Tell Me More: How to Craft a Powerful PR Narrative with Jarie Bolander

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This week’s guest, Jarie Bolander uses Story Grid frameworks to teach business owners how to craft a powerful PR narrative that has customers and clients saying, “Tell me more.”

This electrical engineer describes his journey from founder of a digital health startup to the surprising turn of running a PR and marketing firm focused on developing stand out messaging. Discover how to create a story with a beginning, middle and end so that you can take your customer’s on a journey with your products and services.

3 Lessons We Learned From This Episode

  • How to distill your messaging into one simple word that embodies what you do (14:10-16:20)
  • Discover where your unique story intersects with your industry (22:24-25:28)
  • How to ensure that your website and messaging aren’t white noise (36:03-37:58)

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Connect with Jarie Bolander

Connect with Kyle + The Story Engine

Kyle Gray: (00:37)

Hello, and welcome to The Story Engine Podcast. My name is Kyle Gray. Today on the show, we have Jarie Bolander. Jarie is someone who I met in the content marketing world. I talk a little bit about that at the opening of the episode. He’s going to be sharing with us a little bit of his personal story, but also a practical framework that he uses called the PR narrative. This framework helps you create a brief statement about who you are and what you do that he refers to as humanly viral and will stick in the minds of your ideal customers. So we’re going to break that down step-by-step on this interview. So this is an interesting one. If you’ve got a pen and paper nearby to kind of listen in and start writing your own. If you develop a PR narrative just like the one we described in the episode, I’d love to see in the comments in the show notes of this episode, and I’ll give you some feedback. So without any further ado, let’s hand it over to Jarie. Jarie Bolander, welcome to The Story Engine Podcast.

 

Jarie Bolander: (01:46)

Happy to be here.

 

Kyle Gray: (01:48)

Now, it is such a pleasure to have you on. It’s such a pleasure to catch up. We’ve worked together before, and I was saying before I wrote for one of your blogs, one of my favorite articles ever called The Seven Deadly Sins of Content Marketing. You wrote a parallel kind of light side article. Do you remember what that one was titled?

 

Jarie Bolander: (02:08)

No, I don’t.

 

Kyle Gray: (02:10)

It was something like the Seven Commandments. Well, it’s okay. You’ve created a bunch. It’s been a while since that.

 

Jarie Bolander: (02:15)

It has.

 

Kyle Gray: (02:15)

We’ve been diving into conversation and catching up already, and there’s so much brilliance happening. So I want to get you introduced so we can share all of that. Will you tell us a story about a defining moment of your life? Who you are and how you show up in the world today, and then tell us a little bit about what you do in the world today?

 

Jarie Bolander: (02:40)

Yeah. Well, before we got on the phone, I was listening to a couple of your old podcasts. I heard the one about Qat’s story and this exact question when she’s talking about her dad and her dad passing away, and how proud she would have been and how proud he was when she had her first book. So my story is a little similar, except I lost my wife Jane two and a half years ago to leukemia. What I do today has a lot to do with what she taught me. She had a 15-month battle with leukemia that taught me how to focus on what’s essential in life.

 

Jarie Bolander: (03:27)

So nowadays, I run her PR and marketing business called JSY PR & Marketing, where we’re story-driven, and we feel that the organization that tells the best story wins. So that’s why we’re like fanboys of each other, I think.

 

Kyle Gray: (03:41)

Absolutely.

 

Jarie Bolander: (03:42)

So that experience made it for me that every day is precious, and every day I’m here, not only do I have to try to do the best I can for myself but for those that we’ve loved that have gone on. Part of that is also finding love again. So, now I’m engaged to a wonderful woman named Minerva, and that came about through this seize the day, which I know sounds kind of a cliché, but is a powerful message and how I try to run my business and run my life. Some days I do okay, some days I don’t, but the goal is always, “Was today a good day?” and then I’m just happy to have it. So potent stuff from Qat.

 

Kyle Gray: (04:33)

Absolutely. Well, I want to acknowledge your courage and your vulnerability because when faced with the tragedy of that magnitude, I think people that can transform that into a gift and make the world a better place for it is very much needed. You remind me of another person I’ve worked with before, Dr. Greg Eckel, who lost his wife to a rare form of kind of neurodegenerative disease. Since then, he’s focused all of his efforts on becoming the nation’s leading naturopath and expert in neurodegeneration and is helping tons and tons of people. 

 

Jarie Bolander: (05:18)

Wow. 

 

Kyle Gray: (05:19)

I see the work you’re doing in helping people communicate and reach more, and that you’ve stepped in the shoes of your late wife’s PR firm and continue with her brilliance and continued to evolve it and continued to move forward in your life.

 

Jarie Bolander: (05:36)

Yeah, thank you.

 

Kyle Gray: (05:36)

So fantastic stuff, and I appreciate you.

 

Jarie Bolander: (05:41)

Oh, yeah, no, I appreciate that. It’s something that we don’t talk about as a society a lot, especially men. Men tend to hold it inside, and if you keep it inside, it eats you away. Then you get all this deplorable behavior and a lot of sad, grieving men and women. But letting it out and sharing it is how I heal.

 

Kyle Gray: (06:05)

Oh, I appreciate that.

 

Jarie Bolander: (06:07)

I’m writing about it and trying to be very conscious because when I was going through this and still to this day, it’s a lonely journey. So I want others to know that they’re not alone because that was the worst part for me. I mean, other than losing Jane, is the loneliness because you just feel like the world is against you.

 

Kyle Gray: (06:28)

Yeah. Yeah. It’s compelling. It can heal you, or it cannot. It’s funny, just as I agree with you like men, there are very rarely points in our lives or mentors, or anytime we see somebody who can adequately like understand and respond to and integrate their feelings. So yeah, it comes out in all kinds of ways.

 

Jarie Bolander: (06:50)

Yeah, for sure.

 

Kyle Gray: (06:53)

Our lives have been parallel in a lot of ways, and when we were both working a lot in content marketing and now our story work has evolved in similar ways, and you were telling me something about the story narrative or a PR narrative.

 

Jarie Bolander: (07:13)

PR narrative, yeah. PR narrative.

 

Kyle Gray: (07:15)

Can you tell me a little bit about this? I’ll be honest with you. So I’m a marketer. I build sales funnels. I know what SEO is, and I’ve had a lot of like PR people, but it still is something that I don’t grasp as well as I think I should, and I’m probably not doing as well as I could.

 

Jarie Bolander: (07:36)

Yeah. No, no. I get that question all the time, especially from tech CEOs and tech startups. A lot of times, communication, simplifying what you do and how you communicate it, it gets overlooked, especially if you’re in a technology company where it’s all about tech. I’m sure you see this all the time, even in non-tech companies where people are like in love with their product. So, again, listening to some of your old podcasts, it was the one with Holly that hit me. I almost had to pull over because I was listening to it in the car. Because of your signature element method: the who, what, and why framework, is very, very similar to the structure that I use with clients called my PR narrative.

 

Jarie Bolander: (08:29)

The PR narrative is the tip of your communication sphere. It is the single story that you want to tell everyone that they’ll remember, and you want it to be clear, concise, compelling, and you want to deliver it with such confidence that people will share your story. So when I was looking through this, I’m like, “Man, this is just really an interesting dynamic.” Like, “Wow, how did he come up with this and how I come up with it?” Like we’re just geniuses, I guess, I don’t know.

 

Kyle Gray: (08:59)

It must be.

 

Jarie Bolander: (09:01)

Brothers from another mother kind of thing. I thought about this, the way Jane thought about it when I started to look at Story Grid, which is a methodology, a framework to edit. I’m a certified Story Grid editor, and I use this framework and methodology to craft better stories by having them follow a structure. When you have the who, what, and why, I understand the pain you saw. I’m like, “Oh, well, this is such an interesting kind of … how could we play around with these things?” Because I think you even said in the episode, it’s like this is an experiment. It’s going to change. How do we evolve our story, how we talk about it, so that we can get the maximum impact? Especially if you’re pretty much doing anything, especially if you’re an entrepreneur, you need to pitch your company to an investor or a customer. So the framework, which I, again, came up with, which is partly from what Jane taught me and partly from what the Story Grid taught me, was that the stories have structure. If you know they have structure, then you know that there have to be individual pieces in a story.

 

Jarie Bolander: (10:25)

So universally, based on the Story Grid methodology, all stories have a beginning hook, a middle build, and an ending payoff. So they have three parts, just like the three acts of a play, just like in a movie, Star Wars since that came out recently, they all have the same structure. So if you know this, then you can start to craft and refine your message or your narrative and not have to worry about, “Do I have all the pieces?”. I chose to ask, “Why does your company exist,” “why are you unique,” and what pain you see. When I looked through technology companies and found the ones that resonate with me, they all had those components wrapped up in their story. Specifically, it’s not a long story; it’s a 10-second elevator pitch. So when I saw your signature statement and then I looked at my PR narrative, and I’m like, “Oh, okay, well, we got to talk more about this,” because I think the truth is everything is somewhere in the mix of all of this. You know what I mean?

 

Kyle Gray: (11:33)

Yeah. I do. I think one of the things that I would do to break this down is to imagine, like what’s the first conversation I have with a lot of these people and what are the things I need to know. I think both of these things achieve one of the things that I need to know that is often missing is it’s always great to have a story framework. I love working with templates myself. But if your client doesn’t understand the audience they’re speaking to; then the templates have no meaning. They don’t fit, and it becomes difficult for them. The great ones, especially the tech companies, they’re the ones that understand you. For instance, let’s take it from a Seinfeld level. You’re sitting in a restaurant, and something weird happens, and you’re like, “How did that …?” It’s kind of, “You know me on that level, and can you reach me there?” That’s the level where it’s like, “Wow, they’re worth listening to.” It creates that trust.

 

Jarie Bolander: (12:51)

Oh, totally, totally. Again, since we’ve been listening to stories and for our entire existence, I mean every time we sat around a campfire trying to figure out how to not get eaten by a saber tooth tiger or where the good food was, or where the water is, I mean we had to tell stories. That’s the only way that we learned and how the oral traditions of our ancestors came down. So it’s in our DNA. We recognize it. We see it. We know what resonates with us. We know how it makes us feel. So when you’re a company, a brand, a product, if you can’t get that in the core of someone, they’re not going to pay attention to you because there’s so much noise out there. I mean, it’s incredible how much stuff gets generated every day, just every day. I think that was interesting when I, again, when we hadn’t talked in a while, and I’m like, “Oh, you stole my idea. You stole my idea.”

 

Kyle Gray: (13:51)

Well, let’s break down your narrative because I’m curious. So we’ve got three components here, I’d love for you to explain them.

 

Kyle Gray: (14:00)

How you coach people through it, and maybe some of the prompts you share. And if people were listening in and perhaps they have a pen and paper, they can start working on this exercise right now.

 

Jarie Bolander: (14:10)

Yes, a hundred percent, so what I usually do is we start with what we call “the hook” or “why?”. So, why does your company exist? It seems like a simple question, but in some cases, it can be challenging because some people may not know the real reason why. And, the real reason why isn’t the internal reason, it’s not the external reason.

 

Jarie Bolander: (14:31)

So, of course, we want to make money, we want to be famous, we want to be on Kyle’s podcast because he’s super cool, right? We want all these things, but internally, why did you start this? Because it’s hard to build a product, start a company, provide a service. And so, what I usually say is, take some time, five, 10 minutes, write one to two sentences maximum. Just try to get it down in a concise way.

 

Jarie Bolander: (14:57)

Don’t use any buzzword. Bingo. So, no buzzwords, no techie words, just simple language. And then at the end, pick a single word that describes it, and it’s sometimes hard to pull that single word. It’s essential to have a single word because what you want to do is start to get your mind thinking of how you’re going to craft this narrative. Because, what happens is, we put these three pieces together at the end, and you will find that those three words that will come up with really are powerful.

 

Jarie Bolander: (15:27)

And a lot of times in the story, and in music and rhythm, there’s a power of three. So, there’s a rhythm to saying things three times. I mean, it can be a perfect rhythmic way and also a way to kind of look in situations because again, stories, right? Every story has to have the beginning, the middle, and an end or it’s not a story.

 

Jarie Bolander: (15:53)

So, if you’re playing along at home, write down, why does your company exist? In one to two sentences, and then pick a single word to then exemplifies that. And so, that’s the first step, and then we talk a little bit about that. And it’s usually excellent if you have a group of people, especially if you have a tech company and you get a bunch of the founders together. We sit around a table, and we just start brainstorming, and then people share it out. 

 

Jarie Bolander: (16:27)

So, for you, could you say why your company exists?

 

Kyle Gray: (16:31)

So, it’s evolved. I think my “why?” today has shifted a lot. For a long time, my “why?” behind the business was just like I wanted to find a way to travel the world and have a thriving business that would allow me to do it. But as I grew in my skills and experience, it’s become much more profound. I’ve had some personal health struggles over the last five or six years, and I’ve started to focus on precisely that niche of working with people in that zone.

 

Kyle Gray: (17:20)

And, it’s a bigger “why?” because when I was in a painful state of an autoimmune condition that I didn’t understand. It was so frustrating and confusing, and I had several other friends suffering from that, and I just barely revealed to me how many people there are out there that I can make a significant impact on these things. But, but for whatever reason, their message has never reached me or any people that were very, very important to me. And so, I saw a significant need for that.

 

Jarie Bolander: (17:55)

Yes, yes. No, I mean…

 

Kyle Gray: (17:57)

Oh, and so we got to figure out one word no.

 

Jarie Bolander: (17:59)

Yes, I know. Can see how that internal “why” drives you beyond the fame, fortune, prestige, money. Because what you really want to do is you want to help people that can help others and specifically ones that have this autoimmune problem.

 

Kyle Gray: (18:22)

Yes.

 

Jarie Bolander: (18:22)

Get the message out so more people can then can be healthy for free, right?

 

Kyle Gray: (18:26)

Yes. Maybe I’ll go with hope on that one because I think it’s really, at least before I discovered a lot of this, even if I had like an injury, like carpal tunnel or a sore knee or something. For a long time I was like “Oh, I’m stuck with this forever.”, “I’m broken.” And through working with a lot of people in this community, I’ve started to see what’s possible. And so, I had hoped that I could heal and I continued to, and I think a lot of people could use that right now.

 

Jarie Bolander: (19:00)

Yes. It goes beyond just making money; it goes beyond business, right? It’s what drives you. And again, if you’re playing along at home, however, you started your business, and wherever you are today, whatever it may be, still, there’s some unique story behind it. And that’s the thing you got to tap into because people love nothing more than to say, “Well, hey, why did you start this?” “What was driven by you?” I mean, for JSY, for PR, for what I do now. I mean, it started, I had to do this because that’s the only thing that was paying us.

 

Jarie Bolander: (19:39)

So, when I was Jane’s full-time caregiver, we needed money. And I was actually at the healthcare startup, I was the founder of the healthcare startup, and she’s like, “Well, they’re not paying you, and we need money.” So, you’re running my business, and I’m all, “Ah.” So for me, it was survival; it was survival for us. It is now morphed into more like wow, the power of storytelling to help startups, nonprofits, and professional athletes get their message out to impact the most people with these inspiring stories that you never would hear. I have to share that gift with the world.

 

Kyle Gray: (20:18)

Yes.

 

Jarie Bolander: (20:19)

Because people need to know, and people need to heal. That’s spot on.

 

Kyle Gray: (20:30)

One thing I want to like just share with maybe even the listeners right here, because I get a lot of people who I do a lot of group coaching calls, and there are some people who are just starting out their business. It is so simple to say these things, but again, we’ve been practicing this. It’s evolved over five years, and through the journey, the meaning comes forward.

 

Kyle Gray: (20:49)

And so, a lot of people when they’re just starting, they’re like “well I don’t know, I have a skill and I’m a coach” or “I want to do something” but you don’t have that quite powerful thing behind it yet. But, if you just go on this journey and start to develop yourself and connect with customers and find who you can impact, then that starts to grow with you as well.

 

Kyle Gray: (21:13)

So, I want to share that as good news for people out there. We have to think about these things all the time as professionals, and it’s hard.

 

Jarie Bolander: (21:25)

Oh, for sure. I mean, I’m a little older than you and probably older than most of the listeners, so I’ve had more life experience, and if you’re just starting, you’ve got to go with where you’re at and go on your journey. And, sometimes, your journey changes. I mean, I was a founder of a digital health startup, I’m a technical person, degree in Electrical Engineering. No way in hell I would have ever felt that I would be in PR and marketing at this point in my life, just wouldn’t.

 

Jarie Bolander: (21:55)

But, my journey now is way more fulfilling and instead of building products, electronics, and stuff, which I can still do. I’m currently trying to enable people to share with the world their gift. And that’s what you’re trying to do. We all have this unique gift, and you may think, “Oh, I don’t know what it may be.” but you’ll find it, and then you need to share it because we all have something. It doesn’t matter who we are, so start thinking about that when you go through this.

 

Jarie Bolander: (22:24)

The second part, which is the middle in the story structure, is what makes you unique. Again, if you’re just starting, you may not think you’re unique, but there’s something about you that’s unique, right? So again, you write one to two sentences, and then you pick a word. So Kyle, what makes you unique?

 

Kyle Gray: (22:46)

All right, that one’s easy for me. I was just writing about this on a solo podcast. My business has grown a lot this year, and it’s because of getting into this niche.

 

Kyle Gray: (23:01)

I believe I’ve been able to hone in my message and who I work with, and how I can serve them. But, why I’m different is, there are very few marketers out there that understand this world with the depth that I do understand the customer’s pain because I was there and have a more personal interest in this. A lot of the people that I’ve worked with have things to teach me, and I’m excited. 

 

Jarie Bolander: (23:41)

Right.

 

Kyle Gray: (23:41)

So, being a specialist, I’m starting to understand all of their language, which makes it kind of like can give me blind spots but, I know how to write simply because that’s like you were saying with startups is one of the most dangerous things.

 

Jarie Bolander: (24:00)

So yeah.

 

Kyle Gray: (24:02)

I would have to say experience.

 

Jarie Bolander: (24:04)

Experience. Okay, great. No, that’s good. So, we’ve got hope?

 

Kyle Gray: (24:09)

The hope experience.

 

Jarie Bolander: (24:11)

We’ve got hope, we’ve got experience, and we now know why you’re unique because you’re the target market almost. People that you’re marketing to, you understand them fully. And so, for me and in what I do, right? So, I’m a technology guy, I’m an engineer by training, and I like to say an entrepreneur by nature. So, what makes me unique is there’s not a lot of PR and marketing people that have got the technical background, especially early-stage startup, where it’s just chaos. They have no idea how to explain what they do.

 

Jarie Bolander: (24:46)

So, I can take sophisticated technology and simplify it in a way that’s not going to dumb it down, but also in a way that your grandmother can understand it, and that’s a mighty thing. So, that’s sort of my uniqueness for what I do. So, now and then, my word would be, Oh, I didn’t have a name for the “why?”. I think my “why?” is to inspire people, and I want to inspire people for the “why?”. My uniqueness is, I would say simplicity. I can simplify complicated things.

 

Kyle Gray: (25:28)

Nice, I like that.

 

Jarie Bolander: (25:29)

So, you’ve got hope experience. I’ve got inspire and [inaudible 00:25:34] simplify, and so we’ll make this up on the fly. So again, those of you playing at home, write all this down and you’ll put it in the notes or send it to Kyle, he’ll forward it to me.

 

Kyle Gray: (25:45)

Well, what we can do is if you put a comment in the show notes online, I’ll check it out, and we get a lot, then I’ll look through and then we can have some conversations.

 

Jarie Bolander: (25:58)

Yes, because I think you’ll find this powerful if you’re trying to figure out what you’re doing, or if you want to refine your message. So, then the last part is the ending payoff. And this is the pain that you saw. So for you, the same thing, one to two sentences, pick a word. So, for your business, Kyle, what pain do you solve?

 

Kyle Gray: (26:17)

They wake up, and they just want marketing not to be a thing today, so that they can go and do the job that they’ve invested in, trained in doing.

 

Jarie Bolander: (26:28)

Okay.

 

Kyle Gray: (26:29)

So, there’s constant frustration and stress and chaos. Like some people can get traffic to their site, and there’s a lot of “do I do SEO?”, “What do I even do?” I hope that makes that simple by just creating one clear path to sales, which is my process. But, so I make it simple and comfortable so that technology doesn’t have to be a sting today. So, it might have to be simplicity.

 

Jarie Bolander: (27:00)

Yes, simplicity or peace of mind.

 

Kyle Gray: (27:05)

Clarity is another good one.

 

Jarie Bolander: (27:07)

Clarity, oh.

 

Kyle Gray: (27:07)

I think that might be good because you know what you need to do, you’ve got a straightforward structure that will drive people to the program that’s going to make you money. And, if you can get that thing set up, which people drag their feet to do. Surprisingly everybody like “there are a hundred things we got to do.”, “We got to go register the business with the local stamp guy.”, whatever. Unless you can have something where people are putting money into your bank account, then nothing else matters, and at least, in terms of growing a good business.

 

Jarie Bolander: (27:43)

Right? That’s great. So, we’ve got hope, experience, and clarity for your three. And so for me, the pain I solve is messaging. 

 

Jarie Bolander: (28:00)

The marketing and sales messaging should be because if you don’t have a clear narrative, everyone’s going to have their idea, and then people are just going to get confused. So, my whole point in what I do is I try to focus them on the tip of the spear, which I think a narrative is the single point of contact for everything, and then everything focuses out from there. So the pain I saw, if I were to pick a word, would be focused. What are you going to focus on in your message that’s going to get people to get into Kyle’s funnel?

 

Kyle Gray: (28:35)

Yeah.

 

Jarie Bolander: (28:36)

So, they can make money.

 

Kyle Gray: (28:38)

Yeah, good deal.

 

Jarie Bolander: (28:41)

Well, yeah. So you see, so you’ve got these three to six sentences, and you’ve got these three words, right? We want to put these together to create a narrative that is going to humanly viral. So when Kyle or myself talk to someone and they say, “Hey, what do you do?,” or, “What are you about?,” and you say your narrative, the question that we want people to ask us is, “Oh, tell me more.” That’s all we want. We don’t want to inundate people with the litany of things. I think in one of the solo podcasts you did, you had the three or four different types of experts, and I don’t remember what one was. The one that was super technical or super knew what they were doing, and it was just gibberish, and you said, you’re like, “I just wait and wait to see how long they’ll talk for.” And I’m all, “Okay, that’s a little evil, but we don’t want to be that person.”

 

Kyle Gray: (29:41)

I think I admitted it was kind of evil too.

 

Jarie Bolander: (29:42)

It was, but it’s a good point, right?

 

Kyle Gray: (29:46)

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Jarie Bolander: (29:46)

Because this is what we want with all this. So if you are at a cocktail party, you’re trying to get money or customers, you want the other person to ask you questions, you want them to talk more to you than you speak to them, especially when you first meet. So, this narrative is that hook. It’s the invitation for someone to ask you more questions because the other thing about a clear, concise, and compelling narrative, is confident delivery, is that you may not want to talk to this person. It may be a waste of both of your time, and the sooner you know that, the better. So as you create these narratives, again, it’s the combination of the signature statement and the PR narrative, and you start to practice them, take a step back, see if people ask, “Oh, tell me more.”

 

Jarie Bolander: (30:43)

See if people say, “Oh, that’s interesting,” because that’s what you want them to say. If you’re a comedian, you want your first joke to hit hard so that people will be engaged. So, this is the invitation, and you want to give people the message, not only to respect their time but to respect your time. So as you put all these things together, this 10 to 15-second narrative signature statement elevator pitch is going to be the start of a conversation, you hope a good conversation or you end it there and you go on to someone else. Because who wants to sit around and listen to this litany of things? You’re like, ” Can I getaway? Can I get away?” And I know maybe not all of us have done that, but some of us have. Guilty as charged.

 

Kyle Gray: (31:37)

Yeah. I mean, there’s not a lot you can do when you’re in a moment like that. You can’t be like, “I’m sorry. You’re too boring. I need to leave.” Maybe you can say, “I need to go to the bathroom,” or something, but-

 

Jarie Bolander: (31:52)

“I got one second,” right? But again, we want to have these narratives and these signature statements cohesive to the point where we offer, still, what we do in a simple, clear way and that you impress the people enough where they tell someone else. And the simplest way to tell someone else is if they understand it and they can reproduce the words, right? So that’s why it has to be clear, concise, compelling and delivered with confidence because then you want other people to say it, right?

 

Kyle Gray: (32:22)

Can you give me some examples of where this could be applied? And maybe I’m more in marketing and PR work than in the PR world, but some things with, can we use this on our landing page?

 

Jarie Bolander: (32:33)

Yes.

 

Kyle Gray: (32:34)

Can we use this on our home website, on podcasts? Where else does this become a handy tool?

 

Jarie Bolander: (32:41)

Yeah, so for me, the way I think about it is everything flows from this narrative or signature statement. It is the single big idea that you have. It’s the thing that you are going to back up. So, the first thing on your website should be this, and after that, if someone’s like, “Oh, I’m interested,” they click through, and now they can get more information. And so, as examples, like in a tech startup, a lot of times if you look at a technology company’s webpage, it’s filled with buzzword bingo, it’s filled with all the things they do in the software and the thousand different ways you can use it. And you just look at it, and you go, “I don’t know. Do I even need to pay attention to this?” And so, when you do this, you can clarify that landing page and you can hook people in, and then you can give them the resources they need if they want to pursue it. Because again, the last thing you want people to do is to get frustrated with your website. So you’re giving a speech, you’re doing an intro to a podcast. Your signature statement is pretty good because I know that’s what you’re about, see the story engines about we help entrepreneurs, coaches, and influencers use storytelling to attract their ideal audience, inspire them to take massive action. I know what you do.

 

Kyle Gray: (34:08)

All right.

 

Jarie Bolander: (34:09)

“Oh, I want to deal with that guy,” right? If I need that, I’m going to be like, “Oh, I’m going to talk to Kyle.” And so for me, this impacts everything. You get this right; the rest of it is a lot easier because you always go back to your signature statement, you never go back to your narrative. “Am I on message? Am I on point? Do I need to refine it? Who am I talking to? How should I start? How should I open it? Always open with this.”

 

Kyle Gray: (34:40)

How does it work with team members? Are there ways that this message should resonate with our team members as well?

 

Jarie Bolander: (34:48)

Yeah, I think so. It’s similar to a mission statement or a vision statement, but not as buzzwordy bingo-y. It forms the foundation of a lot of this stuff. And so for a team member, it’s like anything. If you’re going to recruit someone to your company, you want them to be bought in. Well, how are you going to buy them? You have to explain what you do. What’s the easiest way to explain what you do? Tell them your narrative. “Hey, you interested?” and, “This is what we’re about.” “Oh. Well, hey, what do you mean by influencer coach? What do you mean by massive action?” Then the conversation starts to go. And the beautiful thing is if it’s, again, clear, concise, and compelling, they internalize it and they start saying it to other people, especially other customers or other colleagues. That’s the way you build a culture that can be repeatable. That’s the way you internalize your core.

 

Kyle Gray: (35:54)

I love it.

 

Jarie Bolander: (35:55)

If it’s too complicated, everyone’s going to be like, “Oh, we make some SaaS product that does blah blah,” and you’re like, “Argh.” Your eyes roll in the back of your head, you know?

 

Kyle Gray: (36:03)

Yeah. Yeah, I love it. It’s something I’ve been investing in a lot, but based on something you’ve just said, I might leave it all behind with a new business idea that’s just emerged. And your listeners can take it from me if you can beat me to the punch. But you keep saying, “Buzzword bingo,” and I don’t think you have bingo cards, but I believe that these cards really could be made and if you were clever … Mainly, I believe, tech company consultants, it would be like, “Hey, I put together this card of the tech … The least popular bingo techie buzzwords and I just read through your homepage and started plinking, plinking, plinking, and you’re a total blackout,” or whatever. Like, “This is the score I got. Let me know if you need any help.”

 

Jarie Bolander: (36:51)

A hundred percent. I do have a buzzword bingo card I put in a slide deck.

 

Jarie Bolander: (37:12)

Every industry has those buzzwords that, again, I mean, so you sometimes have to use them, right? I understand that. But if your copy on your website’s littered with buzzwords, you’re just like every other person. No one can get through it because even smart people are overloaded. I mean New York Times bestseller books in nonfiction are written at the eighth grade, seventh, eighth-grade level. Not because they’re dumb. It’s because the message has to get through. You get cognitively overloaded if you have to think a lot or if the news is too complicated. So yeah, we should work on that. That would be an excellent assessment.

 

Kyle Gray: (37:59)

All right, next business.

 

Jarie Bolander: (38:00)

Next business idea. That’s scalable for sure.

 

Kyle Gray: (38:04)

Jarie, we have explored a lot of just different storytelling, and this PR narrative is an excellent and handy groundwork tool. It’s been fun going through it with you, and hopefully, everybody else that’s listening has found some use in it. Again, if you develop your narrative, let us know in the comments over at the thestoryengine.co. , and we would love to chat and give you some feedback. Jarie, any last thoughts? And where can we go and connect with you and learn more about you?

 

Jarie Bolander: (38:36)

Yeah. No, the only parting thought I would, I guess, give everyone is that our story evolves. My story two, three years ago, is different than it is today, and I think we have to be open to that evolution and open to the new possibilities of where our lives may lead. Each one of us has a unique gift. We need to express that through story. And that’s just something that, again, I genuinely believe in and try every day just to live my best day.

 

Jarie Bolander: (39:13)

And you want to hear more about what I do? You can follow me on my blog, thedailymba.com. If you’re going to look at what I do with PR and marketing, it’s jsypr.com, which is the firm. And I’ve written a couple of books you can see on Amazon. One, 7 PR Secrets All Founders Should Know, which is where you can view this PR narrative. And then the other one’s called The Entrepreneur Ethos, and it’s about how to build better entrepreneurs and have that internal mindset. All the stuff we’ve been talking about blending it all, but it’s been a great, great conversation. I’m glad we could catch up. I’m so happy you’re feeling better. I’m happy the business is going well, and, again, you’re just doing such a great job on this story thing, and I’m a fanboy!

 

Kyle Gray: (39:58)

I appreciate it. I thank it very much. It’s been so much fun having you on the podcast and thanks to everybody out there for listening. We’ve hoped you’d enjoy this and we’ll talk to you next time.

 

Kyle Gray:

Thanks for listening to the Story Engine Podcast. Be sure to check out the show notes and resources mentioned in this episode and every other episode at thestoryengine.co

 

If you’re looking to learn more about how to use storytelling to grow your business, then check out my new book, Selling With Story: How to Use Storytelling to Become an Authority, Boost Sales, and Win the Hearts and Minds of Your Audience. This book will equip you with actionable strategies and templates to help you share your unique value and build trust in presentations, sales, and conversations, both online and offline. Learn more at thestoryengine.co

 

Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.

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