5 Ways To Quickly Build Your Community Online Through Storytelling

I love this topic.

So, let’s get started right away.

First of all, I think it’s important to talk about how communities are formed in general?

Understanding the psychology behind it is as important for growing a community as it is to publish storytelling content for the said community.

Stanford University’ Social Innovation said it best when they wrote in one of their reviews,

"It’s about people.

First and foremost, community is not a place, a building, or an organization; nor is it an exchange of information over the Internet. Community is both a feeling and a set of relationships among people. People form and maintain communities to meet common needs.

Members of a community have a sense of trust, belonging, safety, and caring for each other. They have an individual and collective sense that they can, as part of that community, influence their environments and each other.

That treasured feeling of community comes from shared experiences and a sense of—not necessarily the actual experience of—shared history. As a result, people know who is and isn’t part of their community. This feeling is fundamental to human existence."

Now, let me ask you a very important question:

What is the NUMBER ONE thing that lets people bond with each other the fastest?

The answer is a shared common emotional experience.

And guess how you can create this the best in a digital environment?

STORIES.

Plato has said it best when he said,

I would probably alter this quote a bit for the sake of this post and say,

“Those who tell the most genuine stories online, generate the most engagement on their content and build their communities the fastest.”

Now, how can you practically go about creating that online community around your business and brand through storytelling?

Well, here are my best 5 tips for you that I’ve been testing out with numerous clients and students:

(1) Identify your overall story archetype (or the story archetype of your business brand). Preferably 1.

What is a story archetype?

In plain English, a story archetype is simply the kind of transition that happens from beginning to middle to the end of a story.

Examples of that are:

  • Overcoming An Evil Thing or The Obstacle Archetype: There is an evil force threatening our hero/their world/mankind. The hero must fight and slay this monster, which often isn’t easy, but they come out triumphant and receive a great reward. Think of movies like Wonder Woman, Star Wars or Braveheart.
  • Rags to Riches: This one is fairly self-explanatory: at the beginning, the main character or hero is insignificant and dismissed by others but something happens to elevate them, revealing them to be exceptional. Think The Ugly Duckling, Aladdin and Superman.
  • The Quest: In the quest, our hero must set out on a long, hazardous journey, and will battle all obstacles until they are triumphant. Think The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter.
  • Voyage and Return: While also based on a journey, the Voyage and Return is very different from The Quest. Here, the main character travels out of their ‘normal world’ into the overwhelming and unknown, before escaping back to the safety of their home. Think Alice in Wonderland, Finding Nemo and Gulliver’s Travels.
  • Comedy: A story made up of comedic events, normally involving mistaken identity, misunderstanding or confusion, resulting in hilarious chaos. Think A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Some Like It Hot.
  • Tragedy: This is the story without the happy ending. While our other archetypes have seen triumphant heroes and slain monsters, this plot takes a different turn, and ends in loss or death. Think Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Breaking Bad.
  •  Rebirth: Our final plot type, rebirth, sees our hero ‘falling under a dark spell’ – whether this is sleep, sickness or enchantment – before breaking free and being redeemed. Think Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and The Secret Garden.

Does your overall life story resemble a rags to riches story, or rather the one of the seeker of a quest?

IMPORTANT NOTE: I also strongly want to note that for the sake of building an online community, definitely stir away from the ‘Tragedy’ theme!

In conclusion, those story archetypes have been the same since the beginning of time, since men first wrote stories in order to collect history.

Whichever story archetype best fits you and your life in relation to your business/brand, go with that and be consistent throughout your entire marketing.

(2) Test out which one of the 4 story themes your audience most resonates with when it comes to your brand. Share those more and more with your community to create that unique brand loyalty.

For a personal brand – or digital influencer – I have found the following 4 story themes to work the best to in terms of building up their communities:

[A] The family person. Are you a mother, a father, a husband, a wife, etc.?

The reason why your growing community will be able to relate to this so quickly is that we all have families in one way or another.

It is something that makes you immediately likable.

Most of the time, a large part of what it is that we do even depend on our families!

They are the reasons why we do what we do.

[B] The Underdog.

An Underdog can be both your overall story archetype but it can also be a powerful theme you can share with your community online.

Just watch this video by one of my favorite bands Kodaline.

What do you notice about it?

An underdog who has become an underdog through no fault of his own, being brave and standing up to a group of bad people.

An underdog theme ALWAYS generates an emotional response.

As a result, it’s a powerful topic to use throughout your branding.

[C] The Seinfeld Theme.

The Seinfeld show was one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms ever created.

Not everyone might share stories about their families online or, talk about their underdog experiences.

If that is you, the Seinfeld theme is for you.

What consists of a Seinfeld theme?

Anything really that a lot of people can relate to that can happen throughout a typical day.

In other words, it’s a day-to-day experience.

Here is an example of how a Seinfeld post can look like and how you can generate ROI from it:

However, if you are the kind of person who feels like they can not come up with something rather general on a day to day basis and pack it in an interesting way, I would probably stir away from choosing this theme as the overarching story theme of your brand.

The main reason being that in order for this to work and to generate the engagement you need, you need to truly be consistent.

Whereas with a great Underdog story, for example, you do not need to show up quite that frequently.

[D] Results and achievements.

You might think that sharing results and achievements online are equivalent to boasting.

You could not be more wrong.

Far from it.

At least, if you don’t do it every day and only share the important milestones with your tribe ;).

People love celebrating success with each other, especially your tribe.

Not only that, they will also see you as an authority figure in that area you’ve achieved a result or success in.

So, whenever that happens – dang, be sure to share it instantaneously.

I look forward to seeing it <3.

Side Note: Speaking of results, you might want to check out this related blog post: https://corneliapauline.com/2017/12/03/can-realistically-make-100k-online-12-months/ 

(3) Weave your story and your theme consistently into these 5 major content buckets.

Now that you’ve decided on your overall story archetype AND you know which one of the 4 story themes works the best for your tribe, you are probably wondering what type of content to even post, right?

Because, even if the content is king, being consistent in your organic marketing approach online is even more important!

So here is the thing.

Digital content of any business or company usually falls into any one of these 4 buckets:

(a) Educational content aka you posting about all the awesome stuff you know.

(b) Inspirational content aka you sharing a bit more about your underdog story or struggles.

(c) Funny/humorous content aka you just being your awesome self.

(d) Controversial content aka your opinions/insights about the industry.

(4) Create a clear mission statement and a shared common goal for your tribe. 

There is no community in the world that is a community without a common shared goal.

Whatever community it is, the one common shared goal is THE ONE THING that holds every one in your tribe together.

For example, let us look at The Honest company.

Every customer of their products shares a belief in protecting the natural environment as well as the (little) people. 

And the company also communicates this shared mission and goal throughout their social media.

What shared goal and/or mission do you envision for your own community?

(5) Be sure to have micro funnels in place everywhere to ensure long-term ROI.

According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes up to eleven (!) touch points that a customer/client must have with your brand/company before even deciding to do business with you.

If you know this right now then you really need to go back and look at your entire social media and content strategy.

In essence, the more strategic calls-to-action you place throughout your content and social media profiles, the more you speed up this process.

Plus, you’re adding a ton of awesome value to your customer/client along the way and how cool is that, am I right :)?

We are going to talk more about Social Media Funnels in a later article on this blog so be sure to SUBSCRIBE to it to get notified once the article is published.

{Btw, see what I did there ;)?!}

 

Finally and in everything you do, be consistent in your approach.

Stay true to who you are and be authentic in how you present yourself online and you will do just fine.

If you found this article to be helpful, definitely share it with your community, like it and/or let me know in the comments down below.

Let’s do this!

The Paradox Of Following Your Passions

And How To Really Get Paid For Doing What You Love!

I’ve been super naive.

You see, when I was this young dreamy Pisces girl, growing up in Vienna, Austria,

My head in a book most of the time (romance novel that is *cough, cough*),
Heart in the clouds,

I thought that I would never do something in my entire life that I wasn’t truly passionate about.

I couldn’t have been more wrong for a number of reasons but to that later.

Fast forward a few years and I had the opportunity to make money from playing the violin professionally while growing up in Austria.

At first, it had been a blast.

Though, it was getting more and more in the way of my high-school studies.

The passion for music – as I was getting paid for it – seemed to become less colorful and it was eventually replaced by the desire to go travel the world; to fully experience what life was all about.

The thing I had not realized until that point was that passions change.

Yes, for some people there are passions that last a lifetime.

For many others, passions change quite frequently, or every few years.

As I am writing this, I am still figuring out why that is so in case you have an opinion about this, be sure to leave a comment down below ;).

Back to my story…

I made the hard decision to stop playing for money.

I cried on the day I quit playing the violin professionally and informed my teachers about it.

For years, I pondered about this decision. Though, would I be thrown back to this very point in time, I would probably do it all over again.

So, I concentrated on getting accepted to an American university and off I went, studying in Hawaii.

There, I realized another passion and talent of mine – writing. I set a new goal for my life – to become a published author of fiction books.

The thing that I do not even mention a many of my friends was that I failed.

I failed to become published and it stunk.

I wrote three entire novels and sent out hundreds of letters to literary agents and publishers.

None of them wanted to publish my novel.

I got one rejection after the next.

The more rejections I got, the further I found myself falling back into this dark whole of not knowing what to do with my life.

Maybe I should start to listen to my father who grew up quite poor during war-ravished Europe after World War 2 and went on to follow a strict corporate career path?

Maybe I should stop dreaming and start taking responsibility for my life?

And you know what?

It was then and there that I realized that even though, I was working and writing and trying to get an agent… I was not really taking responsibility over my life.

I expected something of life, rather than showing the world that I deserved to achieve my goals.

For many more years to come though, I fell back into the same cycle.

A cycle of trying to be responsible and taking on a corporate job to quitting said corporate job and working on living life on my own terms.

Regardless, it seemed like I could still not figure out how to get paid for something I was truly passionate about and it made me wonder about what ‘passion’ really means to us as humans.

My romantic heart started to slowly stop dreaming more and more.

I barely recognized the little girl and romantic teenager I once was.

My heart hardened. I became more angry at life!

Depression and anxiety set in.

The depression I think and the anxiety resulted out of this complete loss of identity.

You see, growing up my mom always encouraged my brother and I to dream bigger. To not be afraid to ask for the moon and the stars.

An orphan that nobody wanted, she was the complete opposite to my father. She desperately needed to dream to be able to survive.

The problem was that we still struggled financially growing up.

I asked myself, what was the purpose for me to ask for the moon and the stars and to dream about them, when those dreams don’t pay the bills?

After all, in this society and culture we live in, we need to make money to survive and to make a fairly decent living.

Yes, money is just a tool for the decisions we are able to make throughout our lives (big and small) but the older you get, the more you can’t help to measure your achievements based on the number in your bank account.

So, I continued to feel stuck and oh, so confused.

What was the next logical step for me?

I tried to be smart and figure out what skills I had that allowed me to add value to other people in exchange for money.

From doing random English-German translation work to teaching the violin, to doing some social media work and copywriting, dang, I did it all.

However, you see, the interesting thing about us humans is that just because we are good at something because we have developed certain skill sets with which we can add value to people and get paid for it in return is like DOPAMIN on steroids,

It does not necessarily mean that we are also in love with said transaction.

In other words, the passion subsides fast.

If you’ve ever been with a hot guy or gal just because you thought they were hot and wanted a quick fling… you know what I mean.

No way would you be able to build up a serious life-long relationship and commitment off of a fling.

This understanding and knowledge, however, did not translate for me into my professional life.

So here is where I got naive.

I thought that reaching the point in my adult life of where I only had to answer to myself (aka, the famous ‘be my own boss’ mentality) and not to some manager that is part of a big corporation, that it would make me satisfied.

Happy.

Passionate with life.

Well, it did not.

Not all of it.

How so?

Because I often times focused so much on the hot guy or gal in the room that was great for a short fling when all I finally wanted was a long-term, meaningful and romance-novel-deep relationship.

Guess with what you can identify a ‘fling’ in the professional world?

Money.

Crazy, isn’t it?

So if you’re just going after the money and you are in it for the money for the money’s sake – boy, you’re doing it all wrong.

If, instead, you’re focused on building up the relationship, the money will come to you and just flow ;).

What a paradox, isn’t it?

But it’s true.

So, what should I have focused on?

I should have focused on the things that light me up inside;

That make me get out of bed in the morning;

That make my heart feel all giddy and intoxicated with purpose.

In my crusade to “be free”, I have yet again trapped myself a bit.

This was a realization that I have come upon this past year.

Now, I am making the intentional steps to move my business and my life step by step to something that I feel strongly about and committed to.

One of the things I use to help me do so is to be one hundred percent honest with myself, take weekly self-inventory and be as authentic as I can possibly be throughout my content creation and business operations.

That is the paradox of following your passions.

First, you need to identify a passion in regards to its level of ‘hotness’ and ‘long-term commitment capability’.

Sometimes, you just know before even acting upon a passion.

Other times, you have to act on it first to know.

There is no right and wrong answer ;).

Second, you have to become smart during the process of self-discovery so to speak.

In order to fully discover yourself,  I found out that you have to forget about purely ‘making money’ while at the same time, managing your existing money in order to truly create that life of your dreams in the long-run.

I say, challenge accepted.

Regardless, I do believe that there is some truth to the statement that you should follow your passions.

Ultimately though what I think it comes down to is love in its purest forms.

Like I mentioned before in this article, passions so often times subside while when you truly love, you love forever <3.

In order to differentiate one from the other, we are in this constant state of discovery, identifying if we are lieing to ourselves in the ‘heat of the moment’ or, if certain endeavors are really true passions that we want to dedicate ourselves too.

One last realization I want to leave you with, just making a good income is not enough.

Trust me, I know.

There were (and still are) times I make a multiple 5-figure income per month and I still feel somewhat hollow inside.

So, I want to make a new commitment to myself.

And that commitment can be summed up in two words:

BE INTENTIONAL.

Let me know your thoughts about this topic in the comments down below.

I can’t wait to chat more about this with you <3.

 

P.s.: You might also like: https://corneliapauline.com/2018/02/14/people-succeed-life-others-dont/

You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain. (A Short Story)

Part One.

The inspiration for this short story came while walking on a grey and gloomy November day during the streets of Vienna…Enjoy ;)!

 

A bleak streak of silver rushed through the clouds like a rare spec of light in a barren sky.

I lifted up my face and fell in line to the rhythm of the rain drops, taking one step after the other.

Dok. Dok.

My high heels clicked on the concrete floor.

Tik Tak.

I could hear the rain fall onto the windshield of my Chevy.

Tip. Tap.

I turned around to make sure that I had locked my car.

Beep. Beep.

I took a deep breath and moved further forward.

And that was when it happened as I lifted my head up towards the gloomy sky, watching the big white pool of… somethingness descend from the heavens.

Pluck.

I turned and looked over my left shoulder. A white spot had now begin to cover the left shoulder of my black blazer. My eyes widened.

Quickly, I gazed away and continued to stare into the rain.

I was late already.

So late.

And I did not even know what this next hour exactly had in store for me. I just knew I could not be late.

Why did this son-of-a-bitch bird just have to take a crap on me now? Right above me? Right now?!

I sighed.

It was one of those days. Those stereotypical days that started out like this or that and were oh-so-hard to turn around.

Of course, I knew very well that it all just had to do with me. I could have turned it around.

Could have.

Long ago.

I could have taken on a different route.

I didn’t understand for the life of me why I had just taken on this one.

Maybe I am a masochist?

Maybe it was fate?

I shrugged.

Why I was lead onto this one faitful road, I would always fail to understand.

That one road that appeared to be just so much rockier and uglier then all the other ones I had ever tried to walk on.

And how I failed, walking it with my head held high.

How utterly I failed.

Though I couldn’t fail anymore. I already did. And my fate had been decided on that one rainy afternoon.

Once I’d thought that walking was similar to breathing.

Easy and automatic.

But I’d never wanted to accept that while I was walking along my path, so many other things could happen to me… like a bird shitting on my shoulder when I was already late for something.

Something so important… I just couldn’t be late to.

I’m almost there!

Barely registering the shapes the clouds in the sky were taking on.

One by one they were forming into an ant and a bird and oh! “There was an elephant as well,” I thought.

I should go back to my car to open up the new box of leather seat cleaners that I’d bought a couple of months ago or at least dug around in my old bag for tissues.

But who am I kidding?

I much rather watched the clouds with the rain sprinkling on my face that gave me some sort of resembling feeling of being alive, then cleaning off dirty bird poop from my shoulder.

A thought shot through my mind. I dropped my shoulder bag and let it fall to the ground.

The black of the bag mixed kinda nicely with the grey of the street.

I unbuttoned my blazer.

One button after the next, until I had managed to free all three buttons.

One arm out of the blazer, then the other and the blazer glided to the floor. I didn’t care that it got wet. It had been too tight anyways. I hadn’t wanted to wear such a tight one but I didn’t have another one for the hearing.

When wearing the blazer, you were able to determine the exact curviness of my breasts and that was not always a good thing.

I sighed and bent down to pick up my purse. The leather felt wet now and somehow not as comforting as when I let my fingers glide over a smooth dry handle.

But nevertheless, it felt good to hold on to something. It always did.

Maybe that was one of the reasons why women wore handbags and guys put their wallets in their pockets?

To not feel so alone.

To know that they had some worth, depending on the dollar amount in their bank account.

Suddenly I could feel my nipples rising underneath the grey schoolgirl sweater and the blouse I was wearing underneath it. I started frowning. That could only mean one of two things.

I decisively walked back towards my car to grab my brand-new khaki anorak from the backseat. The cognac colored synthetic leather seats of the car were ripped at parts.

Molly had done that when she had been a puppy.

Suddenly I hoped she was alright, there where I left her. She knew the drill and I could always count on her.

Well, most of the time,” I thought when I looked at the disheveled fake leather.

I had liked this car once.

Lots of memories. Quite pleasant ones.

But now I didn’t like it anymore.

Like so many other things.

Life’s irony. Sometimes you didn’t know why you stopped doing things or seeing people or other stuff, because you just remembered the good things and forgot the bad ones.

The good times. The good memories.

Not that bad stuff. At least not the really bad stuff.

I guess people’s brains just erased things that were unimportant, that they could live without ever remembering again. Like part of some survival instinct.

Not me.

I always remembered the bad things. The things that I could have changed.

And then it hit me. And it hurt.

I lifted my chin after selecting the green ball of fabric out of the mess of all the things that were randomly thrown together in the back of my car. I put it on the way I always put on a jacket. Organized.

One arm after the other went were it belonged and after I was done, I pulled the jacket together and dared to take a look at my watch.

My heart didn’t even stop, even when I realized that I was already two minutes too late to the place where I had to be. I would have felt anxious a few years ago but not anymore.

I just didn’t care as much anymore even though it was the kind of thing you just couldn’t be late to.

I shrugged and walked towards the spot I had dropped my blazer at. I looked down and pondered about it for just a minute before I decided to move on.

It hadn’t been good enough anymore and in some way I should thank the bird.

I walked across the parking lot roof until I couldn’t go any further. I stopped right in front of the grey concrete wall. It only went up to my knees which seemed odd to me.

I bent a little further forward and looked down at the hustle and bustle of the street that seemed so far away. It was somehow quiet up here. You couldn’t smell the odor of the running engines or hear the honking of some driver who couldn’t control his emotions and got pissed off.

I put my hand over the place where my heart was and counted the beats.

Dadum. Dadum.

I felt it beating. Sometimes I forgot to feel it. Forgot, that I was the one who was still alive.

I took it for granted, that my heart beat and I was still able to inhale oxygen every single day in order to keep going.

Was that what gratitude felt like?

I doubted it because I didn’t feel grateful. Just astonished. When my ravished and torn body was the one that should be underneath the ground.

I pondered for a quick second if I should step up onto the wall that was about ten inches wide. I bent down even more to feel it. The cold concrete felt so seductively smooth underneath the palms of my hands and I started petting it the way I would pet my sister’s cocker spaniel.

Tentatively I lifted up my left leg…

– TO BE CONTINUED –

How do you think the story will go on?

What will happen next?

The Second Part is following shortly, so stay tuned ;)!

P.s.: In the meantime, you might also enjoy: https://corneliapauline.com/2017/11/20/1000-times-goodbye-the-sacrifices-of-an-expat/