Monthly Archives: November 2013

Seven Ways to Use Storytelling in Your Change Management Initiatives

Change is hard. No one in your organization whether it is small or large wants to change their behavior. Let along their business processes. For class, I have been reading a lot about employee engagement and how communications can be used to help, “turn the tide.”

Change Management and Storytelling

Regardless of the communications vehicle, you need a compelling story to help move people from resistance to acceptance. So how do you tell a story that motivates your employees and stakeholders?

  1. People like to connect to stories.  It’s all about understanding the individual highlighted in the story and how we relate. Tell folks how this change will impact them. Draw it out for them.
  2. Figure out what emotion you want to invoke. What do you want the reader to do next? In communications, you need to identify what your call to action is. Same for change management communications, what do you want your stakeholders to do?
  3. Stories allow us to break through the noise. Telling a parable may help break the ice with your stakeholders on a topic that may not be so pleasant. According to SAP’s Chief Storyteller, “to break through the clutter, meaningful, one to one conversations with our customer is now more important than ever.” Check out her video.
  4. Check your ego at the door. You should persuade not talk at the reader. Ultimately, you are trying to get them to do something, whether that is listening or participating in a new initiative. Think about how your story will accomplish your goal and motivate your internal folks.
  5.  Listen. Listen. Listen. You can’t affect change until you listen to your internal folks to their side of the story. Empathy goes a long way.
  6. Think like a movie director. I watched Argo and was mesmerized. My favorite scene is when the embassy workers were shredding the “classified documents.” Where they going to make it? Would the “bad guys” going to get the documents? I was hooked for 2 hours. Not only was the movie compelling, but the director did a fantastic job of telling the story. Storytelling isn’t just for the movies. Just because you’re in a B2B market, doesn’t mean you cannot be compelling.
  7. Paint the picture for your audience. What will success look like? Sometimes folks resist change because they are afraid to picture what success looks like.

Bonus: Use humor. After speaking with a few fellow communicators, I realize that telling a funny, personal story is a great way to connect with people. Who doesn’t need a laugh in their life?

Rachel DiCaro Metscher  has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

 

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Starting a Blog? Six Mistakes to Avoid

So, you want to start a blog. Who doesn’t? There are almost 71 million WordPress sites. Why the blog craze? There are many benefits to writing a blog:  brand awareness, build authority, content creation, and search engine optimization. One more to consider is a blog is the perfect platform to share you own thoughts and ideas. With so many benefits to blogging, what are some of the common mistakes to avoid when dipping your toe into the blogosphere?

Thanks to my good friend, Veronica Steele who also co-wrote this post.

 1)   Not enough Content Frequently

You know what is sadder than dove’s crying? People who post infrequent on their blog. Generally speaking frequency of how often you post, depends on your goals. Hubspot surveyed more than 7000 businesses and corporations to benchmark blogging performance in 2013 (so what?). One of the biggest takeaways was that blogs producing more than 15 articles a month began to see substantial growth in site traffic. In fact, according to the charts, companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5X more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all.

Awesome artwork from theabundantartist.com

Awesome artwork from theabundantartist.com

So, how can you combat infrequent posts? Set-up an editorial calendar to help yourself brainstorm ideas you want to cover. Jot down different topics to discuss on your blog. Here is a list to get you started:

2)   Content is not Insightful or Engaging

You heard content is king, but what does that mean? Anna Famery’s summary shared “If there is no content worth reading or seeing on the site, then people won’t go.” How do you fuel the content machine?

3)   Not Relevant to Your Intended Audience

Every blog should have a purpose.  Without a purpose it has no direction and therefore no end point or target audience.  At Concordia University Irvine there are several blogs with different purposes.  Departmental blogs showcasing activities, student blogs giving a glimpse of student life on campus and travel blogs following study abroad journeys.

http://lawrence.blogs.cui.edu/

http://abigail.blogs.cui.edu/

http://www.cui.edu/admissions/undergraduate

4)   You Didn’t Prepare

Ready, set, write.  Most people can’t begin writing with that mentality so don’t expect to be any different.  As Rachel says, “Plan for success.” Create a content calendar to gives you structure such as deadlines on when posts need to be edited and posted but flexibility on the content of the posts.  Life happens and you want to allow yourself the freedom to write on something meaningful so flexibility is really important.  Also prepare for reader responses.  Some readers may agree with your thoughts while others get offended.  Either way, have a plan of action in your back pocket.  How will you respond?  Will you have comment guidelines in place that foster healthy, constructive and encouraging engagement? Preparing  for after the post is live can sometimes be more important than before writing the post.

5) You Bore People

You meant well.  You thought your humor would come across in writing but it’s a flop.  Don’t fret.  The most important thing to keep in mind is this: noticing you are not engaging people is the first step to fixing the problem.  Should the time come when your mom is your only follower (thanks, mom!) take a step back and assess your writing style, content and post timing.  It may only be a minor adjustment that needs to take place not necessarily an entire blog overhaul (you thought you set the queued posts for 1PM but it’s set for 1AM! Whoops).

6) You Are Selling, but No One is Buying

Blog analytics can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  Either way though, you should keep track of the results.  Sure, the results could show that no one is clicking on your business’ website but that YouTube video was a huge hit! That’s important information.  Blogging can be relationship builder.  Honest, transparent and insightful content gains trust from audiences.  Once trust is built the buying will soon follow.
Bonus: Don’t forget to optimize your blog for key words. If folks can’t find your blog, all your interesting and important nuggets go to waste.

Rachel DiCaro Metscher  has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review.

 Veronica Steele is the social media manager for Concordia University Irvine (CUI). She is responsible for CUI’s social media activities, which include engagement, strategy, branding, public relations, best practices and training.  You can check out what Veronica is working on through her site, Digital Socialite.