Values + Value: Blogs as storytelling labs

Blogs are great testing grounds for honing our storytelling craft, and should be a place to play with the types of stories we tell and the way they’re delivered.

Once you’ve identified the goals of your blog and figured out who your audience is (Session 1), choose and experiment with your stories from a place that makes use of your values and your value. Here are a couple of methods to work with:

Values + Change = Public Narrative. I’m pretty obsessed with Marshall Ganz’s Public Narrative, and it’s likely because the formula is fairly easy to understand (not to mention that we Canucks can be suckers for all-things-associated-with-Obama’08). Geared towards campaigners, this is a 3-step process of weaving together personal, community and campaign stories as a way of communicating shared values and vision.

Think about the ‘values framework’ that you’re operating in by answering a few questions about the campaigning post you’re writing:

Why do I care? From Ganz’s Story of Self, build trust with your audience through a story that tells them who you are and why you care -  where you’re from, how you got into your work, and why you’re passionate about this issue. Alternately, share the source of your motivation – tell the story of the person, animal or place that keeps you focused and energized.

Why do we care? Also called the Story of Us, create a link between the values that the above story exemplifies (hard work, protection, equity) to those of your audience – tap into their interests, cares and motivations.

What can I do? This Story of Now creates the opportunity for your reader to connect their vision for the world with a real-world moment. It gives them the chance to be part of the change – as a funder, an advocate or a volunteer.

Connecting these opportunities that we’ve created for our audience together, we begin to create a picture of valuable engagement and hopefully victories – and these engagement and campaign stories need to be captured and shared.

Value + Facts = Impact. We are stepping away from telling people the problems of the world through policy jargon and big, complex numbers and finding ways to show them what’s going on through compelling stories. When we can create value for our audience by making our data and research more accessible and interesting, we can scale up our campaign’s impact. Here are a few questions, whose answers can deepen our effectiveness:

What’s our campaigning niche? Our strengths are visible in our past successes, and these success stories offer a wealth of insight into who we are and what we do best. When we embrace this reputation and align it with the change we are now seeking, we’re more likely to gather the supporters we need.

What does success look like? When we can combine our critical analysis with the more vulnerable act of sharing our vision for the future, these stories can help define the nature of the victories we are seeking. They can rally and motivate those in positions of power willing to support your analysis and vision, and put those blocking progress on notice as to what change will look like.

How are we being heard? Testing the variations of our stories with our key audiences, incorporating their feedback and learning from small failures gives us the

It’s our stories that make us interesting – they demonstrate the value we bring to our work and community, and they help to illustrate our individual, organizational and collective values. But how do we know which stories will best communicate our effectiveness, resonate with our audience and motivate them? It’s an ongoing writing, listening and learning process, and blogging can be your learning lab.

This post was originally published by the author on Blogging for People Who Should, a 5-part workshop on effectively using new media at the Centre for Social Innovation.