On a recent trip to Vancouver Island in Canada I was delighted to meet up with Richard de Candole.

Richard was a columnist for the Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper writing a weekly column called “Rural Roots” that documented life on his acreage in Whiskey Creek, British Columbia, about 8 miles out of the picturesque village of Qualicum Beach.  The column was intended to provide an insight into country living, island style and I remember reading it with fascination on a number of visits.

The reason for mentioning it here was that the column (with the highlights available in a book called “Rural Roots: The Trials and Triumphs of a Back-To The-Lander”) is a perfect example of how the everyday can become the out of the ordinary.

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As an accomplished newspaperman Richard understood the process of defining and developing a story but the key lesson is that the things you take for granted, the stuff going on around you every day, often the smallest events or issues are of more interest to other people than you can possibly imagine.

Amongst the topics tackled by Richard we have the taste of home raised chicken, a visit by the farm health inspector, the menace of mink and filling the fish pond. Each topic has been developed into an article of around 8 – 10 paragraphs – perfect blog length – by describing what happened, considering the impact on the local situation and looking at any broader implications.

The same process can be applied to any business or organisation. The key is to recognise that your experience is unique.  What happens to you and the way you respond is different to other people, which provides scope for saying something of interest or value.  These stories are a powerful way to project the strengths of your business and the reasons why people deal with you.  They are far more compelling than straight news items and case studies.

I returned to the UK with a signed copy of Richard’s book, which I can highly recommend.  Sadly however it is only available from a few select locations on Vancouver Island. Perhaps I can persuade Richard himself to set up his own blog to continue with the story of his Whiskey Creek farmstead so more people can share it.

Gareth Edwards

Arrowsmith Marketing – Helping you tell compelling business stories