Using journalism basics to tell your story

I am constantly asked by people what they should put on their social media accounts. Oh they know they have to be on social media, they just don’t know Social Media Cartoon by Bruce Outridgewhat to put on it. They ask the advice of others and are told use certain channels for personal use and others for business. They’re told to share a look at their background or their life in general. What does that mean? So they begin the task of taking photos of their lunch, selfies with the dog, or pictures of the neighbourhood squirrel. Some of these will actually get a “like” or two and will encourage them to post even more.

This technique will get you followers or likes, but most likely won’t improve your business. At first it’s fun but over time it gets old. If you are using social media for business then sharing content is much like making a cake. You have to have the right ingredients, mixed in the correct way, and baked at the right time and temperature for success. If you are using social media for personal use only, then keep doing what you’re doing.

Use the basics of journalism to craft your story

Could you imagine a journalist or news reporter going in the field to do a story and all they showed you was a dog in the front yard? At first you would say that’s a cute puppy, but after a while you would be thinking what was the point of the story? Journalists have to present the news, but also tell it in a story to keep the attention of the viewer. In order to do that they use the basics of story telling to find points to tell the story with. These basics are the five “W”s and the “How”. The “W”s are why, when, who, what, where, and then the how. This is also the perfect recipe for social media content. All you have to do is take each of those points and create content based on your business.

Why do you do what you do?

Here is your first piece of content to create. Create a piece of content whether a blog post, video, or audio explaining why you are in the business you’re in. Show the audience that passion that you have for your career and how that can help them with their problem. In fact create all three types of content and you will have future content to share.

Who are you?

Here is the second piece of content you should create. This piece you will be talking about you, but do your best to make it about your audience. You may talk about a problem they have and how your background makes you the right person for the job. You want to let your audience know about your expertise without just talking about yourself the whole time.

What do you do?

This piece of content should talk about what you can do to help those that may be interested in your products or services. What is your product or service? How will your product or service help your audience with the issue they are having. You’re an expert, but on what?

Where do you work?

This is the time to let them see you in your surroundings, on stage, at work, or wherever you do what you do. If you are a professional speaker then you should have images and videos of you on stage. If you work in a studio then shots of you working in the studio would be interesting. If you look at someone like Richard Branson you will see he takes pictures from his island, his planes, team meetings, and retreats. You get a good look at his life without meeting him. Let people know where you work and it will give them an inside look at your world.

How do you do what you do?

This last question gives people another inside look at to how you work. If you are an artist how do you create your paintings? If you are an insurance agent how will you help someone protect themselves. This is also a good place to educate people on your business or expertise so they can see the value of working with you. Just let people know how you will help them.

You can see that if you focus on these six points it will offer questions that you can answer for your audience about what you, your products, or your services. If you aim to create a piece of content per week that will give you six pieces of content if you only answered those questions once. If you created different versions of each question in blogs, videos, and audio form it would give you 18 pieces of content. If you created three different viewpoints of each question that would give you 54 pieces of content. Creating content is easy if you just use the basics of journalism. Try it and see!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is a content creation expert helping people tell their story. Bruce is an artist, author, business consultant, and professional speaker. He produces and hosts two podcasts on business and careers with thousands of listeners, and creates social media content for clients. If you would like to learn more about Bruce then his website www.bruceoutridge.com is the best place to start.

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