How storytelling as an IT contractor can land you more work at higher rates

Once upon a time, you had a struggling hospitality business which consisted of shepherd huts located on land officially recognised in England as “ancient woodland,” meaning it dated back to 1600.

A cautionary tale (cont.)

While you were vocal to passers-by (online and otherwise) about the ‘huts’ bit, you neglected to mention the more impressive, unique, immovable bit -- which not just any old hut-owner can copy!

Well, once you started getting “ancient woodland” into your marketing, your business flourished and you lived happily ever after. Along with some quite hefty profits!

You couldn’t make it up, could you? And I didn’t have to either, because this exact scenario featured in a recent TV programme (The Hotel Inspector), where “business rescue” is the story.

What is Narrative Marketing?

Narrative marketing is all about this. It’s predicated on how stories can increase engagement and build an emotional connection with people. And it’s something that IT contractors can use for themselves to land technology jobs, work, and commissions -- as my free ‘Art of Storytelling’ webinar on June 17th will outline, step-by-step, writes Matt Craven of The CV & Interview Advisors.

Before I pinpoint what you’ll take away from the online session, some quick facts:

  • A study by the London School of Business found that people retain up to 70% of information shared through stories, compared to only 10% conveyed through facts.
  • Neuroeconomics pioneer Paul Zak discovered that stories that elicit strong emotional responses trigger the release of oxytocin -- a hormone that enhances the sense of trust and empathy.

The power of storytelling (is nothing new)

Now that I’ve just said that facts are a tad ‘Meh’ and stories are the ‘The Holy Grail,’ how about a spot of Game Of Thrones (GOT), or Aesop? From totally opposite time zones, both of these know the power that words and stories possess.

In GOT, a character known for his wit and intellect, Tyrion Lannister, delivers a grand finale speech – (a speech which some of our politicians today uttering platitudes behind their manifestos might do well to remember):

“There's nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken? The boy who fell from a high tower and lived”.

Maybe you’re more the Greek fabulist-type of IT contractor!?

Aesop may well be the most well-known, having written The Boy Who Cried Wolf -- a useful short story parents still recite today, to encourage children to be honest. Those fabulists were experts in using stories to deliver an important message.

Storytelling in business, marketing, the media and entrepreneurship

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is all just a nice page-turner for folk outside of the business world!

Marketing aficionado Seth Godin has said: “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, the American businessman with a cool net worth of a reported $160 million, has said: “Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.”

Oh, and popping up in my LinkedIn feed just recently was a post by respected media consultant and public speaker Jon Card:

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Here is a one-minute thought experiment: 
Choose three people who are very successful in their work or business, or who are very well-known. 
 
They could be an entrepreneur, business leader, celebrity, or sports star. 
 
Ask these three questions: 
 
1. Do they tell stories? 
Have they written a book, made speeches, or given many interviews? Perhaps they use stories to make sales? 
 
2. Is storytelling a central part of their work? 
Perhaps they are actors, podcasters, or influencers of some kind? 
 
3. Do they have a strong personal story? 
Maybe one that you enjoy telling, like an entrepreneur with a powerful founder's story? 
 
My guess is you will have answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions, and perhaps more. 
 
This is why storytelling is so important. 
 
Successful people are almost always storytellers. 
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How storytelling can benefit your freelance contractor business

So contractors, how does this story-telling business relate to your contracting career?

Join my June 17th webinar to find out. Here’s just some of what we’ll cover:

  • How to articulate your career journey in just 3-minutes -- in a story that won’t make your toes curl but will be memorable for the right reasons.
  • How to weave your value proposition and key selling points into your career narrative -- ideal for articulating in person, or in writing such as on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Using case studies (miniature stories) on your CV to potentially double your interview rate.
  • How to storify the Projects section on your LinkedIn profile, thereby giving your career highlights a beginning, middle and end.
  • How to use storytelling in the interview room -- to secure both an offer and the highest possible daily rate.
  • How to use storytelling in cover letters and supporting statements, so all your stories join up into one big compelling story that even a hard-nosed decision-maker will struggle to put down.

Be in no doubt, finding work in 2024 is a marketing exercise. If you’re not found online, and don’t have a compelling (commercial) story once you’re found, then a bit like a not convincing or memorable character in a pot-boiler, you risk fading into the background.

If you are not able to articulate YOUR story and if you are not already using stories to secure work, then you’re missing out. Join our upcoming webinar to get your words down, and make them count!

Thursday 13th Jun 2024
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Written by Matt Craven

Matt is the Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors and Incredibly Linked. He is considered to be a thought-leader in Personal Branding and is regularly engaged as a public speaker to deliver advice and guidance to global audiences on all things related to CV authoring, career advancement, LinkedIn, personal branding and thought leadership.
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