Short & Sweet Marketing for Story Artists – Tip #5 of 5 – Art of Consistency & Branding

This is the fifth of five parts on how best to manage marketing during this particular time period…or beyond. While Story Crossroads sees “story artists” to typically mean spoken word storytellers, these tips apply to all performing artists or professionals across industries.

5-Tips for 5 Days:

  • Tip 1 – Website – REVEALED
  • Tip 2 – Social Media – REVEALED
  • Tip 3 – E-Newsletter & Email Lists – REVEALED
  • Tip 4 – Ideal Client – REVEALED
  • Tip 5 – Art of Consistency & Branding

You figured everything out – website, social media, E-Newsletter, Email Lists and even your Ideal Client. Now, how much can you be trusted to get things out when you say? How memorable are you?

Consistency deals with accuracy AND timliness.

If you have someone else handle your marketing (a great idea), then that person needs to understand the way you would talk or approach things. They need to be accurate with your personality.

Most likely, you are handling your own marketing. Yet, we can forget how we did it one time and keeping it that way for another similar situation. Can we adapt? Absolutely. Even companies update their logos, images, and mottoes from time to time. However, the most successful transitions are when the coloring/logo/image are close to the original. You can even have a transition plan of tweaking color tones year by year so it is gradual and still recognizable with your fan-base.

Story artists tend to be decent with branding on stage and then forget to use that same branding in all marketing materials. When people click on a link, seeing that imagery is a quick, “Whew! This is who I want!”

Give the people seeking you that affirmation.

Branding can involve objects, wardrobe, repeated phrases and traditions, and colors.

Story Crossroads uses blue/orange throughout what we do. We have a logo. We have t-shirts with “I have a story. You have a story. We all have stories.” for our volunteers, youth and adult community tellers, and our professional story artists. We use that motto on our email signature, our website homepage, and other applicable places. We do our best to be consistent…but our monthly E-Newsletter is really more a bi-monthly than monthly. Everyone can improve…yes, that means, us, too.

Organizations easily have a logo to promote. A story artist often rely on themselves as the brand. This is why at least one picture of the story artist is crucial on the homepage of a website, in the banners on Facebook, upon the header of a E-Newsletter, etc.

Being remembered and being reliable…nothing compares! Except for those paying gigs and opportunities. Believe you can be spectacular.

Quick 5-Question for Consistency & Branding:

  1. Do you have a catch phrase, opening line, ending line, or motto? How often do you use it? Do people expect these traditions?
  2. What colors are associated with you? Can you narrow them down to one color? Two colors? If you consider “all colors,” then are you consistent in using “all colors” clearly in all marketing or communications regarding you and your work?
  3. Is there a type of storytelling, art, music, dance, movement that you specialize in? Even with skills in other areas, is it clear about your niche?
  4. Do you have scheduled website updates at least once every two weeks? If less than this time-frame, then please add this to your “to do” list. Do you have scheduled social media? Each platform is different on what is expected. Facebook is best with no more than 3 posts a day. Twitter is at least 15 posts a day. Answers will vary. Here is some guidance from an article from 14 studies. You can even have software to help you in the planning and saving groupings of hashtags to save time. See an article “The 25 Best Social Media Management Tools for Businesses of All Sizes” by Alfred Lua/Buffer (11-minute read). Do you keep your promise of having a monthly E-Newsletter or whatever length of time you said?
  5. Did you consider AND actually send press releases as a story artist? Organization? Both, if it applies? Any event you are connected with…even if you are not the host? You need to be familiar with journalists and keep a rapport. You can send a press release every other week or at least monthly. That is NOT too much. If you don’t send press releases at all…commit!

Story Artists who have Branding:

  • Donald Davishttps://www.ddavisstoryteller.com/ – has the bowtie on stage as well as key image on his website – dresses up to honor his audience though the bowtie has an edge of surprise/fun to it – matches with his personal/family stories
  • Barbara Schutzgruberhttps://weavestory.wordpress.com/ – she is a weaver of silks and threads as well as stories – imagery works nicely together – she wears what she has woven when weaving stories – reminds this connection in all she does
  • Diane Ferlattehttp://www.dianeferlatte.com/ – has “the stick” or “talking stick” on stage and pounds out rhythm, often accompanied by Erik Pearson – could use this imagery more prominently for website and marketing materials

Story Artists with Consistency? Harder to Determine.

The best way is if a story artists declares, “Yes, I do send out every other week, once a month, etc.” We will let you ponder who feels consistent and focused on keeping you informed. Hopefully, you can count yourself.

If you want me to give initial thoughts on your consistency and branding and do not mind well-intended bluntness, I am open to letting you know if you email info@storycrossroads.org. Yes, this is complimentary.

Follow our next 5-part blog series entitled “How to Best Use the Story Crossroads Discord Server.”

The Story Crossroads Server on Discord has text/vocal/video chat options plus resources and ideas. Click here for the direct invite/link.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups on our website home page at the bottom, the archive page, etc.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities

See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here

Why Story Crossroads Loves National Storytelling Network (You Could, too!)–Part 1 of 5

This is the first of five parts on benefits to take advantage of as a member of the National Storytelling Network. Story Crossroads is proud to be an organization member of NSN.

Awesomeness Revealed:

  • Part 1 – Borrow NSN’s nonprofit status for grants–as individual or organization – TODAY
  • Part 2 – Research through Greenwood’s World Folklore and Folklife Database for free
  • Part 3 – Delve into NSN’s Accreditation Program
  • Part 4 – Benefit from in-state tuition for Storytelling Masters (with virtual options)
  • Part 5 – Participate in special interest groups – education, organizations, healing, leadership/producing

You like being paid. You like being paid as a performing artist. In fact, you love receiving money.

Yes, I made some assumptions there. It’s fine whether or not all of that is true.

Now…did you know that you can borrow another entity’s nonprofit status called a sponsorship program? The National Storytelling Network, being nonprofit, offers dues-paying members the opportunity to borrow that status called Sponsored Member Program.

Why would you want to borrow nonprofit status? Why wouldn’t you want it! There are so many grants and funding possibilities when you are linked to another nonprofit. You still have control over the performance or research storytelling project. You will be the one to complete the final report to the organization awarding you the grant.

Once upon a time, Story Crossroads was an idea rather than an entity. During the first couple years, we had to borrow nonprofit status. We did not want to be in that limbo world forever and always planned to be our own nonprofit. Thus…since April 7, 2017, we became a full-fledged 501(c)(3) nonprofit that took what seemed forever to earn along with sending in 200+ pages to the IRS (26-page application, tons of pages for supplemental to the application, the rest as examples of our impact with the community). There is a hefty price–financially and time-wise–in the beginning to receive that nonprofit status. Many people and organizations avoid even getting to that status.

Crazy enough, our nonprofit status was approved on December 8, 2018 but it backdates to when your organization became “official” through the state. For us, that would be the state of Utah.

Whether you are an individual or organization, make sure you have a business license. It is only $10/year in Utah though can vary from state to state.

As a reward for that hard work, qualified nonprofits do not have to pay taxes and have the simplest reporting each year called 990-EZ, which is nicknamed the “postcard” because it is that short in information to send back. You can also purchase most supplies being tax exempt. Perhaps this motivates you to become nonprofit. Yet, in the meantime, borrow!

Never plan on being nonprofit? No problem. Continue in that sponsored membership program as long as you are diligent in your final reports to those grants and continue to have authorization through the National Storytelling Network.

By the way, this has nothing to do with the sponsored membership program, but there is something wonderful housed under the umbrella of the National Storytelling Network due to the efforts of Artists Standing Strong Together – see on Facebook or go to the website. It is the Storyteller Relief Fund that helps any story artist that is having a hard time during COVID-19. You can donate or apply to this fund.

So, are you a dues-paying member of the National Storytelling Network?

Were you one but accidentally forgot to renew? First time to storytelling?

Today is that time. Go here for the opportunity to be connected and be part of the National Storytelling Network.

Want to discover more beyond this 5-part Blog Series? Check out the the next Story Crossroads adventure on Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9:00am-10:30am MDT from your computer- The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities.

See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

D is for Defying Death—A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

Defying Death-

From Hungary-

Why experience death when you can outwit it? With stories that feature Death, it’s usually someone who is older and it is assumed to have some lingering illness that brings Death to the door.

50-word-or-less summary:

While doing chores, Death came for woman. Busy! Tomorrow? Death wrote “tomorrow” on her door. Death returned. Woman claimed today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow. Death returned next day. Same excuse. Death erased “tomorrow” from door. Woman hid in barrel of honey. Opened chest with feathers. Death afraid! Survived!

Version of Outwitting Death story: https://healingstory.org/outwitting-death/

Compare to History:

We outwit ourselves with sickness and sometimes death through placebos. This is more of a mental exercise as a placebo is something given or done for someone who thinks they are getting the real thing. Yet, it wasn’t until the 18th century when the word became common. Milk sugar and bread pills could induce sleep and were some of the early versions of these placebos. Often times placebos were used with difficult patients. Death certainly had a difficult “patient” with that old woman.

More on the History: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23497809/

From Greece

Most know of the man who is punished by the Greek gods. He must roll up a rock for eternity only for the rock to roll down and do it again. This man was Sisyphus, King of Ephyra (Corinth), with many stories that are fascinating to tell. I will focus on a couple that relates to defying death. By the way, Sisyphus is happy with his punishment if you consider his rebellious spirit.

50-word-or-less summary:

Sisyphus shared secret. Zeus sent Death/Thanatos. Sisyphus asked how Death’s chains worked. Death demonstrated. Death trapped! No ones dies! Annoyed Ares freed Death. Sisyphus does more cunning deeds. Gods angered. Punishment! Rolled stone up hill for eternity. Sisyphus never died. Sisyphus happy! Throughout life, Sisyphus wanted to conquer death.

Finding the Story: https://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/hell/camus.html and https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Sisyphus/sisyphus.html

For thousands of years, people have wanted to find the mythical Fountain of Youth. The explorer Juan Ponce de Leon is inextricably thought of for such a dream. The Taino of the Caribbean did have stories of this fountain of youth but there is nothing in the explores correspondence that says that this was an actual goal for him. He was more concerned with gold. Perhaps if one has enough gold then you can buy necessary medicine and still experience a type of eternity on earth? Someone who truly was vocal about searching for a river paradise that would give the same gift was Alexander the Great. So Sisyphus and Alexander were rulers…sense a theme?

More on the History: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.history.com/.amp/news/the-myth-of-ponce-de-leon-and-the-fountain-of-youth

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19. Our postponed Festival is now scheduled for May 12, 2021 with other plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/ or http://www.storycrossroads.org/virtual.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!

C is for Councils & Communions—A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

Councils & Communions-

From the Cherokee-

The Cherokee often met as councils to discuss important matters, and so it should be no surprise that the animals and the plants also preferred to meet and discuss things together.

50-word-or-less summary:

Animals gathered as council to discuss hunting from the humans. If humans kill without prayer of thanks, illnesses will afflict them. Plants gathered as council to discuss the healing of humans as a result of the animals’ plan. Anyone sick turned to Shaman who communed with spirits of the plants.

Version of Origin of Medicine story: http://www.indigenouspeople.net/origmedi.htm

Compare to History:

Back in 2000 BC, people viewed much of healing to come from eating different roots. Then, by 1000 AD, people saw these practices as being heathen and focused more on prayer. We have moved on to pills and antibiotics. Yet, by 2007, we are leaning towards natural ways of medicines and returning to eating different roots. The Cherokee have used herbs such as cherry bark for coughs, colds, and diarrhea. Hemlock could cure the flu. Combinations of plants already know by the Cherokee have been transformed to medicine such as penicillin.

Another Story Version Combined with History: https://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-cherokeemedicine/

From Turkey-

The communion is to Allah and yet also takes place at the grave of the girl’s mother. Such a combination allows the girls’s mother to share the answers through the blessing of Allah. May we commune with whomever we deem as our Higher Power and increase our love and devotion to family.

50-word-or-less summary:

Sultana sick. Any who help die. Girl prays to Allah. Voice says use milk. Sultana cured! Birthed dragon! Dragon prince killed teachers. Girl’s stepmother offered girl as teacher. Communed. Given staff. Dragon pacified. Dragon to marry?. Ate bride. Marry girl now? Communed. Hedgehog Mask. Dragon skin taken off—human!

Version of The Dragon Prince story: https://books.google.com/books?id=Bi7fBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=folktale+prayer+sick&source=bl&ots=WFgW7O_F6_&sig=ACfU3U0JmRfP7AH-dceJV4n4dTlwMaIQKw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiBk9yGssvoAhWObs0KHdFgBicQ6AEwDHoECAUQAQ#v=onepage&q=folktale%20prayer%20sick&f=false

Compare to History:

Throughout time, people have argued about allowing prayer and the dedicated time to commune. In 1962, prayer was banned in American schools. On January 16, 2020, President Trump commemorated National Religious Freedom Day in the Oval Office with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim students. The president sent out an updated guidance to schools on the exercise of religious freedom. This is an emotional topic and will forever be something to ponder.

More on the History: https://www.npr.org/2020/01/16/796864399/exclusive-trump-to-reinforce-protections-for-prayer-in-schools

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19. Our postponed Festival is now scheduled for May 12, 2021 with other plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!

A is for Apples of Alteration–A to Z Blog Challenge

A2020We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history.

You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

Apple of Alteration-

From the Norse-

Apples are symbols for many things around the world – goodness to fertility to sin. One of my favorite stories featuring this fruit would be the apples of youth and healing protected by the Norse goddess Idun.

50-word-or-less summary:

Giant disguised as eagle to trick gods by not allowing meat to cook unless they promised to get healing apples from Idun. Loki told Idun that her apples were not as powerful as she thought. Kidnapped! Gods age without Idun/apples. Loki redeemed when saves her. Gods regain health.

Version of Idun and the Apples story: https://norse-mythology.org/tales/the-kidnapping-of-idun/

Compare to History:

The Vikings certainly have been known to plunder, and, of course, kidnapping. Many Viking men practiced polygamy to assert status. As a result, there were always a shortage of single women. This made the men always on edge and prone to violent behavior.

Now the hoarding of toilet paper seems harmless compared to what was done around the times of the Vikings of 750 to 1050 AD. Take comfort in the civility of today.

More on the History: https://www.sciencealert.com/vikings-might-have-raided-because-there-was-a-shortage-of-single-women

From Norway-

Rather than pulling from the Viking lore, this story focuses on a boy who wants to impress a princess. He discovers that apples-or at least a particular one-can cause horns to appear on one’s head or extend one’s nose. You could say that he found a way for this apple to cure him emotionally from a princess who rejected his marriage proposal. Yet, a different apple brought healing to the harm done by the first one.

50-word-or-less summary:

Boy inherited bottomless purse, wishing hat, and horn that created soldiers. Proposed to princess. She stole magic objects. Ran away! Boy ate apple. Horns! Long nose! Found another apple that removed/restored. Found princess and offered first apple. Gave second apple once she returned magic items.

Finding the Story: Hodne, Ørnulf. The Types of the Norwegian Folktale. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget, 1984. https://www.amazon.com/Types-Norwegian-Folktale-Serie-B-Skrifter/dp/8200068498/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=Hodne%2C+%C3%98rnulf.+The+Types+of+the+Norwegian+Folktale.+Bergen%3A+Universitetsforlaget%2C+1984.&qid=1585810014&sr=8-1-fkmr0

Compare to History:

If you think about the story where the apples could bring harm or healing, think of how the doctor’s white coat can either bring the patient peace of mind or anxiety. However, back in the 1800s, doctors tended to wear black as the medicinal practice was sometimes questionable and a visit would represent a formal affair and often death. You can find paintings depicting doctors during that time period dressed in black. By the end of the 19th century, the practice of medicine was more scientific–and one could say “pure” and sense of cleanliness–and thus the change to white coats. Some of this came from Roman influence with the white togas. Today, Norwegian doctors wear white coats like their Finnish and Swedish counterparts. Though neighboring doctors in England and Denmark still wear the black coats.

Interestingly, the young tend to prefer doctors in black while older people feel more confident with doctors in white coats. So keep that in mind when you have a crying baby!

More on the History: https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/doctors-white-coat-historical-perspective/2007-04

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19.

Our 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!