10 of the Best Ways to Tell Your Story

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With all the talk about “telling your story,” how can you discern the best way to do that for you? Should you write a book? Start blogging? Construct white papers and case studies?

Skim this quick run-down of 10 of the best ways to get your story out to an audience. Compare their pros and cons, so you can narrow your search to the one(s) that will serve you and your ideal audience best. And as you read, remember to stay focused on your “why.”
#1: Write a Book


Books have been billed as “the new business card,” as guaranteed moneymakers, and as many other assets of legendary proportions. But that’s what those are: legends.

While I’m letting a little air out of those tires, however, I still believe that a printed book can tell your story in ways other forms can’t. Take a look at the pros and cons of books.


  • Books can dig into details that shorter forms must leave out. Select those details carefully. Weave them into a moving story. Then you’ll draw readers into your passion.
  • Print books are tangible. Ever had a fellow airplane passenger ask you, “What’s that book you’re reading?” People see and touch and talk about books. Sensory connections like those are powerful.
  • Book authorship conveys authority. Think: speaking engagements, interviews, panel discussions.


Blog text…


  • Writing a book takes time. You will gather information, outline, write, edit, and re-write (and edit and re-write…) your book. If those tasks seem intimidating, consider hiring a developmental editor, or better yet a ghostwriter to help. All these expenses can be deducted if your book will be a marketing tool.
  • Books also require publishing, marketing, and distributing. Those processes come with a steep learning curve. But, again, there are those you can hire to help.

#2: Publish an Ebook


Ebooks get a message into an audience’s hands digitally. Some authors publish their writing as both ebooks and in print. In other cases, authors choose ebook publication instead of print, seeing digital publishing as faster and easier.


  • Ebooks require no inventory storage Your audience can download your ebook from Amazon or your own website and start reading immediately.
  • Ebooks can give readers live links by which to connect with you in response to what they’re reading. Strike while the iron is hot!
  • Ebooks can safely be shorter than print books. The thin spine of a short printed book looks emaciated on a bookstore shelf. By contrast, no one hefts an ebook and judges it as too lightweight to be valuable.


  •  Poorly-crafted ebooks have damaged the reputation of the format. Make yours break the mold.
  • Digital content isn’t tangible. No one waves an ebook over their head and shouts, “You’ve got to read this book!”
  • Sales of ebooks peaked in 2011, according to this article. By contrast, it reported, “Paperback sales were up 7.5% over the same period, and hardback sales increased 4.1%.”

#3: Emails and Newsletters


When a reader gives you permission to talk with them regularly, make sure you deliver real value each and every time. Segment your email/newsletter list according to their needs or interests. Then you can give each defined audience the piece of your story that will resonate with them best.


  • This communication is permission-based. It’s the difference between cold-calling and returning a call.
  • Regular contact keeps you in mind. You maintain a connection that may spark a desire to engage on a deeper level at the perfect time.
  • These can be brief, time-sensitive, and personalized. Tell readers what’s up with you, and explore how that may benefit them today.


  • Somebody has to write the content. Consider who on your team can contribute.
  • You may need help setting up your email opt-in system, creating a lead magnet, and possibly automating your email sequence.
  • Your audience may be a mix: some want snail-mail; some want email Can you manage that?

#4: Work up a White Paper


Share your knowledge of the problems your audience faces, and “why” (there it is again!) you provide this solution. That’s a white paper. (See college students’ examples here.)


  • White papers showcase your sensitivity to your audience’s needs and a desire to help. They dart to the heart of “courting” your audience.
  • White papers give logical reasons for people to partner with you.
  • Your white paper can be downloaded from your website, printed as a handout for a meeting, or distributed in a variety of ways that suit your audience.


  • White papers require research. Research translates into time.
  • White papers can easily slide into being overly formal or too salesy. Keep your objective clear.
  • The singular focus may be too narrow for your purposes.

For some great pointers when and how to white papers, read this.
#5: Create a Case Study


According to one PR firm, “You could say a case study is a portrait of a profitable relationship between your company and a customer… They showcase a real world example of a product or service in action.”


  • Case studies are like testimonials. They demonstrate the difference you’ve made in a specific situation.
  • Case studies let readers walk through the steps you took with another customer/client and see how your work paid off.
  • Like white papers, they can be distributed in many ways.


  • Case studies require interviewing customers/clients. Gaining permission to interview and to publicly share your report can be tricky in some fields. To brush up on your interviewing skills, check out my post on that topic.
  • You must walk the tightrope of telling the previous customer’s story while appealing to your future customer.
  • A case study can come off sounding like a research report. Make sure this is information your audience needs.

#6: Optimize Your Website Pages


Your website provides a natural setting for sharing your story. Check out this fine example at the James J. Hill Center’s History page. But don’t confine your story to one page. Because your story is your “why,” and that should infuse all the pages of your site.


  • A page stands “fixed” on your site. Promoted elsewhere (e.g., social media, in print) they give visitors a place to land when they come looking for a piece of your story that interests them.
  • Pages are flexible, easily updated as needed.
  • Pages are highly accessible. Written with good SEO in mind, they can attract attention from around the world.


  • Website pages can be neglected. Schedule regular audits of your content to keep your pages updated as your story evolves.
  • Pages are brief. You’ll need other promotional assets to deliver more in-depth information.
  • Website design and maintenance require having someone on your team with the tech skills and time to make it happen.

#7: Build a Blog


Brainstorm a list of topics your audience wants to know about, related to what you do (and, of course, why you do it). Schedule those topics into an editorial calendar to keep you writing regularly. Create compelling posts that turn your audience’s attention to various facets of your work, one shining example at a time.

Check out this article for pointers on good blogging technique.


  • An active blog keeps growing your searchable online content stream. (In human-speak, that means the more you write, the more chances people will find you.)
  • Blog posts can share your timely response to current events, like this piece from Samaritan’s Purse.
  • Blog posts give you a place to send readers from your social media channels or from other blog posts.
  • Blog posts can vary in length, depending on your objectives.


  • Frequent, consistent posting takes persistence. And it may take a dedicated staffer.
  • Comments open the door to conversation with your audience. (Yay!) But someone has to be ready with responses that are timely and consistent with your brand and voice. (Hmm…)
  • It’s easy to slip into creating lightweight blog posts unless you aim for consistently creating real value for your reader.

#8: Print Promotional Pieces


Next we come to brochures, rack cards, flyers, posters… even business cards with your succinct tag line. These and other print pieces can put your story firmly in your target audience’s hand.

Two factors determine where placing a paper form of your brand story would pay off: the nature of your niche and the circumstances in which your audience will be open to your message. Will they look for someone like you at a conference? At a bus terminal? In an elevator? At a doctor’s office? In a catalog?

Imagine the possibilities. Then put your story there.


  • Print pieces are tangible. No one has to remember a website when the paper’s in hand.
  • Print pieces deliver short-to-medium length glimpses of you, your business, or organization
  • Print pieces can be re-purposed as downloads from your website, too, the way this museum used their pdf brochure.


  • There are both design and printing costs.
  • If the information changes, updates require edits and a new print run.
  • Use print materials judiciously, or you’ll only be paying to clutter trash cans.

#9: Engage on Social Media


Social media gives you a chance to gather a community around your story. Find the platforms where your audience spends time, and initiate interactions.

Make use of the “social” nature of social media to open dialogue. Go beyond speaking and practice listening. Ask questions and pay attention to the answers people give. You’ll get to know your audience, and they will see you care—if you respond thoughtfully.


  • Social media posts can be very brief, such as this Twitter post:

  • You can drive your social audience to your website through strategic links to your content.
  • Social media can connect you with a network of related businesses or organizations.


  • Social interactions can’t be “set-it-and-forget-it.” You have to monitor your audience’s responses to your posts.
  • You also need to respond to audience comments. Plan a policy for dealing with negative feedback, especially.
  • Brevity does not equal simplicity. As Blaise Pascal once said, “I only made this letter longer because I had not the leisure to make it shorter.” Writing a post that is both good and short takes work.

#10: Video and Podcasts


Audiences are increasingly interested in visual content. And if the visuals move and talk, all the better. Social media platforms often give video postings higher priority.

But social media is only one platform for video. For instance, try embedding video on your website and your blog posts.


  • Motion and sound convey energy and life. They grab attention in a way text and still images just can’t.
  • Hearing and seeing you, your audience will feel more connected to you as a person. And “people buy from people” as the marketing saying goes.
  • Podcasts let your audience receive your message even while they are busy doing things like driving, working out, or washing dishes.


  • Recording top-notch video or podcasts requires good equipment.
  • Production requires time and talent, for both delivery and content creation.
  • Not all products or services easily lend themselves to video/podcasting promotion. Be creative!

How Will You Tell Your Story?
Out of the ten best ways to tell your story, which ones should you choose? I’ll close with three pointers.

First, consider these two factors:

  1. Your audience’s favorite forms of communication
  2. Your capacity to communicate in their favorite forms

Second, notice I said “which ones should you choose…” Don’t think of your story formats in separate boxes; let them flow from one form to another. For example, compile blog posts into an ebook. Turn key points from your white paper into blog posts. Pull compelling lines from your book and send them to social media to start a conversation.

Third, in every story you tell, let your why connect you with the people who value what you’re all about.

Ready to tell your story,
but feeling the need for a little help?

That’s what I’m here for.
Let’s talk about how I could help you.

Start working with Karen today

Today could be the day your load gets lighter.
Ask Karen Ingle to make that happen.

The Woman Behind Karen Ingle Freelance
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