Is there a better way to get alignment on the brand storytelling content plans inside your organization; and reduce push-back and future revisions? Yes, and Sarah Panus shares advice and insights from her nearly 20 years of experience.
Today, I’m sharing the two “tools” you need to help you get alignment on your content plans. Get your pen and notepad ready.
It’s storytime friends. And, I’m wondering if you’ve ever experienced this same feeling.
You’ve just shared a content idea or plan with people at your company. You know– the people who have the power to help make it happen or suck the life out of the idea. I’ll call them the big kahuna. You’re really excited about your plan, because you see how it aligns to what your org wants to talk about. It feels like it should be a no-brainer. But, mid-way through the conversation, your mind is puzzled, thinking “What the heck is happening? I feel like I’m completely blind-sided here.” The big kahuna doesn’t love your idea. They’re questioning the basis of it, and asking a lot of questions and sharing different priority areas that they’d rather talk about instead. What?! You thought you were all on the same page, but apparently there’s a miscommunication somewhere. Has something like this ever happened to you?
WHY AREN’T THEY STICKING TO THE PLAN?
Or maybe you’re like Amelia (not her real name)—who recently confided in me that she’s frustrated because just when she thinks her content plan is finished, people switch gears and stop following the plan.
So Many Requests Coming At Us From ALl Directions
Or maybe you’re like Tabitha (again, not her real name) who also confided in me that she gets overwhelmed leading her Content team at a large brand because there are so many different requests coming at her from across the organization that it’s hard to wrangle everyone.
Huh? Huh? Can you relate to any of these feelings?
2 things at the root of these frustrations
I know I can. Earlier in my career on the corporate side, I experienced this too. And, the frustration always boiled down to 2 things: 1) a lack of up-front alignment across ALL the key decision makers; and 2) a lack of clarity about what the storytelling priorities were. It’s a sucky situation to be in that can really drain all the creative juices inside of you. BUT— all is definitely not lost. OK? Stick with me here.
There IS a way to get alignment on your content plans and ideas sooner. To set the stage so you feel less frustrated. less overwhelmed. And more empowered in your role. Yup. And, that’s what I want to talk about today. Because the root cause of all of this is tied to lack of up-front alignment and lack of clarity around your storytelling pillars we need to unpack that to get to the solution.
2 tools that can help you
The two tools that will help you get alignment on your content plans AND clarify your storytelling priorities are 1) A brand storytelling framework and 2) strategic allies.
What is a brand storytelling blueprint?
What is a brand storytelling framework? It’s an overarching blueprint for your storytelling strategy plan that outlines 5 key things from which all of your storytelling content will fall under. Top-level it includes: your overarching objective, details on your audience or audiences, your 3 prioritized & focused storytelling pillars (this is the biggest part), your storytelling tone (huge to align on in case you want to be quirky but others don’t), and a sample content calendar to help bring it to life for people.
Next, you need allies. Make a list of who your key decision makers are. Then, make a list of who else will benefit from your storytelling efforts in your organization. Who is the leader of those groups? BEFORE you ever show your framework to the big kahuna— you’re going to run it by each of these allies first. Get their feedback. What are their objections? Listen. What gets them most excited about it? How can you work together to address multiple business objectives with your brand storytelling strategy… which you outline in your framework. Be honest with them about any concerns of questions you may have. Or, help you may need in selling in a new idea that you’re all excited about, but it might take some extra prodding to get the big kahuna there. These conversations are so insightful too, because these other leaders will give you feedback on things they’re hearing; so it helps you hone your brand storytelling plan to be the most impactful.
I know, it’s extra work up-front, but I PROMISE you it works. This is a key thing I learned from the past two decades of work. This is how I sold in new crazy ideas when I was on the corporate side. This is how I got approval to build a Social Command Center in the organization. This is how I got approval to keep growing our social team on the corporate side. This is how I sold-in a whole new, first-of-its-kind online program. Or how my team was the first to get standing desks in the whole company. Why? Because when the time comes to present your idea to the big kahuna, you know you have a brand storytelling framework that’s supporting multiple functions across the org; you’ve fine-tuned the language in it to reflect that; and you can even invite some of those key allies with you when you’re presenting for back-up. In fact, the crazier and newer your idea is, the more allies you need; and if you can invite them to the decision mtg discussion, do it. There’s strength in numbers. Also, your allies get excited because instead of it just being something you’re sharing; it turns the discussion into a shared idea that you’re all excited about. Where multiple parties have skin in the game around it.
do this first
If you could use more alignment, and less overwhelm, frustration or confusion—I highly recommend creating a brand storytelling framework first. Think of it like building a house. You can’t forget to pour the foundation when you build a house. The house will fall down. Well, the brand storytelling framework is like the foundation of your house. You need it before you can build and add-on that enclosed deck you’ve been dreaming about.
If you want to learn more about creating your own brand storytelling framework, I want to help make the process much smoother for you, so you don’t have to fumble through it like I did years ago. In my business, I really want to help fellow communicators like you who are working inside of, or running your own brands.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BRAND STORYTELLING COURSES FROM SARAH PANUS TO HELP ADVANCE YOUR SKILLSET, REDUCE CONFUSION & OVERWHELM
SO– I’m so excited to announce that I’m launching my first online course called Brand Storytelling Blueprint that has an already-designed plug-n-play ppt template to help you quickly and affordably create your own brand storytelling framework from start-to-finish. A limited number of people also get the opportunity to be coached directly by me through a live, private 1:1 video call where you and I review and discuss the framework you create for your brand using the template I give you and teach you how to use.
We’ll dig in, and I’ll become your behind-the-scenes coach providing feedback to help make it even stronger; including thought-starters to think about; and answers to your questions. Visit kindredspeak.com/waitlist to learn more about when my Brand Storytelling Blueprint course launches AND as a thank you for joining my waitlist to learn more—I’ll send you a free template that guides you through how to repurpose content across your channels—so you actually have more content without more work.
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Are you signed up for my Kindred Speak newsletter yet? I share tips and stories to help anyone working in a brand storytelling/content marketing/comms role. Sign up to join on my website at kindredspeak.com—sign-up section near the top of my homepage. For signing up, you’ll receive a free copy of the 5 Essentials Every Brand Storytelling Framework needs to help you reduce overwhelm and confusion. SIGN UP HERE
Sarah Panus has nearly 20 years’ experience helping billion-dollar brands drive leading ROI through brand storytelling. Sarah is a Minnesota mama, content strategist, podcast host of Marketing With Empathy, and owner of Kindred Speak LLC. She’s on a mission to humanize brands; help content marketers reduce overwhelm/confusion; and raise money to fund child trafficking rescue missions. She spends her days working 1:1 with brand clients, and is newly getting into the online course space where she’ll teach you how to think like an Editorial Director, and build winning brand storytelling strategies. Follow Sarah on Instagram or LinkedIn as she helps brand content marketers who struggle with overwhelm or confusion at work. Learn more at www.kindredspeak.com.