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Episode 489: Everything You Need to Know About Brand Storytelling (+How to Communicate Your Challenges) with Shannon Peel

In episode 489, Megan chats to Shannon Peel about how we can craft our business brand story in a unique and engaging way to resonate with the right people at the right time.

We cover information about various aspects of effective business brand storytelling, including finding your core values, determining your voice, mapping out a digital footprint, and so much more.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Guest Details

Connect with Marketapeel
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio Shannon Peel has over 30 years of experience in marketing, sales, advertising, and storytelling. Due to her insatiable curiosity and desire to learn new things, Shannon has a unique skill set enabling her to see how all the pieces of a brand story come together to guide an audience from brand awareness to brand advocacy. She recently published her interactive, multimedia digital book called BrandAPeel: Brand Storytelling in the Digital Age filled with videos, podcast episodes, and downloadable workbooks to help small businesses define their brands and create content to tell their stories.

Takeaways

  • Define Your Core Values: Identify five core values that truly reflect who you are and go beyond surface-level definitions.
  • Brand Storytelling Do’s and Don’ts: Brand storytelling involves narrating your journey, experiences, and values and telling your audience’s story in a way that invites them to connect with your brand.
  • Communicate Your Challenges: When sharing vulnerable stories, it’s essential to shift from a victim mindset to a hero mindset.
  • Maintain a Consistent Brand Voice: It is key to building trust and meeting audience expectations.
  • Map Your Digital Footprint: Understand where your audience hangs out online and create a strategy to meet them there. Conduct a brand audit or involve trusted peers to evaluate your online presence and ensure a cohesive journey from discovery to engagement.
  • Organize Your Content: Consider creating an index or an interactive digital book that guides your audience from one piece of content to the next.
  • Create Year-long E-Newsletters to Sustain Engagement: Develop a series of e-newsletters linked to your digital book, offering readers a continuous stream of content. 
  • Brand Guides for Consistent Messaging: Establish a brand guide detailing voice, fonts, colors, mission, and vision statements.

Resources

Shannon Peel’s Digital Book – Brand Story

Transcript

Click for full script.

EBT489 – Shannon Peel

00:00 – Intro

Food bloggers hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately, help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal or professional. I’m Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire and, most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported. 

00:37 – Megan Porta
Branding is a topic, a concept that we are very familiar with in our space here in food blogging, but I bet you have never thought of it in the way that Shannon Peel presents it in this interview. Shannon is from Market Apeel Agency and she brings a really cool perspective about how to create and define a brand story that defines who you are and also who your audience is. She talks through a handful of ways to do this, including finding your core values, determining your voice, mapping out a digital footprint, and so much more. This conversation really got my wheels turning on the topic of branding, so I think you’ll find this to be a really intriguing conversation. It is episode number 489, sponsored by RankIQ.

01:29 – Sponsor
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02:58 – Megan Porta
Shannon Peel has over 30 years experience in marketing, sales, advertising, and storytelling. Due to her insatiable curiosity and desire to learn new things, Shannon has a unique skill set enabling her to see how all the pieces of a brand story come together to guide an audience from brand awareness to brand advocacy. She recently published her interactive, multimedia digital book called BrandAPeel: Brand Storytelling in the Digital Age filled with videos, podcast episodes, and downloadable workbooks to help small businesses define their brands and create content to tell their stories.Welcome, Shannon. How are you today? 

03:37 – Shannon Peel

I’m doing really well today. How are you? 

03:39 – Megan Porta

I’m doing well. Also, I’m excited to chat about brand stories and how this can positively impact food bloggers’ businesses. But first, we would love to hear if you have a fun back to share about yourself.

03:53 – Shannon Peel
Well, let’s see, I live in beautiful British Columbia, west coast of Canada, and I have the best life because I’ve got my place down in town, Vancouver. I visit my brother in Whistler, visit my parents in the Okanagan. You cannot get a better life than that.

04:11 – Megan Porta
Oh, I love that. I have the best life. I think we should all be saying that about our lives right. That’s such a great thing, and how funny that I’ve interviewed at least two people from Canada today. I think maybe a third. So that is pretty unusual. But go Canada.

04:28 – Shannon Peel
We are different than our cousins from the South.

04:34 – Megan Porta
In the best way.

04:34 – Shannon Peel
You guys are amazing.

04:35 – Megan Porta
I love Canadians so much. Love it.

04:38 – Shannon Peel
You are different but we do have those core values are still so important between both Canada and the States and having that the largest undefended border, it’s a reflection of how we can have two, the big brother and the little brother, and still be peaceful.

05:00 – Megan Porta
Yes, oh my gosh, that was so well said. I love that. So you are going to talk about business brand storytelling and just to give people a little bit of background about yourself. Do you want to talk about your business and how you became interested in this topic?

05:16 – Shannon Peel
I started MarketApeel quite a while ago and it was a marketing agency that was meant to tell other people’s stories to the marketplace, and I quickly found out that the part that I really enjoyed was helping people to define what they wanted to be known for because, although they were in business, although they were creating social media blogs, all that information on their digital footprint, their stories were getting lost.

Who they were and what they did got lost mainly because our brand story online are sound bites and if the audience isn’t going from one sound bite to the next, they only get a piece of the story. It’s like reading a book reading the first couple pages, reading the middle pages, reading the last page, and then creating a book report on what the story is about, and that is how your brand story is being read by the online world. So I started to go more into storytelling how people tell their stories, how people consume stories, interact with each other, interact with brands, what makes connection, what makes us click and it’s been a really amazing, interesting journey into that world. So it all started because people just didn’t know the answer to what you want to be known for.

06:40 – Megan Porta
And you work with people from all niches, I assume.

06:44 – Shannon Peel
Yeah, so I work mainly with professionals and smaller businesses who want to define their brand and connect with their audiences in any English-speaking country. So, as much as I would love to utilize my French, my French is so bad so I have to remain English.

07:07 – Megan Porta
Yes, so you’ve said the term brand story a few times. I don’t think that’s something that we’ve thrown around in our niche. Necessarily. We’ve heard of creating a story defining your brand, but I don’t think we’ve used that together. So how would you define brand story?

07:25 – Shannon Peel
Brand story is the content that you are creating. It’s about who you are, but it’s also about who your audience is. So there’s multiple ways for you to tell your brand story. First, you start with defining it like who are you? What are you at the core? And that means figuring out what your real values are, and not just the values that sound nice, but the values that drive your behavior and your decision making, especially in stressful times because that is how you present to the marketplace. So understanding yourself is important. Then being able to tell the marketplace that’s who you are is the next step in that. And that is how when you use storytelling, when you use the beginning, middle, end, conflict, curiosity, voice and really trying to build that anticipation to connect with your audience, it helps.


Like we’re all brands. We used to call it reputation, but now we call it a brand and if you think of the characters that you watch on TV or that you read in books, they’re all brands. Each character is telling the story of who they are to their audience, and that’s what you’re doing with your brand story. You’re just basically telling people who you are, and that’s the first part of brand storytelling and all you’re going to be talking about I, I did this or I did that and I learned this, and I learned that it’s all about telling stories in the first person. The other side of that is when you are a brand selling something, you have to be able to tell your customers or your audience, their story to them and present your solution as an option for them to choose. So brand storytelling isn’t just talking about who you are. It’s also talking about what your product can do to help others. But you have to be able to bring them into that story by telling the story in the second person, and that’s where I specialize.

09:39 – Megan Porta
OK, that’s so interesting. So how do we start with this? I think this is something that we do a little bit naturally as entrepreneurs. We kind of tell people who we are in many ways, but do you have kind of a breakdown about how to do this, if we feel like maybe we’re questioning have I been doing this or how do I do this?

09:57 – Shannon Peel
Well, yeah, One of the first things I tell people is find your core values. So find five core values that are yours. Now, the first thing is to pick five values, and there’s lists out there with all the values, and you go through and you can check, mark them off. I do have something on my website to help you or in BrandApeel. The second piece of that, though, is now that you may have three to five values picked. Define those words. What do those words mean to you? And this is where you can create content that you can then share on social media, creating what that word means to you and why does that word mean that to you. So courage may mean something to one person, but it means something completely different to another person. The English language, because we’ve learned it as natives. We don’t learn it by reading a dictionary, we just naturally learn it. So the definition of certain words, although it’s similar, it’s not always the same, and that’s how we get miscommunication and misunderstanding. So first figure out what that definition is, then figure out OK, who do I know that possesses that value, how do I know that they possess that value, and write a story about that person expressing that value and why you know that that person may have integrity. That person has integrity because they arrive at every meeting on time. Or that person has the value of family because they put their family before everything else. And I can see that in what they do because instead of working overtime, they go home and take their kids to their hockey game, like my brother. I know my brother puts family first because he will drive two hours to take his kid to hockey three times a week, and work is secondary to his priorities in the fact of his choices he makes every single day, and I can see that in how he interacts with his son and his wife. Now. So once you’ve done that, then do it for yourself. Now, how do you elicit that value or how do you exemplify that value in your day to day? Because a lot of times what we think we know is our value, it isn’t really. And until you go through that exercise, you don’t really know what value you have, what the definition of it is, how you see it out in the world, how others see it in you. Then you can really understand who you are and what you stand for. And once you have all of that, you can start telling stories around those values. Share quotes on social media around those values. Focus your content around those values so that you attract people who share those values, because we intrinsically trust people who are like us.

12:46 – Shannon Peel

Now, in a world of diversity and multicultural, like I’m a Canadian, I live in Vancouver. Multicultural is we have people from all over the world living in Vancouver, to the point where, if you want to go to China, you go to Richmond because all the signs are in Mandarin and you can sit there and people are all talking Mandarin and you feel like you’re in a foreign country. Or Surrey, you go there because everything is in India. So we have these large, huge, diverse groups in Vancouver. Now I can look at them and say, okay, I don’t feel connected to them, I don’t feel like I want to go talk to them or something, because they look different from me.Think about walking into a room of a bunch of different people that you don’t know who’s the first person that you go talk to.


Is it somebody that looks like you or is it somebody that looks different from you? Usually, the answer is that somebody that looks like me because we feel most comfortable with people who look like us. To break that, to create connection with people who aren’t like us, we have to start going beyond our culture or ethnicity or facial color or gender, by talking about what we value, what is important to us, and when we do that, we start attracting people who share those values. And as they come to us and share those values, they will feel connected to us, regardless of our gender, our race or our sexual orientation. If we focus on our stories and that’s how you can build out your audience go beyond the label, go beyond women, go beyond your country, as a definer of your audience is by getting closer to who you are. Food bloggers, it’s natural you’re talking about food and when you talk about the food that you like, you attract people who like that food, regardless of where they’re from. So that is a natural way to embrace more people than just a narrow audience.

14:53 – Megan Porta
I love that you talked about translating it into real world situations, because we can define values and pull out words like oh, I’m, you know, courage, love, whatever, kindness. But then, yeah, like you said, that can mean so many different things, depending on your own experiences and perspectives. So to say like, oh, what, how do I define? Define what courage actually means, well, it means this. Then you can translate that into actual stories that you can incorporate into your writing or to your messaging. That is so powerful. I love that so much because we do a lot of our content is writing. We tell stories all the time, so we need to make sure that we’re aligning those stories with what we actually believe in.

15:41 – Shannon Peel

And who you are, because it’s easier to connect with an audience when they feel connected to you. And if you make a mistake, an audience that feels connected to you is easier to will easily forgive you than an audience that doesn’t feel connected to you.

15:56 – Megan Porta

Yeah, that’s powerful, and like if you have something to offer, too, they’re more likely to trust you and to maybe purchase from you. Or if you start something else, they’re going to follow you over there. They’re going to kind of be your super fans, right?

16:12 – Shannon Peel

Exactly, and once you get your super fans, that’s an easy way to grow your business, because then people are sharing and most people are friends with people who are like them. So it’s just easy. It makes it easier for you to share and grow an audience that is going to identify with you because it’s all about that the movies that we like, the characters that we want to follow on TV or in our books it’s all about whom we relate to. If we relate to them, we want to know more about them, we feel something for them and we feel empathy. We start to feel empathy and that’s really where storytelling comes in. Especially if you’re talking about vulnerable storytelling and getting into those places where you’re talking about the mistakes you made, your weaknesses, your errors. You have to be very careful that when you’re telling those kind of stories, you elicit empathy and not sympathy. Sympathy will slap you in the face. Empathy. Your audience will come with you.

17:18 – Megan Porta

Okay, so how do you differentiate those?

17:20 – Shannon Peel

Okay. So first things that you need to do is determine why are you telling that vulnerability story? What do you want the audience to do? How do you want them to feel? Are you looking for sympathy? And be extremely honest with yourself.

If you’re feeling really bad at that moment and you want people to feel sorry for you, don’t write the story because it will come across as you wanting sympathy, and sympathy is something happens to someone else. We feel bad for that person, but it’s more out of. There’s a lot of fear in it as well. We are scared that that person, okay, that person just lost somebody. There’s been a death in the family. We have sympathy for them; we send them a sympathy card, we bring over a casserole, we go to the funeral, but we don’t want to sit with them too long because we’re scared that their bad luck will rub off on us and we’ll feel worse. We want to get on with our lives. Empathy is when somebody sits there after the funeral and holds the hand and just quietly listens to the person and is there and holds space because we truly understand and truly care.

So you want to be able to tell that story in a way that doesn’t elicit any sort of fear in your audience, any sort of pushback, any sort of oh I feel sorry for you. You want to elicit understanding and reaction of identifying, so you want to be able to tell that story from a place of strength. Okay, so you lost somebody, you had that grief. This is how you dealt with the grief. You really feel bad for this reason because this person was really important to you and why was that person important to you? And, but you were able to move on and you were able to go beyond that because this other person maybe stepped up or you found a tool that worked for you.

19:21 – Shannon Peel

Whatever solution you found and you offer up that solution, then people can empathize with you without fear because they’re not feeling like you’re wanting sympathy. They feel like you’re really telling a story of vulnerability that they can understand. But they don’t have to. There’s no risk. There’s no risk for them as an audience. They don’t have to feel that, feel bad for you. They can hope with you. They can because what you want to listen is that is that feeling of hope in your audience, that feeling of yeah, I could do that too If that happened to me. I could be like that and they admire you for going through it.

19:55 – Megan Porta

So really like a tone of hope and love versus the fear which I think we can all discern as just humans.

20:04 – Shannon Peel 

Fear and pain, you know.

20:07 – Megan Porta

Right, fear and pain. It feels good to talk about things that involve hope and love. It doesn’t feel good to talk about the fear and pain part.

20:14 – Shannon Peel

But when you want to post some things like your boyfriend broke up with you and you feel so bad, you want people to feel bad with you. When you want people to feel bad with you, you want people to feel sympathy for you. That’s not good for your brand.

20:31 – Megan Porta

Right, yeah, that’s a good description. Yeah, but that’s something you feel too. When you prepare to say something or write something, you can kind of feel the feeling behind it. You know whether it’s meant for good or bad. I think most of us can, anyway.

20:47 – Shannon Peel

And I encourage people to write. If you’re feeling bad, like your boyfriend just broke up with you and you feel horrible, write about it in your journal and then you can go back to what you wrote after the feelings of that feeling of pain is gone or at least dampened, and you can go back to it and then you can write your hero story. When you write from that place of pain, you write a victim story. When you’re able to get through that pain and then write about the story, you write a hero story. You’re using hero language and exemplifying hero behavior instead of that victimization. What was me? I feel bad because that happened to me.

It’s a difference in how you talk. It’s a difference in the vocabulary that you use. The behaviors that you exemplify, the decisions that you make are all based on whether you’re the hero of the story, the victim of the story, the villain of the story or the viewer of your story. These are all things that I kind of go into when talking to people who are trying to reframe in order to recover from trauma and we talk about okay, so you went through this really bad time and now you can’t seem to get a break and all you seem to be attracting is more of the same. Why is that? Probably because of the way you’re telling your story, the way you are exemplifying yourself to the world outside, and I know this because I went through that.

I did that, you know, when I’m going through my divorce, I used victim language. There were pictures of me… You know it was, I was just attracting more and more bad to my life because of the way I was telling my story, and I told that because I saw myself as the victim. So you know, everyone has to go through that victimization after a breakup or death or something. But at some point you have to say, okay, you know what, I’m ready to be the hero of my story. Now, how am I going to change how I portray myself to the world and the language that I use in order to show people that I am trustworthy, that I am interesting, that I am competent because when we’re in that victimhood, they don’t see us as those things.

23:07 – Megan Porta

Wow, that was really powerful. I loved that there’s so much truth to that right, the way you think about and talk about yourself. That really does translate over into your life and the way things come to you and the people you attract and everything.

23:22 – Shannon Peel

Even if you’re writing about what you ate, you know it just comes out in the words that you use.

23:27 – Megan Porta

Yeah, Okay, so back to your find your 5 core values and then you know, go through that process of defining and thinking through that, maybe writing through it. Is there anything else beyond that to define?

23:39 – Shannon Peel

Yeah. So the next thing you’re going to want to do is you know that’s been the content calendars. You know you start creating your content calendars, but you’re going to understand, okay, when I look at the content that I’m creating, how does that reflect on what I, on the core of what I want everyone to know about me? And it can get kind of boring and you can be thinking okay, I’m just saying the same thing over and over again. Well, on social media, you’re going to understand that your audience may see 1 to 2% of what you actually post, so you can repost things over and over again. When it comes to your blog, you know you’re going to be talking about different types of food. As a food blogger, you can be talking about different meals, different things. But, at the core, what voice do you want to have? Do you want one of excitement? Do you want to be very knowledgeable? Do you want to be more of a professional, buttoned up approach, or do you want to be more scientific in how you go at your writing of your food?

24:40 – Sponsor

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25:52 – Shannon Peel

Determining your voice is very important because it’ll come across in everything that you do. And if you move away from that, like if you’re someone who is more professional and buttoned up, and then all of a sudden you’re talking really casual and you’re swearing and this and talking about this and that, and hey, I had fun, it’s not going to come across to your current audience, right. They’re going to feel that there’s something off because you’re out of pattern, you’re out of expectation. So determine what you want your to be expected, what your audience is going to expect from you, and try to stay on topic. Now your writing will evolve.

Your brand will evolve, your language will evolve, but at the core you are either someone who is serious or someone that thinks swearing is okay, or you’re somebody who is just more scientific in what they do. And if you can stay within that, your audience will always feel that comfortable coming back to you, think about the TV shows that you watch. They have a formula. You may be watching NCIS, LA. They always have a car chase, something blowing up and a gun battle, and it’s almost always in the same order. And that’s how these stories kind of get boring. If you binge watch a TV show, it can get kind of boring after a while because you’re seeing the same story structure over and over again. NCIS all of a sudden became more like Three’s Company, its audience would turn away from it because it’s not what they expect. And it’s the same with your blog posts. Your people are coming because they’re expecting a certain result, so you have to make sure that you’re always giving that result.

27:41 – Shannon Peel

The other thing you’re going to do is map out your digital footprint. Where are you telling your story? Where does your ideal audience hang out? If you already know what your ideal client looks like and maybe you have a few of them that you really kind of know already. I know it’s harder for bloggers to know their ideal audience, but if you have people engaging with you already, go do a little bit of sleuthing, do a little bit of cyber stalking, Google them, see where else they are, what else are they talking about, what else are they engaging with? And that will help you to evolve your content to meet more of their needs and also to go and meet them in those other places that they’re at. You can also ensure that with the map that you know how that person is going from seeing you for the first time to then coming through that marketing funnel with a client journey to understand.

Okay, this is where they’re at now. How are they gonna go from social media to my blog? Well, what steps are gonna have to take place? What calls to action are gonna have to be there? How am I going to bring them through that to get to that story? So all of that kind of has to be done in order to bring people through to you and then have them stop, because you know that you’re gonna be engaging them in the way that they like to be engaged, because you’ve seen what else they engage with and you’ve seen those ideas and you’ve brought them in and made them your own.

29:16 – Megan Porta

This is hard to do, I think, to step back from your business and take the journey from the perspective of one of your users. I don’t know, it’s really difficult for me to do that. I can do it really easily for somebody else, but do you suggest having other trusted people do this for you or help you with it?

29:34 – Shannon Peel

Yes, most definitely. If you’ve got a group of bloggers together, you know, ask them to go and be hey, you know, here’s, how did you find me, where did you find me? But then have them go through and do a brand audit. So, like I do brand audits where I will go, and I don’t wanna know anything about the company that I’m doing a brand audit for, because I am going out there onto the digital footprint, searching them, seeing where they’re at and then trying to follow the breadcrumbs to their buy button. And if I can’t, if there’s a gap, if there’s all of a sudden I’m having to do a Thelma and Louise off the Grand Canyon because there is no bridge, I’m gonna be looking for the next off ramp.

30:25 – Shannon Peel

And now there’s the danger of me finding your competitor because I’m no longer on the path to your buy button because I don’t know where to go.

30:33 – Megan Porta

Because it’s not easy. 

30:35 – Shannon Peel

You gotta make sure that people are able to identify those gaps, because they don’t really know enough about you to know exactly where you’re at. But then they can go out and they can search it and try to go through all the steps to find you. If you have a group of bloggers, that is an awesome project to do as a group.

30:55 – Megan Porta

Yeah, that’s a really good idea. So after we map out our digital footprint, is there anything after that?

31:01 – Shannon Peel

So now you have a ton of content. If you’re like me, you have lots of content, and I mean, possibly, you have done videos and podcasts and written, and now you have all this content, and it’s hard to organize. You know we use tags, but your audience may not come and click on the tag button to go and find other things. They’ll just go back to Google. You don’t really want them to do that. So how can you create a piece of work that will guide them from one thing to the next? A lot of people put hyperlinks on words in their blog, mainly for SEO, not for people to go from one blog post to the next, so I would encourage you to look at your blog posts, look at your content, find all your content, and then create an outline as if you were creating a book, and where can you plug in all of your blogs? Where? How would you organize them? Then you can create on your website. You can create an index that helps people find stuff. What I do, though, is I create multimedia, interactive digital books, and these are fun because you can embed the video, you can embed the podcasts.

Your articles are written. It’s like a book. They just flip the book, flip each page and they read through all your posts just as if it was a book. But the thing is is if there’s a video that goes with that chapter, they can watch the video or the podcast that goes with that chapter. And now you can add links to other blog posts or add links so they can go through the journey of the book on their own. Choose your own adventure type of journey through your book. But they’re seeing how your content can relate to each other. Plus, you’re seeing it because a lot of times when we write our blog posts and we’re not really understanding how all of that body of work comes together and can tell one story.

33:08 – Megan Porta

Yeah, we create so much content and we put it out and just kind of assume that it’s gonna be fine, it’s gonna find its way to the people who need it. It doesn’t well, not always, but sometimes we just need to repackage it and make it like a neat little gift to offer up to people. And I love that idea of doing an interactive book and choose your own adventure type thing. What a great idea.

33:31 – Shannon Peel

And then from there you’re able to then create this. Like what I do is I bring experts and we talk about a topic and then I create the book around it. From there I create an e-newsletter a year’s worth of e-newsletters that drive people back into that book. So they come to the book, they open it up, they click, they give me their email and stuff because they wanna go through the book. And now they’re gonna get email one, email two, email three, once every two weeks and they’re gonna all start at email one, whether they’ve found the book today, found the book six months ago.

Or find the book a year from now. It’s always, they always start at one, and each newsletter is designed to not only drive them back into the content of the book but gives them new tips and ideas that weren’t in the book, as well as a social media post that they can go and comment on on a group like a social media group that’s on my website and become part of a community that way. So there’s lots of different things that you can do. There’s a lot of web 3.0 sites out there that do that. That will help you organize your content and connect with people through newsletters and stuff like that, like Mighty Networks, it’s all to help you organize.

34:54 – Megan Porta

Yeah all that content we have right?

34:56 – Shannon Peel

Yeah, because you all have a book, you all have many books, right. So why not repackage them and offer them up to your audience in a book form, with extra content in that book?

35:10 – Megan Porta

Yeah, absolutely. I love this. My wheels are turning. I have I mean, between my podcasts and my blogs. I have so much that could be repurposed and revitalized, and just packaged in a different way so that yeah, because…

35:27 – Shannon Peel 

When I did my podcast, when I started my podcast, I did a hundred episodes in a hundred days and then I was like okay, so how can I organize these so that people can find the podcast that they wanna listen to? Because the podcast system out there doesn’t do it. It’s like here’s the latest one, here’s the latest one, and it’s just not there. So I created this interactive digital book with hey, here’s my guest, here’s an interview. I asked my guest a few personal questions you can read about. Oh, and here’s click play if you wanna hear the podcast. So it enabled me to organize all my different podcast episodes based on topic.

36:06 – Megan Porta

I need to do that. I’ve known that for a while, but oh goodness, yeah, this is a big project that I need to dig into in 2024. I think it would be good for just decluttering my own brain, but also so beneficial to my audience.

36:19 – Shannon Peel

Yeah, and there’s, I have a course that kind of it’s more holding your hand and going through the process, but in three days you have it all organized. I’ll figure it out. Oh, and it’s just done. But you focus on three days of your content for three days, and you are repurposing or not repurposing, you are recategorizing everything.

36:44 – Megan Porta

Oh my gosh, I need that. 

36:46 – Shannon Peel

And then you have to figure OK. So how am I going to share this? Am I going to share this as an index on my website? Am I going to share this as special pages on my website, or am I going to create a bigger work through another platform?

36:59 – Megan Porta

Yep, that’s exactly what I need. All right, after thinking through content, is there anything else for defining our brand stories?

37:06 – Shannon Peel

You know you’re going to want to come back to it every once in a while to make sure that you’re on target or that you’re on brand. You know you can create a brand guide where you have identified this is my voice, this is the fonts that I use, this is my colors, this is my mission statement, my vision statement, this is what I want to be known for. So I mean, a brand guide really is a piece of work that you create where you can give it to all your employees and they go OK, if I’m creating something, here’s a brand. It gives them all the information that they need in order to create content for you or interact with customers. That’s what big companies use to communicate inside their organizations about who they are and how they want to be represented. You can do that. You can do that and then go back to your content and make sure that you’re on brand and if you’re not on brand, maybe rewrite it and repurpose it. Thing is, is that something you wrote 10 years ago can be repurposed to today? And what lessons did you learn from the past to today?

I mean, I’ve got a blog post that I’ve it’s more of a personal blog post that I wrote during my victim time and I rewrote it afterwards and was able to update and say you know, this is. It was about the empty nasty. My kids had just left and I was really feeling abandoned and I was really in a bad place at the time and mainly why they left. I was just written from a point of victimhood, but I was able to then take that, rewrite it from the hero point of view and add to it you know, this is how wonderful my kids were, you know, they went out, they, they did this, they did that and I’m, I’m fine, we’ve got a better relationship and all of the things that I learned from the process. So you can go back into your past, bring out something and go wow, I’ve grown this much since then and this is what I learned over that time.

39:08 – Megan Porta

Oh my gosh, I love doing that, seeing old writing and you’re like, wow, I really have changed. This is an opportunity to you know. Show some maturity here and infuse.

39:19 – Shannon Peel

Yeah. Well, it’s funny cause I was. I spent all day just copy pasting emails and other things. So when I’m doing, you know, mindless work, I will put on Netflix or in this case it was Prime and watch something I was watching Cheers from the night, early 1980s. Oh yes, you know, that’s when I, those are my teen years.

39:40 – Megan Porta

Yeah.

39:41 – Shannon Peel

Big hair and everything else. And I’m watching the. You know these, these old TV shows and the topics that they were talking about and really realizing how far we have come as a society since that time. You know, one of the episodes was about the fear of having gay guys in the in the bar because then it would become a gay bar, and the gay bashing that went on and the fear around that. And now today, how different we are. And you know, people are getting married and we’re accepting and we’d no longer have don’t ask, don’t tell, and even the military is getting more accepting.

40:25

That’s happened in my lifetime. And just to see the difference between what it was, the fear, and remember that, remembering the fear because it was a time of AIDS, right, so everybody was afraid of a certain of that cohort in our society, and how far we’ve come since then, and just it’s a story in itself. So if you can go back to your blog posts and say, oh, we used to think that this ingredient was really cool, but you know what, now we have this other ingredient, that’s really cool.

40:57 – Megan Porta

Or I’ve learned a new cooking method or whatever. Like insert how far you’ve come. Yeah, people like to hear those stories too. It’s inspiring. They are inspirational stories definitely so agree Anything else we should know about defining our brand stories?

41:12 – Shannon Peel

At this point. I think it’s more Q&A, If anybody wants to ask a question or anything, they can always reach me at my website, but it’s telling your own story now becomes a personal thing. I do want to talk, maybe a bit about the difference between telling a personal brand story and an experiential brand story. Because your personal brand story that’s mainly what I’ve been talking about this whole time Is how to tell your story, and you use I. So it’s like I’m standing on stage and I’m telling you all about myself, my brand and the product that you can buy, or how I’m going to solve your problem. It’s all about me, and the audience only knows what I tell them. They don’t know anything else except the details that I tell them. The other type of story that you really need to tell as a blogger, especially if you’re trying to sell a product or solve a problem, is what I call experiential brand storytelling, and this is when you, as a narrator, are telling your audience their story to them and then offering up your product as a solution to choose. This is a very different. You’re utilizing your language to create an experience, a shared experience, that your audience can identify with, put themselves in that position, feel the pain of the problem that they’re having and then saying, ok, now I’m offering up option A and if you take option A, you’re going to get this result, which is what your audience really wants.

A good example of this is writing commercials. This is how you write commercials. But if you take a Coke commercial from the 80s, where they’re showing people on the beach and it’s hot and the heat waves are coming up and there’s nothing to drink and you can see everyone’s just tired and not very happy. There’s a long lineup at the concession stand but they don’t really have. Maybe they’ve closed or something. Then all of a sudden, the Coke truck comes up with coolers of ice and in that ice are bottles of cold Coke. And now people on the beach all have our drinking Coke and we’ve got sprinklers going on. They’re maybe jumping in the water, everyone’s happy and having a good time. It’s the same idea where you’re telling your audience you are experiencing this, you feel this, you want that. Well, guess what? Here’s an option and now you’re going to have that result.

It’s not an easy formula because basically you work like, let’s say, you have 100 people listening to you, you’re standing on stages, 100 people in the audience, and you go tell an experiential story. You now have to tell the enough detail to guide people through the story, but you don’t know the whole story. Each individual in the audience is filling in the gaps. Each individual in the audience knows the whole story and they experience the story as you guide them through it. And you’re utilizing you and you’re connecting with your audience because you’re saying you have this. You are in your backyard, the kids are playing. One asks you for a popsicle. Do you have one? Or you just tell the story of explaining them in that position. It’s not easy to do. It’s one of my superpowers. I mean, no one doesn’t sound like it at the moment.

But when I’m talking to people and I’m asking them OK, so what problem do you solve? How does your audience feel when they’re in the middle of that problem? How can they? What is their real pain? Then we construct this story around that experience and they explain how this solution is going to make their lives better.

45:19 – Megan Porta

Yeah, that’s really good. This is definitely a unique perspective on branding, and then I think we’ve ever represented here on the podcast, so I appreciate your perspective and it’s just been lovely listening to you talk about it. So thank you for all of this, Shannon.

45:35 – Shannon Peel

Well, I hope it’s been helpful and it can be done in your blog, because in your blog you may be talking about food, but you’re talking about yourself and how you relate to that food, how interested it is for you and why you, and that is going to attract the right audience. And then you have this new product that you may want them to buy. Well, they’re going to be experiencing the same pain that you experienced and that product is going to solve that problem the same way it solved the problem for you, and if you can put yourself in their position and really feel what they’re feeling, then you’ll have more success.

46:14 – Megan Porta

That’s the magic right there. Yeah, that’s good. Well, thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciate you and all the value you’ve shared. I like to ask my guests as we end if they have either a favorite quote or just words of inspiration to share.

46:29 – Shannon Peel

One of the things I like to iterate to people is the intent of your story does not matter. What matters is the interpretation of the story, so never forget that.

46:41 – Megan Porta

Oh, that’s good. Yeah, love that so much. We’ll put together show notes for you, Shannon, if you want to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/marketapeel and appeal is A-P-E-E-L a play on your last name.

46:59 – Shannon Peel

Yes, it is yes. When your last name is a noun and a verb, you get the benefits.

47:06 – Megan Porta

Absolutely so. Tell everyone where they can find you and anything you have going on right now.

47:11 – Shannon Peel

Well, you can find me at marketapeel.com or shannonpeelcom. And well, shannonpeel.com is a portfolio of my work, so if anyone would like for that, I send out for people who are looking for freelancers. But it might give you an idea of that interactive digital book that I was talking about and how maybe you can create something to showcase your work utilizing those platforms.

47:34 – Megan Porta

Awesome. Everyone. Go check that out, and thank you so much for listening food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode. 

47:43 – Outro

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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