Tips & tricks of being a better storyteller: Finding expert sources

Who is the best person to tell your story?

Every story starts with a source – preferably human, not a website. That individual doesn’t need to know everything about what your organization does, but brings the sort of valuable personal experience that connects with readers. They’re an expert on what they know.

When telling the story of your organization, let the people who know it share their voices. Your staff, customers, clients, students, partners or patrons are often the best experts on what you do. That also makes them the best expert sources.

Start with internal experts – your staff. They’re the faces as well as voices of your organization and have the front-line experiences that demonstrate your organization’s success. They also are the best source of external experts – people who interact with your organization.

Choosing your expert sources takes forethought:

  • What expertise do you need? (For example, do you need someone to explain how something works or illustrate the benefits of taking action?)
  • Who is this expert (staff, client, student, etc.)?
  • What experience can they share?
  • How will that experience impact readers?
  • Does this expert represent the image of your organization that you want to present?

When putting together a publication – in print or digitally – stories work together to form a cohesive narrative. Each story shares a different slice of expertise that reinforces the whole.

Just as each story doesn’t encompass the full narrative by itself, likewise each source shares his or her own perspective and helps fill out the total picture. It’s within those diverse perspectives that readers can see themselves.