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Which Topics Make the Best Business Stories

best stories for business topic finder exercise Jul 06, 2023


  • Business storytelling requires a specific 'story mindset' that focuses not only on crafting compelling narratives but also aligning these stories with business strategies. The ultimate goal is to attract and connect with customers or supporters effectively.
  • When it comes to using storytelling for business, one useful exercise is the 'topic finder'. It helps identify relevant stories about the company or an individual. You start by defining the business's identity and characteristics, and then you brainstorm related narratives.
  • Once you've identified potential story topics, the challenge is to turn them into engaging stories. It's an iterative process that might seem overwhelming at first, but with practice and the application of storytelling techniques, you'll become faster and capable of writing stories with ease. We'll dive deeper into these techniques in the upcoming parts of this series.


Business storytelling is its own writing genre. What do I mean by that? In Part I of this series, I introduced the importance of developing a story mindset that allows you to notice good topics and what makes a compelling story. I also covered the way your ‘story sight’ needs to include business strategy. After all, your goal isn’t to be the next John Grisham. Your goal is to attract more customers or supporters, connect with existing clients or followers, and align your storytelling with your short and long-term business objectives.

If you haven’t ready Part I, read through this article first. It’ll help prime the pump for the following topic exercise. If you’ve already got your business storytelling glasses on, let’s dive in and get you a list of topics that you’re excited to write about. In the next section, you'll try a ‘story finder’ exercise that originated from an award-winning storyteller, so you can approach your blog, posts, and articles with confidence.


Topic Finder Exercise


Do you ever feel a little boring? Or that maybe your industry is boring? Or maybe you’re all excited to write but get started and feel like you’re all over the place?

The following exercise was inspired by Margot Leitman’s framework in Long Story Short to help anyone, whether you’re feeling enthusiastic or a little uncertain in this new endeavor. I’ve adapted it here to help you locate relevant stories about you or your business.

Step 1:

Complete the following fill-in-the blank exercise. Begin with the anatomy of your business (appearance) and then move toward the personality of your business (characteristics). As you go, jot down any stories that begin to poke their head around.

I am / We are _______________________

We are [small]

We are [family-owned]

We’re [located downtown]

We’re [connected to a larger network]

We are [positive]

We are [problem-solvers]

We are [inspired]

Step 2:

Now, take it a step further. Fill in the blanks, then brainstorm stories that come to mind.

I / We provide _____________________
I/ We do______________
I / We create __________________________

We provide [marketing strategy]

We provide [copywriting]

I do [content creation]

We create [sales funnels]

I provide [story coaching]

Step 3:

Now back it up and think about your history or your business history. Fill in the blank with as many examples as you can, then list stories that correspond.

I was / We were ____________________________________.

I was a [writing coach for attorneys]

We use to be [a much smaller company]

I was a [graduate student with a baby]

We were [the new kids on the block]

We were [the underdogs]


Turn your topics into stories

How many topics did you find? Did you remember things about yourself or your business that surprised you? Are you scratching your head wondering how on earth a story about your first job or a failure would make a good business story?

Whether you feel elated or overwhelmed by list-making, you’re in the right place. Creating is hard work, and it’s normal to feel a little wobbly at first. Or if you’re like me, I feel excited by new things then weighed down when the work really kicks in.

In Part III of this series, we’re going to apply a story compass to help you narrow your topic into a story you can tell. Keep going to learn more about how you can turn your topic into a fast outline that helps you fill the gap between blank page and publish.

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Victoria Payne

Victoria is a brand storyteller, content strategist, story coach, and award-winning writing professor. 

She helps brands tell stories that connect with their customers and grow their business. She's also the lead writer for inkMakers content subscriptions. 

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