toth shop’s tagline is we humanize communication.
What does it mean?
In a world of SEO keywords, AI writing tools, and increased screen time, we hold the human spirit and what it has to say in the highest regard.
We believe our vision is more important than ever — for us and businesses at large.
It’s a bold mission. But each day, we are all living out experiences that craft our stories. All we need to do is share them.
As much as we think we’d like to replace the nuance and sometimes just straight-up complications of being human with the ease, convenience, and ‘hacks’ that digitization can offer, we need stories to find connection with each other and businesses.
We need to know a business is human; stories help us do that.
That’s why we advocate for sharing human interest stories as part of your brand and marketing strategy. Here’s the rundown they are, why they matter, and how you can find human interest stories related to your brand.
What are human interest stories?
Human interest stories are features that connect with the reader in a motivating or emotional way. They include a typical story arc with a hero who faces a challenge, overcomes it, and finds a resolution. As long as your company serves people or has people working at it, there's a human interest story available to you.
This could look like…
A story from a client on how your business solved a pain point for them
An achievement/success story from a client
An employee’s career path within your business
Stories about your company’s charitable initiatives
A story of someone's life OUTSIDE of work — for example, their involvement in the community, with a church, or a service they offer — something that shows the 360 degrees of a human outside of work
Why do they matter?
Human interest stories turn a business into a brand. Think of a business as your ‘what you do’. It's your services, your daily ins and outs, and what you provide. Your brand, however, is how your business connects with people; it’s how you make them feel.
People are more likely to connect with a person than with information. Look at your company blog, for example. Is it a series of SEO-driven listicles to boost your organic search or case studies? These pieces might help drive traffic or support sales, but they don’t often leave an emotional impact. A story is unique, and a great story will not only capture someone’s attention, but they'll hold it, too.
How to find a human-interest story to tell
Unsure where to begin? You can start with your team and what their role in your business means to them. Ask your sales team if there are any clients who were positively impacted by working with your company. Engage followers on your social media accounts.
Start talking to people, get curious, ask questions — and you’ll quickly start to hear the stories there are to tell. Since everyone’s story is so different, there aren’t blanket questions you can ask every person; however, here are some you can ask yourself first before speaking with the person you want to write about that can shape some of the questions you ask.
How do I want to structure this story? Every story needs a good introduction, climax, and ending/resolution. Build yourself a general skeleton before you begin.
What do I already know? Do your research (if possible) and establish everything you already know, so you can focus your efforts and time on going one layer deeper. For example, rather than asking someone about their career path, consider looking at their LinkedIn first so you can ask about the how/why of their journey instead of the what.
What do I want others to know? Establish an angle for your story so you can steer it in the right direction and have an end goal for the final result. But don’t try to control it too much — let there be a natural flow and for the story to shift if it makes sense.
Can I sum up the story I want to write in one sentence? Establish how you would tell someone in one clear sentence what the story is about (the bonus of doing this is it will likely end up being the title or at least provide some inspiration). Again, this might change as you write; the point is to keep the purpose of the story in mind.
How to use human-interest stories
We already touched on the blog, but there are many more opportunities for storytelling throughout your business. Here are a few more examples of how to stretch your stories:
Share it on social media. Post a photo of the person you’re telling a story about on social with an extract of the juiciest part of the story — this could be a quote or highlighting the challenge, with a link directly to the blog post.
Turn it into a video or podcast. If you’ve interviewed someone about their story, record the meeting. You can edit it to use it as a video clip on social media or to accompany your blog; if you have a podcast, you can record a quick intro/outro and use the audio for an episode.
Testimonials. If the story is how your business provided the person with a solution, condense it into a snippet of copy outlining the challenge/solution and share it on your website, as an impact report, or as a sales tool.
So go on, and start connecting. Book a coffee date or a quick 30-minute video call today and seek out a human interest story in your business today.