Backstory, Authenticity & Drama: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Reality TV

I enjoy reality talent television. Even if you don't there's an essential element of reality TV that every small business can all learn from.

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I enjoy reality talent television.

Even if you don’t there’s an essential element of reality TV that every small business can all learn from.

I especially enjoy watching ‘The Voice’ a vocal competition series featuring four celebrity musician coaches. It suits my idea of fair play because I too, think society places too much emphasis on what people look like. But what really has me “hooked” is the backstory of each contestant.

Meant to lend depth to the singers plight, their dramatic revelation of secrets, life struggles, and factors leading up to their presence on the show draws you in.  The show’s producers generally share a segment where the singer gets to pull at viewers “heart strings” — invoke the audience to care. It’s good TV — in fact, in reality television the backstory has proven to be the “money shot.”

Backstories, Authenticity and Marketing

A compelling backstory creates an opportunity for the person telling the story to make us care — pull out all the stops and root for them. The more tragic the story the better. The bigger the struggle the more we are mentally “all in.”

But sharing a backstory in life and business requires retrospect — recalling an event that shaped our desires, courage and path.

Today’s communications landscape in business often requires the same. Sharing your personal or company backstory is important because it humanizes you — makes you and your company “real.” Many consumers conduct business with you because a certain level of transparency has built trust — the public feels as though they know you a bit better.

However, some business owners are hesitant to share how they started their businesses. Despite the advantages of sharing a backstory, something is holding many entrepreneurs back.

What’s Holding You Back from Sharing Your Backstory?

Let’s take a candid look at what’s possibly keeping your business from developing a more transparent and authentic approach to your marketing strategies by sharing a backstory.

1. You’re Lazy

There you go. I said it. Harsh? Possibly. But let me explain.

For example, I’m launching a new networking site for solopreneurs and entrepreneurs. In a template I ask them to describe three things:

a. Why they started their business.
b. How they came across the name for their business.
c. What they love about their customers.

One of my beta testers shared his feedback: “The slide is too long! It will take me time to think about what I want to write, so I didn’t fill it out and honestly I will probably never get back to it.”

I immediately thought to myself, if you can’t tell me why you are in business — even a simple elevator pitch — you’re probably not going to be in “it” for long. But I did thank him for his feedback.

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