When crafting a good story, we often start by coming up with a main character. We work on developing someone who is reliable and likeable overall. But as you focus all of your attention on the “who,” are you forgetting about the “why?” When telling an engineering story, this is especially important.
Anyone who’s ever had to sit through a one-sided conversation about somebody else’s life can probably attest to the fact that it sucks (the conversation – not the other person’s life). As they drone on and on about all the amazing things they’ve done, you’re likely rolling your eyes and silently asking, “why?”
So, how can you avoid becoming the person nobody really wants to listen to online? It all comes down to the way you approach storytelling within your engineering firm.
Invert Your Pyramid (again)
If your main function at work is writing, chances are you’ve taken at least one journalism class that taught you about the inverted pyramid. When telling an engineering story, the overall structure will stay the same – most important information is on top, less important details in the middle, and least important at the bottom. Easy, right? The question is, are you sure of which information is actually the most important?
Who is the Important “Who” in Storytelling?
When developing an engineering story, think about whom you want to target, and what you want them to do. The “who” you should be focusing your attention on is your audience – not the person or brand you’re trying to promote. Remember that one-sided conversation from above? It’s no fun for the person on the other end.
So instead of writing stories about your company, think about problems your audience might be having and how you can help solve them. Research terms that people are searching for online, and develop content around that. Typically, people go to search engines to find answers. If you’re creating stories that provide those answers, you’re more likely to get the attention you’re looking for.
Here, we’ve pulled together the major pitfalls to avoid when creating content — take a look at the five things nobody wants to read about:
As an engineering firm, you are special. You make the magic happen within the company and the industry. You know this. But you’re not winning fans or followers by touting this fact. Unless you have concrete evidence in the form of awards or certifications, you’re better off explaining how the process helps others, and why it’s important. And if you do have awards and certifications, use that information to support the greater story at hand, whatever that is. Don’t use it as a stand-alone story.
Everyone believes they offer the highest quality products (hopefully). For this reason, your readers are seeing these terms being thrown around everywhere. Ultimately, saying that you have “high quality” products really doesn’t amount to much. It’s not something that can be easily represented or proven online. Again, if you have awards or certifications, feel free to mention those and let your audience draw their conclusions based on that.
You offer exceptional customer service? Awesome! Now how does that really set you apart from all of your other competitors? Nobody is going to write that they have room for improvement in the customer service department, so anything that you say about your own customer satisfaction will be taken with a grain of salt. Testimonials are good to highlight, but for the most part customers are looking for someone who can do the job they require. Instead of talking about your great service, just be sure to provide it when people choose to interact with you or ask for more info.
You should always strive to deliver your products and services on time. But even if you’re really good at doing this, it’s not exactly a selling point. This is just another thing that you should be doing anyway.
So, you’re honest? Whew, that’s a relief! Nobody wants to work with a dishonest engineering firm, right? Well, that’s true, but how do you prove that you are, in fact, trustworthy? Stay away from generalized characteristics that can’t be backed up by any hard data.
Now that you know what NOT to do when telling an engineering story, you might want to get more information and tips that should be implemented in your writing.