Your backstory is one of the most inviting and reassuring aspects of your marketing strategy. It’s time to stop wasting its power and begin using it to attract clients who want to connect with you.
Has this ever happened to you – with someone you’ve just met?
You meet someone for the first time, and BAM! you just don’t like them?
Snap judgment. There’s no rational reason for your response. It’s an instant
You can wonder about it. Was it their voice, their attitude, or
something they did? Maybe they remind you of someone else…who knows.
Then, you learned more about them. Perhaps they mentioned a shared
interest or a common friend, or a life experience you’ve also
You may start to have some empathy, or you see them a little
differently. You begin to re-evaluate your impression of them.
Why does that happen?
It’s because you discovered something about them with that resonates
with you. And so, your impression of them shifts because there’s the start of a
This is a common human behaviour.
This can happen to your clients when they first meet you whether it’s
through social media or in person.
How do you limit this risk?
Start using your storytelling skills to write your backstory to attract
your dream clients.
We are wired for stories.
Stories are our way of communicating ideas, beliefs, emotions,
arguments. We use them without realizing it in everyday conversation (and
ideally, in your marketing materials).
Storytelling is gentle. It lets you share without preaching, let’s you
find common ground instinctively, and great stories influence millions.
Storytelling works because it requires the listener or reader to use
And in self-development, how do people start to change? By imagining
something different in their life.
A story you need to use in your marketing is your backstory.
What’s a backstory?
A backstory in business is an authentic telling of an event that
influenced you in such a powerful way that it permanently shaped how you
experience your life.
Let’s break it down.
First, you have a reason for doing what you’re doing in business, right?
It could be:
- you’re called to help people with lifestyle changes that can open up their worlds, or
- you’re drawn to charitable work because you want to ‘even-out the playing field, or
- you’ve found a healthier approach to body image, or
- you want to change something in this world…
Hopefully, your business is a passion in your life. It’s not your only passion, but it’s a powerful one. Your business is a choice you’ve made as a result of your personal experiences.
Now, how do you move that passion and experience in a professional way to your marketing materials? Write a story.
Write your backstory – or two.
If you’re working with a copywriter to help you, they’ll interview you
to find your story. They know how to make you backstory meaningful to
your clientele – because that’s who it’s for.
If you’re doing this yourself, set aside some quiet time to reflect on
You can explore why you’ve chosen the path you’re on. Find the ‘AHA’ moments
that brought you to where you are today. Then you write this experience as a
story – not a sermon, not a lecture. Just a story.
Remember, stories have shape and form. Be sure to include the basics of
- a beginning, middle and end
- a hero who has a challenge or two
- use emotions
- write in the current tense, and
- show, don’t tell
The power of your backstory in branding and marketing
Let’s look at the backstories of a few celebrities.
Tony Robbins has a well-known backstory.
He talks about his early years, the abuse, the poverty, the massive
failures life threw his way…and he talks about how those experiences caused
him to reach a turning point.
If you don’t know the backstory you might think: 1. What an ego. 2. What
a genius 3. What a charismatic man, or something else! Everyone will have
a different opinion.
But, once you know the backstory you see his drive to help as many
people as possible is rooted in his determination to spare others from
experiences such as his, to help people move forward into a healthier
Or, check out Bill Gates’ documentary on Netflix and you get a glimpse
into how he perceives his purpose in the world. You’ll gain insight as to why
he’s driven to use his billions to make once unimaginable changes to help
thousands of people live healthier lives.
Perhaps, the backstory is built from a near-tragedy. Executive coach
Brendan Bouchard talks about his car accident, and how it changed his
direction. The crash, which almost killed him, opened his eyes and mind to
living a purposeful and successful life.
Or Canadian ‘Man in Motion’ Rick Hansen. As a teen he acquired a severe
spinal cord injury in a pick-up truck accident. He’s dedicated his life’s work
to improving the lives of people with spinal cord injuries through advocacy,
research and leadership.
All powerful. All real. All authentic.
Do backstories have to be a traumatic experience?
Of course not. But your backstory needs to show it was life changing to
Maybe it was the first time you saw a masterpiece or heard an orchestra,
sailed a boat or ran a marathon? No matter what ‘it’ is that motivated
you to become the professional you are, its impact is part of your
Each of us has a life filled with moments of greatness, moments of
humiliation, moments of glee. Everyone has stories about their lives.
Those stories shed light on who they are and why they do what they do.
What story can you share about you?
Why use a backstory as part of your marketing?
Alright. Maybe, you’re thinking “No. I don’t want to talk about my
personal life” or “Nope. It’s blurring a boundary. I’m here for clients, they
don’t need to know about me.”
But, here’s the emotional reason to use a backstory.
Your clients need to trust you, believe in you, and feel safe with you. Let’s remember, you’re one of thousands of professionals competing in the marketplace.
People need as many reasons as possible to call you instead of someone
else. When you develop your backstory, it becomes a bridge to your
When your (potential) client reads your story, you’re no longer a
complete stranger. They can discover some common ground with you. You’ve opened
to door to finding people who will resonate with you. And likewise, you with
You might also think “Why not just rely on facts and statistics as a
backstory why does it have to be personal?”
Successful marketing in the self-help/personal growth industry reaches
the heart, and then the logical brain.
Remember, we humans are wired for stories. It’s how we’ve communicated
When your backstory is authentic and well-written it shows you to be
human and approachable. It reassures your client.
That’s what clients are wanting.
And, what are you waiting for? Start writing!