The issue of having something to write about is a key issue for both delegates at training courses I run  (e.g. B2B Centre Social Media training) and consultancy clients.

As I have discussed before people can’t always see the interest in what they do on a day to day basis, because for them it’s routine or they assume that everybody else knows the stuff already.

The place I tend to start when coaxing the stories out of a business is with its customers.  Naturally it’s a focus of interest because the client might be well known or associated with a topical product or service.  It also provides a great starting point to look for details of what the product is that’s being delivered, how it’s provided and what benefits it has brought, for instance.

What I am looking for is not a case study.  It’s really hard to stop case studies drifting into corporate speak.  You know, “Company X was delighted to receive the order from global electronics Y.” To me it’s far more effective to relate what a lot of sales people, in particular, might call a “war story”.

These anecdotes are usually shorter, more natural and more focused on a particular idea.  They have greater resonance with an audience, whether listeners and receivers, and in my experience are far more influential.  The bonus of the war story approach is that they usually contain a lot of implied positive statements.  You have some customers.  They paid you for a product or service.  You did some things that were above and beyond what they expected.

The war story approach usually focuses more on the client than the supplier, which makes it easier to get approval to publish it (you should ask), and because they are meant to be short and snappy they are excellent material for blogs, Facebook notes, website news items, link Tweets etc.

As an example I just wrote a short item for Lewis Smith & Co. (accountants for Halesowen businesses) about the 30th anniversary in business of one of their clients, Bartlams Fitted Bedrooms.  Whilst it’s mainly about Bartlams’ success it does mention what Lewis Smith & Co. has done and there is a testimonial in there too.

Bartlams were delighted to get some additional coverage and Lewis Smith & Co. are pleased to get some plaudits.  I now get the benefit of talking about how I have helped some clients, and both Lewis Smith & Co. and Bartlams get some valuable inbound links.

Everything comes together.

Gareth Edwards
Arrowsmith Marketing – Practical social media training and consultancy