Storyline Format

I’ve been reading books on winemaking and viticulture and was really struggling through them with all the terms. About 95% of the terms were new to me (background: prior to two months ago, I had brewed several batches of beer with friends and recently three separate apple cider batches by myself, but definitely no winemaking experience). Trying to navigate all this confused me greatly as I had to reread paragraphs over and over. Reading the list of definitions in the first book was completely overwhelming!

Juxtapose that against your SaaS offering. Yes, many of the terms in your training and Knowledge Base may be normal English words, but many take on nuances unknown to the reader or incorporate certain attributes that aren’t well known. Even if that’s not true, it’s still a new set of tools someone has to learn. So while winemaking is arguably much more involved and different to learn (not to mention much easier to screw up!), how clear is your metanarrative?

While reading the books on vinedressing, the glossary was necessary to learn the language, but it was the context into which it fit that helped me understand when and where a cordon was important, or why I should care about veraison (it’s the ripening of grapes, in case you’re curious). In the same way, are there ways to morph or adapt your training and Knowledge Base so while there are plenty of “glossary” documents, to create a metanarrative for the customer to follow?

I’m picking on Knowledge Bases, and so many are terrific because they are feature-centric (that’s a positive, not a negative). That’s their intended purpose. However, what are the strands that braid them together? What’s the overall theme? How do you unite your product(s) together under a common banner for a customer to learn in a few seconds, minutes, or even hour?

That’s where story telling is beholden as king. Where a Knowledge Base article defines how and what something is to be used, the story unites many of the features together for a common purpose and/or theme. For those users that were having trouble “finding value” they can now see how using four of your six different features is now “worth it”, they can see how others are using it effectively, and they have a roadmap to their own success. Isn’t that what we want to give them anyway, seeing how wine begins as a young plant and ends up in a bottle that you open at your party to enjoy?

Published by Jeff Beaumont

I love helping companies scale and grow their organizations to delight customers and employees, enabling healthy teams, fast growth, and fewer headaches. Scaling quickly is wrought with potholes and plot twists. When you’re running a company, losing customers, and employees are on their way out, and don’t have your systems running smoothly, then you’ll be at your wits' end. I've been there and hate it.

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