I’m normally not drawn to reality TV shows.
I’ll admit a wee addiction in the past — especially the early years of American Idol and The Apprentice. But I nipped those habits in the bud after a few seasons. It was easy. I just cancelled my cable. But earlier this year, I moved in with the boyfriend and rediscovered reality TV through The Next Food Network Star. Don’t judge. It’s educational! The main idea of the show is to find the next FN “star” (while also promoting FN and its current cast). But here’s what you can learn from watching:
In order to win, the contestants have to define who they are — they have to find their voice.
In literature, voice is the author’s individual writing style. It usually refers to a whole mess of things; like point of view, use of punctuation, dialogue, etc. — everything that contributes to the tone of a particular piece. Ideally, an author’s voice is so unique, that if you were to read a passage without knowing where it came from, you could name that author by the tone and style.
Being a great writer and being the NFNS is pretty similar. Both need to show the audience how unique they really are. They have to stand out in their own way. Have a particular style, flair or point of view.
But what usually ends up happening, is they all try to make themselves generically lovable. They haven’t (yet) figured out how to be themselves in a way that showcases their unique culinary point of view.
In short, they try too hard to please everybody in the room.
The show attempts to help them figure this out by structuring the challenges around the contestants’ ability to share interesting stories. Those who tell interesting stories AND have cooking skills (and a photogenic face), move to the top of the competition.
Those who don’t, get booted
off the island out of the kitchen.
Storytelling is obviously where it’s at! The best stories are those that really connect with a particular audience, or niche. They’re not meant to appeal to the whole world. But they do have something valuable or entertaining to say — so much so, that the audience will take those stories and share them with others.
Here are a few story ideas to get you started:
1. Tell us how and why you’re doing what you’re doing. What inspired you to start your business? Do you have a manifesto? Share it! (Use this for the About Us page.)
2. Tell us about a particular client’s immense challenge and how you came in and saved the day. What’s different for that client now? (This is a case study.)
3. Tell us how your ideal client found you and decided to buy from you. What was the process like for her? What problem did she have? What was she looking for? And what ultimately made her decide to say yes? (This goes on the Why Work with Us page.)
4. Tell us about the future. Imagine your business five years from now. How has the world changed? How has your business changed? (This is your vision statement.)
5. Tell us how a particular product or service came to exist. What inspired it? Why is it special? Who uses it? And what’s their story? (This could be a catalog description!)
So how do you tell interesting stories on your website? Tell us below in the comments. You can also ask a question.
LOVE the food motif. It’s a fabulous hook–And thank you so much for the storytelling ideas. I have so much on my “plate” this week that the blog post was “weighing” me down. Needed this boost to get me going. Many many thanks!–Michelle
Tea, I love your blog. The food analogy is wonderful. And you have a very engaging writer’s voice. I often only read one blog post when I come across a new blog. But with yours I kept scrolling down and reading more posts. This one about story telling is very well done. -Jayna
What if my “Voice” is s string of horrible grammar and poor punctuation.I’m pretty sure I need to continue on my journey of self-discovery, but so far that’s the voice I seem to have created for myself.My 6th grade English teacher, Mrs. Barnett is probably rolling over in her grave somewhere with all my grammatical errors.Actually, I’m not sure if she is dead or not.Is writing about someone as if they are dead and they are not actually dead some form of writing voodoo?I need to Google that… off to Google.
Great points in this post. I think with that show more than any other it is SO much about who they really are coming through to the viewers and judges. I found you through LinkedIn. Yankee Texan Mom