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Successful storytelling with Valerie Khoo

Get content tips from the founder and national director of the Australian Writers’ Centre

Top tips

  • You don't need to be everywhere on social media. Pick two or three platforms and use them effectively
  • Write like you talk. It's better to be yourself and authentic
  • If you don't like writing then look towards other avenues to create content such as video

About Valerie

Valerie KhooValerie is a multiple award-winning entrepreneur and mentor to businesses and startups. She is founder and national director of the Australian Writers’ Centre, the country’s leading centre for writing courses. Valerie is also author of Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business. Valerie will show you how to leverage the power of social media and content marketing to build your brand and business.

In this interview, Valerie shares her tips on how to develop and share your story:

Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to the business of storytelling?

I've always been passionate about both storytelling and entrepreneurship. And I've noticed how some small business owners have been able to harness the power of storytelling in their own content marketing efforts. But some haven't. They think it's hard.

However, using storytelling in business is not a difficult thing to do at all. So that led me to write the book Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell To Build an Epic Business. I wanted to give small business owners an easy-to-follow guide on exactly which stories they could use to boost their profile and convert their customers.

With so many digital formats to choose from, what advice would you give those trying to find the right platform(s) for their story?

It's important to note that you don't have to be everywhere on social media. No one has the time to do that! Instead, just pick two or three platforms – and use them effectively. As a start, identify the platform where your target market hangs out the most. For example, if prospective customers for your interior decorating business are women who love beautifying their homes, you’re probably going to be on Pinterest and Instagram.

Or determine the platforms that you simply enjoy using the most. Try them out and see which one you find easiest to use. For example, there is no point picking Google+ if you simply hate the interface and if none of your friends are on it.

What are some of the most memorable business stories you’ve heard recently?

Stories about customers are always the ones that stick in your mind. These stories often start with the challenges a customer faces before using a particular product or service, why they decide to try that product/service, and then the transformation that results.

What about people who don’t like or aren’t very effective at writing?

First, it's not hard. Just write like you talk! Be yourself and be authentic. If you still think this is difficult, hire a copywriter who can capture your 'voice' and attitude. Alternatively, remember that you don't necessarily have to write. You might be more comfortable creating video content on YouTube as a way to tell your stories!

What three resources do you turn to regularly for guidance, networking or inspiration?

  •  I'm one of the mentors in this program but I regularly learn new ideas from the other mentors and from this dynamic entrepreneurial community
  • various podcasts about entrepreneurship (I love learning about new business models and smart marketing techniques while I'm listening in the car or doing the laundry, it's very efficient.) Just search for 'small business' in iTunes and find one that resonates with you
  • the Australian Businesswomen's Network  has wonderful online training for small business owners.

What can we expect from your presentation at Small Business BIG marketing?

You'll leave with a clear understanding of why storytelling and content marketing is so vital for your business if you want more customers. And, most importantly, you'll leave with definite ideas and a valuable blueprint so that you can implement your own content marketing plan immediately.