Weaving together lessons we’ve learned from our hobbies and passions to improve our work creates a special kind of happiness. We become more authentic as we close the gap between who we are at work and who we are outside of work. A few members of our team wanted to share how their interests have influenced their day-to-day work and give more color to who they are as people.
Jayne found a way to blend her love of English poet extraordinaire Geoffrey Chaucer with content development for clients. “The Canterbury Tales predominantly informed my way of storytelling. I was obsessed with them in college and tried to memorize passages in Middle English.”
Jayne realized that her love for this legendary piece of literature could help her work as a project manager, and she was keen to find a way to put her passion to use. “Revisiting Chaucer forces me to think in a different way than I would during a regular work day, tying in things that are important in my personal life and making them relevant to what we do as a company.” Jayne found the opportunity to utilize Chaucer’s approach to storytelling to examine modern content development practices.
Each story within The Canterbury Tales is relative to its characters, not the author’s overarching theme. This has direct implications for the way we talk to and interact with users. Jayne argues that we need not tie content to a company’s overarching theme. Instead, we can create content around multiple, oftentimes interwoven themes, allowing each persona, customer, or product to adopt its own tone and manner of speaking.
Chaucer’s tales famously employed a wide range of Middle English vernacular, fitted to story shape, theme, and character. “Most website copy tends not to speak to different personas. A site will speak as one voice throughout, even when that may not be the most effective storytelling solution.”
Chaucer’s famous tales, however, are each constructed to tell the best story. As they must be compelling in order to delight their audience, the tales become reflections of their audience. It’s an effective marketing play: the reader is pulled closer and closer to the characters as he becomes more and more involved in the stories they tell.
Jayne is a project manager at Fresh Tilled Soil. She graduated from McDaniel College with a triple major in English, art, and art history, and received her master’s degree in visual and media arts from Emerson College. She has a two-year-old son named Beckett and an adopted rescue dog named Connor. Jayne is also a lifelong country and folk music fan who counts Kenny Rogers’ “The Greatest” and Joe Purdy’s “I Love the Rain the Most” among her favorite songs for their strong narratives. “My favorite songs are often my favorite stories.”