We’re all familiar with storytelling in various forms, but you’ve never heard a story quite like this before. Enter from stage right, Brian Fanzo, the Rafiki to our Simba, the Genie to our Aladdin, the wise man who we should really, really listen to. CEO of iSocialFanz, keynote speaker, a visitor to more than 70 countries, and occasional DJ, Brian Fanzo is the voice of reason and the push to action what we all sometimes need. Brian’s tips, strategies, and, of course, stories, are here to help us maximize our storytelling abilities and become better companies along the way.
The Anatomy of a Story
For Brian, a story doesn’t need to be the standard cut of “beginning, middle, end.” While not a bad strategy, a story is more about bringing people along on a journey from Part A to Part B. With that journey as our roadmap, it’s time to cast the characters. Some essential factors for storytelling are that there is usually a hero and a problem. “Usually the consumer is the hero,” Brian tells us. Your audience wants something out of you, and it’s not to be talked at or diminished. When telling your audience a story, Brian emphasizes that we “don’t talk at them, talk with them.” With that, we can build trust, create authenticity, solve a problem, and be remembered with and to our audience.
Think Like A Fan
In order to tell a good story, you have to be aware of who your audience is. And not in a black and white way, but in a nuanced, empathetic way. Sure, you understand a problem your audience member might be facing. But do you know how they came to that problem, or what external factors affect it? There are easy ways to make leaders and executives more in tune with their audiences. Brian makes sure to always ask, “Do you follow your own company on social media? Do you use the technology that you’re putting out?” If the answer is no, hit the damn follow button. To truly understand how your company feels from the outside, you have to put yourself in the shoes of a consumer. With that empathy now in your pocket, you can see for yourself exactly what your audience needs.
Press the Damn Button
All of these pieces of advice are great hypothetical tips that you may not use one day. Only, Brian Fanzo doesn’t do hypotheticals. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, the new piece of information, the new procrastination excuse. Now, don’t think that this is an excuse for sloppy content. The idea isn’t to push out whatever content you have. Rather, have a plan and a strategy but test it through publishing it. If that can seem daunting, remember Brian’s words: “Content isn’t king. Great content is king.” It’s better to create one great thing a week than seven mediocre things. If you’re not sure how to do that, remember these two mindset changes: perfection is a fairytale, and control is an illusion. You’re doing the world a disservice by not putting your amazing ideas out into the world, and we’re dying to see what you can do! If you give your audience access to your world, you will create an interest. People don’t believe companies, we believe other people.
Creating amazing content that you’re proud of can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re on a deadline. Everyone learns differently, and everyone consumes content differently. Maybe she needs to watch a video to fully understand a concept. Maybe listening to a podcast on the subway to work is better for him. Does that mean that you need to create four or five different pieces of content, all of which are incredible? Sure, if you have that kind of time (you don’t, no one does). But you can also try Brian’s nifty trick. For Brian, he has a 45-minute live video every week. From that video, he can take small clips for different social media platforms. He can take the audio from the video and transform it into a podcast. Then he transcribes the podcast into blog posts. From just one video that Brian is proud of, he can cater to his entire audience. If that isn’t magic, we don’t know what is.