Sometimes we believe that our blogs and or businesses are stagnant because of poor aesthetic, or because there are better content creators, and or products in our niche. Or maybe it’s our marketing that sucks and that’s why we can’t get our audiences to engage with us or connect with our content.
And if we’re being honest, sometimes these things can be a reason, but not enough reason to topple your entire brand. So today I want to share some of the real underlying issues that are slowing our growth, chasing our audiences away, and the secret weapon that changes everything.
The Biggest Mistakes We make when we try to Build Engagement Around Our Brand.
When we’re not experiencing engagement, it’s easy to assume that an entire re-brand is the answer. Or perhaps changing our niche entirely to something more lucrative, popular, or trendy will do the trick. But chances are if you’re making these same mistakes no matter how many times you “re-brand”, redesign your website, or post on your blog, nothing changes if we're doing the following things.
1. Not Adding Value to Our Audience
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a blogger when building your brand, is positioning yourself as the hero of your brand’s story. When we internalize everything from the content we create on our blog, to the things we share on social media, and even the services we provide to customers, we lose our audience. Why? Because by making it about us, or not being intentional about the role we play in helping our readers get their happy ending, we fail to communicate the aspects of our brand that adds value to our audience. Or why in fact it’s even relevant at all. And when people don’t feel invited into your story, they can’t create the connection necessary to engage with our brand, let alone become a part of our community.
So what do they do? They move on to another brand that is clear about adding value to their lives, and intentional about making them feel seen, heard and understood. We may think people care about trivial things that have nothing to do with them, but truth is, our audience's are visiting our blogs, subscribing to our lists, and joing our communities because they have a problem, and they’re looking to our platform to serve as a guide to bridge the gap between where they are, and where they want to be. So when we position our brand as anything but an aid in helping people survive, thrive in their communities, be accepted, find love, solve their problems, impact their lives or empower them to achieve a certain aspiration, the chances of building a memorable brand that your audience loves go from slim to none. Because at the end of the day if you’re not adding value, no one will care.
2. Confusing Our Audience with Lack of Clarity
Another mistake we often make when trying to build an engaging brand experience is not being direct about what EXATLY our brand stands for, what we offer, and how exactly we plan on participating in the transformation of our audience’s lives. People are naturally drawn to clarity and away from confusion, so when we expect our audience to jump through hoops to figure what our brand’s message is, what kind of content we create, or who our platform serves, we end up losing them altogether.
Here’s the thing. These days there is so much information at our fingertips that we’re practically drowning in it. Our brains are processing information from our Spotify playlists, and e-mails, and Instagram, and YouTube videos, twitter feeds and online shopping one after the other and sometimes simontaneously. So now add your brand’s message to the equation. If the average human attention span is about 8 seconds, (which by the way is less than that of a gold fish), then I think it’s safe to say that if your audience feels like they have to solve a hypothetical Rubik’s cube to get to the essence of your brand, chances are they won't be sticking around.
So what’s the secret weapon that clears confusion about your brand while also adding value to your audience?
STORY TO THE RESCUE
Storytelling is the basis for almost everything in our communities, from the way we interact, build, communicate, live and dream and so much more. So when it comes to your brand and business, think of stories as a sort of sense making machine. It’s the most important tool we can use to build our brand’s strategy, and communicate our voice and values, and the one thing that can hold a human being’s attention for hours. And given that the average humans attention span is only 8 seconds, that says ALOT.
Stories are what capture people’s attention. They get remembered. They change perspectives. They affect our behaviors, and overall impact the way we engage, connect, and remember people, events, and things. Yes, and that includes your brand. So how exactly do stories transform the way our audiences see our brands and how we connect with our readers?
1. It Deepens Our Connections With Our Audience.
Stories help your audience identify the role you play in their lives which helps deepen that relationship. They don’t just create connections, but it ultimately helps people define why they choose your brand over others.
Because as much as we value our businesses, our products, and even our brand, human nature tends to skepticism. People are not as interested or invested in the things that we think that they are. Sometimes they may question our motives, question the validity of our work, or turn against our brands at the slightest hint of bad press thanks to social media. But then there are stories. They help us build a deeper connection with our readers and leave them with a lasting positive impression of who we are and what we represent.
2. It Leaves a Lasting Impression.
So if I had to take a wild guess, I’d say you probably don’t remember what shirt you wore last Tuesday. But how is it that we remember what item of clothing Cinderella left at the ball from a story that was written over 300 years ago. Or who killed Mufasa from some 24 years back. Now It doesn’t matter if you’ve read the stories once, or watched the movies a thousand times, these moments are somehow embedded into our memories. Why? because stories tend to leave a lasting impression in our hearts and minds not just with Disney fairytales, or marvel movies, but with people, events, and yes even our Brands.
Your blog’s statistics, or following are quite important. But when it comes to its relevance to your audience, it’s the stories that get remembered.
3. It Builds Trust with Our Audience.
If we want to grab the attention of our readers, then we have to start by showing that we understand their pain and frustration. When we empathize with our audience, we create a bond of trust, because it doesn’t matter where you go across the world, everyone wants to be seen, heard, and understood. And stories gives us the opportunity to tell our audience,” I understand your frustration because once upon a time I was just like you.” When we share narratives about our behind the scenes, coming of age stories, or biggest regrets and how we overcame those loses, we suddenly become more empathetic to our audiences and they view us as more relatable, and they feel understood. So Just like people trust those who understand them, they trust brands who understand them as well. And if people like you they'll listen to you, but if they trust you, they'll buy from you.
So when it comes to our brands, the focus shouldn’t solely be on the technical things, the colors we use on our websites and marketing collateral or dare I say presets for Instagram feeds. We should look to deepen the connections we have with our readers, gain their trust, and leave lasting impressions by telling more compelling stories. Because that's how we grow a loyal community and engaging audience. And that's how we can transform the way people view our brands.
What's one way you can start sharing more stories with your audience?