragon breathes fire and stomps all through the princess’s castle, ruining everything.
After the dragon leaves, the princess rebuilds her castle. She does this every. single. time. the dragon destroys her castle, until one day, she decides she’s had enough. She fights the dragon when he comes. And she wins. She didn’t kill the dragon, but she wounded it enough that she was sure he’d never bother her again.
And then she rebuilt her castle one final time.
Now for the interpretation: You already know that I’m the princess. The dragon that came twice a month was my dad. I grew up with an emotionally abusive, selfish, and manipulative father. You can see the havoc he wreaked on my life in the destruction of my castle (a.k.a. My facade to the world.)
So every time I came back from visiting my dad for the weekend, I had to rebuild my life and process the things that I’d been through. Finally, when I was a teenager, things got to be too much, so I decided to break contact with him, and I haven’t spoken to him since.
Did we just go off the deep end? Perhaps, but now you understand how to fictionalize your own launch story. This helps you both consciously and unconsciously access the story that exists in your mind.
Take a few minutes to fictionalize your launch story. I bet you’ll be surprised at what you find.
3 | Start at the Beginning…and Journal
This no-fail way to get a story out has been around since people could write. Start at what you think is the beginning of your launch story, and write (or type). Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Just go with the flow. Let the words come out without hindrance.
If you need to add more details to the beginning, do so. Allowing yourself time to simply write down your launch story can help you to process it in a new light. It’ll also help you see how you can use your story in your launch.
Is what you’re writing down better suited to a Facebook live, or should it go in an email newsletter? What about both? There are so many ways you can take your launch stories and share them with your audience. It all depends on what feels right for you and what the material is best suited for.
Launch With More Impact
Remember, no matter what stories you choose to include or leave out of your launch, you’ll be sure to launch with more impact than you thought possible. It can be scary to open up so honestly to your audience. But the results (the better relationship, the inspiration, and the impact) are so worth it.
Plus, you’ll help your audience see you as you really are – and that right there is priceless.
Ardelia Lee is a content strategist for entrepreneurs who are ready to finally stand out in the overcrowded online business world and deepen their impact while growing their profits. She brings her clients’ unique stories to the forefront of their businesses through her High-Impact Launch Intensives. When she’s not working, you can find Ardelia enjoying time with her family and working in as many Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Star Trek references as she can into daily conversation.
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