According to Authentic Storytelling, a success story is something positive that has happened. A new donor made a significant donation and helped your organization reach a fundraising goal. Your company doubled the amount of people it helped through your community service initiatives. You solved a problem that has been plaguing your industry.. You made an impact in a community that was desperate for support.
Whatever your success story is, too often we are too humble about our achievements. We often mistake sharing our success stories for bragging—and while there’s fine line to walk, there are authentic ways to tout the impact you’re making. Your organization exists to make a difference, and in order to do so, you need to bring in customers, clients and donors. And in order to do that, you need to motivate your target audiences to engage and get involved. When we hit a milestone or major goal, it’s time to pick up the megaphone and tell the world – after all, the more people who know about who you are and what you do, the more who can get involved as champions for your cause.
Here are four ways to leverage your impact stories and tout the good work you’re doing for the world.
- Put the news on your website
A little of a no-brainer here…Whether you blog about your success stories or have a customer success story page or case study page on your website, the first place you should be sharing your successes is there. These stories should be added to the website so it can serve as a repository and formal record for company news. If your website’s purpose is to serve as a portfolio/general branding and information (in addition to a lead generator), housing impact stories there is a great place to start to build the brand story about your organization.
To make your success stories lead generators, tout your impact in a formal case study format or report and then create downloadable content like a “how to guide” or white paper that reinforces your success story. For example, if you recently raised money for your nonprofit or a community initiative, write a summary of your experience for your blog and then create a PDF downloadable guide with details of how you did it successfully so others can replicate it and avoid reinventing the wheel, in exchange for their email address and name. Now, you’ve captured interest from your target audience and received their lead information to share more impact stories with them.
- Incorporate success stories into speaking gigs
Thought leadership reins supreme in terms of building credibility for your organization. If you’re actively speaking at events and conferences, reference examples of how your organization has made an impact and detail the steps you took to get there. Your audience will understand your methodology and appreciate real-world applications of the topic you’re speaking about. Others can learn from your story and see/hear that something is possible because it’s been done well. They may even feel inspired. Again, it adds credibility to your expertise and shows audiences that you not only know what your talking about, but you have proof points to back it up.
- Use your impact stats and stories as reference points and examples during media opportunities
If you have a media outreach strategy that includes securing feature stories of your business expertise, or you’re working with an outside agency, consider sharing stories of your success during media interviews and as examples in contributed articles. Third party reports of your success stories are never considered bragging at that point—it’s recognition of your efforts.
Readers, viewers and listeners love stories with impact. When you have the media microphone, it’s an opportunity to plug your successful experiences and it validates your key messages.
- Talk about the difference you’re making!
You’ve blogged about your success stories, shared them during speaking engagements, used them as examples in contributed articles—great. A final way to reinforce for organization’s credibility? Simple: Remember to talk about them in everyday conversation with your target audiences. If you’re in a new business meeting, trying to upsell a project, prospecting for new donors or board members or simply touching base with a loyal customer, those authentic conversations are great opportunities to tout your success.
It may seem a little weird to “turn the mirror on yourself” when you’re trying to give genuine advice to a prospect or new donor, but if you do it right, your audience will appreciate that you’ve taken a moment to share your impact story, and that will give , them a better understanding of your success and why YOU are the organization to invest in.
Remember, results don’t typically speak for themselves, unless you put them “out there.” Your organization exists to do good and people want to connect with those who are making a difference. Help them get to know you and join the cause by telling them what you’re doing!
Rhiannon Hendrickson is the founder and CEO of Orapin Marketing + Public Relations, which helps purpose-driven businesses increase awareness and attract clients and partners. She has worked with organizations of all sizes across myriad sectors to develop memorable and effective communications programs that generate awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for those that are making a meaningful impact.