Did you know, you have the ability to expand your audience, starting today?
You have a tool available to you that creates deep connection with your fans, clients, and customers and makes them want to come back for more.
It doesn’t take a lot of time, and can be done through virtual platforms, email, or in person, and has the potential to not only attract in more of your perfect audience, but feel amazing to you as well.
This expansive tool is story.
Today I’m going to outline why this is so powerful and effective in helping you to expand your audience, and then give some examples of where story made a huge difference. And we will wrap up with simple ways you can use this starting now.
You may have heard the phrase, “stories connect”, but it’s important to understand why. They connect because they touch the heart. It’s a human connection, one that comes from the inside. Stories are not touching on the intellect, but instead going to more of the core of who we are, our values, and what’s important.
When your audience is listening to a story, they are searching for themselves IN the story. They are taking in every word to see where there is something you SHARE.
Essentially, stories are pointing to a deep human desire, belonging. We all want to belong, which is why isolation is so damaging. Belonging ties us back to ancestral times when we lived in community. It can feel like coming home in your body. When we find something we have in common with another person, it reminds us we belong in some way and we are not alone.
This is the power of story. It is literally a connector, but on a deep level. This is why some fans will go to see the same show over and over again, or memorize the lyrics to their favorite song or poem. This connection is what causes your audience to share your work, which puts you in front of new eyes.
One of my favorite examples of this is Paul McCartney. In 2018, he was on the Late Late Show with James Corden, and being interviewed about one of his most iconic songs, “Let it be.” James was talking about how this song has lived and grown over many decades and seems even more relevant today. Paul began by agreeing he never thought the song would have the life it does and then told this story,
“I had a dream in the sixties, where my mum, who died, came to me in the dream and was reassuring me, saying, ‘it’s going to be ok. Just let it be.’ And I went, ‘oh’ I felt so great. She gave me the positive word. So I woke up and I wrote the song about positivity.”
James was captivated and said, “that is the most beautiful story I have ever heard.” And Paul smiled.
BOTH of them connected through this story. It was touching on something they SHARED. And this song has lived on and grown because it speaks to a positivity that so many can relate to. When people find themselves in “times of trouble”, as Paul wrote, they hear the answer, “let it be.”
This first example is of a large movement, and now I want to give an example of starting small.
This week I’ve been interviewing editors for my debut book, 13, which will be launching next year. This book is about the year I lost everything, and how that one year actually became the beginning of a whole new life that led me to my life partner, and work I love to a global audience. My vision is to share this with as many people as possible. So, having an editor who gets the story and SHARES my vision is vital.
I spoke with a woman yesterday and told her how in one year’s time, I went through a divorce, lost a dear friend to a heart attack, was in two car accidents, and robbed. I told her the story of feeling like my life was burning to the ground, but that from the ashes, I actually created a new life. This fire and destruction cleared the way. She then shared with me that in 2013, she was divorced and wanting to move back to the states, but her husband was refusing to move with the children, so she was stuck. Then they had a fire that consumed their whole property. With everything gone, they moved back to the states, and she was able to not only live and be with her children, but reconnected with an old boyfriend and experience love again.
We both had our “13”. And it all began with me sharing my story.
Remember, expanding your audience includes your support system, your team, and the people who nurture and promote your work.
So whether you are sharing your story with your audience, or with potential team members, it is vitally important because the story acts as the tool for expansion. It takes you from being alone and struggling to being a part of a larger picture, one that is unified in creating the impact you desire.
Here are ways you can use story, both in a small way and on a larger scale to expand your audience:
* Do a video that explains the story of how you came to your work and why it is so important
* Do an introduction post on social media sharing a fun story about you
* On your next email to your list, use a story to explain a teaching point
* Share the story behind your lyrics, visual art, or design
* If you are serviced based, share the success story of a customer or client
* Invite in a collaborator on a live to share the story of what it’s like to work with you, or a fan to share the story of how your work is transforming their life
* On your next networking meeting, share your story to see if it resonates and use that as a guidepost for whether you want to work with them or not
* When giving your next talk or presentation, include a personal story that explains your topic
Trust the power of story and it’s ability to be a connector. It can be a guide as you make decisions for your support system, and the path to attracting in a larger audience. It will also be a wonderful boundary for those who are not a fit for you and your work.
Lead with your heart.
Lead with belonging.
Lead with humanity.
Then your expansion will be life affirming, and allow you to grow in a way that creates the impact you desire.