Behind the scenes of Scandiweb’s Team Stories
Most business pages contain a team section. Usually populated with professional photos of those in charge, accompanied by some description that tries to make corporate slang sound exciting, such pages often fail to deliver any insights into who these people actually are.
Sometimes, however, a business will go the extra mile to make their team page representative of the values and capabilities of the team. Check out the creative approaches of Electric Pulp, Sub Rosa and Myrkur. In these examples, the teams appear relatable, approachable and cared for, which, concurrently, conveys positive messages about the businesses.
Scandiweb is currently in the process of telling our own team’s story and putting effort into doing it right. In this article, we’ll go over the process, tools and limitations, methodology, results, and benefits of Scandiweb’s experience. Keep in mind that the insights should be applicable to other projects as well.
The Content Writing Process
Each employee is invited to either attend an interview or fill out a google form with 14 questions, half of which require extremely brief answers (Name, place of birth, position, and the like). The other 7 questions go more in-depth, asking things about their tasks, strong suits, hobbies, achievements. For those who chose it, the interview is based around the same questions, however, the flow of it deviates from the list, since the interviewer can pick-up on some themes present in certain answers and naturally switch to another question.
Question & answer example
Once the interview/form is complete, the employee has done their part and it is the copywriter’s turn to compile the answers into a story. After the draft is ready, it is sent back to the employee for review before it goes to publication. With the subject’s approval, the story is then compiled with 4 other stories of people from the same department (i.e. Designers, Developers, HRs) and published on Medium as one episode (here’s an example), as well as added to Scandiweb’s Team page.
Scandiweb has over 170 employees, which means that getting every story is a mammoth task. Not only does every person have a story to tell, but they also each have their own personalities and quirks, which greatly affects the process. Some people are shy or busy and submit one-word answers to important questions, others like to talk about themselves at length and end up answering the same question with multiple paragraphs. It is possible to work with both kinds of information, however, in the latter case, it is often heartbreaking having to pick and choose from a wealth of interesting information, because of the word count limit, which we’ll get to momentarily.
Offering the two options of either filling out the form or do an interview is also crucial, as some people’s preferences differ — some like to chat, others to write. Generally, it is more time consuming for the person to write, since, without time constraints, people tend to craft their words more carefully, which, in a work environment as busy as Scandiweb’s, was a reason for many people opting to do the interview!
Standardised Story Structure
There is a 250 word limit per story. This is crucial for engagement from people who do not want to share much — if others have thousand word stories, you could feel intimidated and rather not share.
Furthermore, there is a similar structure for all stories, which consists of:
- A strange/funny childhood belief
- Their position in Te company
- The main tasks that constitute their day-to-day
- The soft/hard skills which make the person good at these tasks
- Their hobbies/interests/achievements
- Favorite aspect of work at Scandiweb
On top of this, they are also asked for advice they would give their younger selves, which is added disjointedly from the story.
Maintaining such a structure has multiple benefits — it alleviates the task for the copywriter since coming up with unique stories for each of the 170 people would take up ungodly amounts of time. It also helps with putting everybody on equal footing — senior devs and newcomers can have their stories side by side and be equally interesting.
Make It Fun
Bland stories won’t be read. Finding a point of relation is imperative for taking regular stories above and beyond the industry standard. How will you make your team stand out? With great visuals, like Stink Studios? Or let them address the reader directly, like Blue Fountain Media?
Scandiweb decided to go with the tried-and-tested idea of having people share something fun, but personal, which is how the idea of weird childhood beliefs came about — often hilarious and deeply personal, this produced such gems as:
- “I used to believe cotton candy was made from actual cotton”
- “I thought that the clouds are static and only appear to move because the earth is rotating”
- “My grandfather convinced me that rocks could grow when placed in water, by periodically replacing the rock in my experiment jar with a bigger one, when I wasn’t looking.”
- Many, many others — read the stories to find out!
These beliefs are something most people’s closest friends usually wouldn’t know, so it was great to get these out in the world and people had fun sharing them. In fact, there has been plenty of feedback staying “I only read them for the beliefs, but end up staying for the whole stories!”
People were also asked for the advice they would give their 10-year-younger selves. Though in retrospect, the question should’ve been phrased differently, as far too many “Invest in Bitcoin” answers were received.
Results & Benefits
There has been great feedback, especially from the employees themselves. Averaging a 72.3% read rate after 17 episodes, it is clear that people are interested and enjoy reading about their colleagues, partners and themselves! Many people also enjoy the interview aspect — it’s great to take a time-out from a busy day, to spend 20 minutes for a friendly chat about things you are passionate about and share some laughs.
With a lowest read ratio of 66% and a highest of 79%, the team stories tower above all other types of articles in terms of reads
Furthermore, there are multiple business benefits. Clients have the opportunity to learn about and connect with the people working on their projects! The stories also make the team page considerably more welcoming, which can have a strong impact on potential employees — you can find out what kind of people work here and find like-minded friends before even having started work! Similarly, in a company as big as Scandiweb, it is sometimes difficult to get to know other team members outside your direct periphery, especially if you’re not the most social person, hence the stories enable an indirect way of getting to know your colleagues!
A dynamic and engaging team page can make a world of difference. It is also a fun process that can raise team morale, serve as regular content and bring long-term benefits to your business! When creating content for your team page, don’t forget to make it attention-grabbing and entertaining, else the page will be neglected and your work will have been in vain!
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Looking to make your content stand out? Have your own insightful experiences to share? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!