Whatever path you paved, I guarantee it’s unique to you and I’ll bet you have the ability to motivate others to become Trailblazers themselves. In this series of three blog posts, we highlight content from our session “Take Your Thought Leadership to the Next Level” at the recent Trailblazer Summit, where about 150 Trailblazers from around the world gathered for two days to network and learn about how to take their community leadership to the next level.
In this post, you’ll learn three tips to tell your story in an engaging and inspiring way. How do we define a Trailblazer story?
We define a Trailblazer story as, “an inspiring story about a person who has leveraged the power of the Salesforce platform, Trailblazer Community, and Trailhead to create positive change in their careers, companies, and communities.”
If that’s you, then all you need to remember when you write your story is your hook, your pivotal moments, and how you will inspire action.
Every compelling story has an excellent hook. Think about your favorite books, movies, and tv shows — there’s a reason you love that book or movie so much, there’s a reason why you kept watching or reading once you started: you were hooked.
You have very little time to capture the attention of your audience. So, use it wisely. You need to hook people with the headline and introduction.
Let’s use Stephanie Rhodes’ story as an example.
Headline: Swapping Retirement for Life as a Salesforce Pro
First sentence: At the age of 68, I decided retirement just wasn’t for me.
She strikes the curiosity of her readers with her headline and the first sentence of her story with a unique point of view and a relatable piece of information about her personal life — readers immediately want to learn more about why she decided retirement just wasn’t for her. Her decision to be personable and relatable was a much better creative choice than to open with, “I’m Stephanie Rhodes and I’m a Salesforce Admin.”
Keep these tips in mind when writing your hook:
- Offer unique POV that distinguishes your story from others like yours
- Get to the point — don’t ramble
- Keep your intro shorter than 200 words
- Keep your tone casual and conversational
- Be personable
2. Pivotal moments
Focus on the key turning points in your story. Your goal is to relay the most inspiring moments that are relevant to your audience rather than listing off a timeline of events.
Think of these turning points as defining moments and choose three to five. Break up your story into three to five sections by giving each defining moment a subheadline.
Stephanie included five pivotal moments and organized her story into five sections with the following sub-headlines:
- A family affair
- #CertifiedPro? Yes, please!
- Opportunity Knocks
- Life’s Setbacks
- It’s not over till it’s over
In the screenshot below you can see the first two sub-headlines highlighted in blue. Organizing your story this way makes it easy for the reader to follow along.
Keep these tips in mind when writing your pivotal moments:
- Choose three to five
- Designate each pivotal moment as its own section with a sub-headline
- Keep each paragraph between two to four sentences long
- Avoid a written timeline of events
3. Inspire action
At the end of your story, your goal is to help your reader find success the way you did. This is an opportunity for you to highlight the Salesforce resources you used to become a Trailblazer.
Keep these tips in mind to inspire action:
- Be real — don’t feel like you need to sell Salesforce by linking to a product page
- Focus on educating your audience by linking to helpful resources, such as:
Always remember to be conversational. Write your story as if you’re speaking directly to the reader and always include your hook, pivotal moments, and a dose of inspiration!
Share your story on Twitter and LinkedIn using #mytrailblazerstory. For inspiration follow Trailblazers like Daniel Peter on Twitter and subscribe to Trailblazer blogs such as sfdc99.com and mominthecloud.com.