Tag Archives: storytelling

Day 156: Steve Hartman, CBS

Photo: CBS News

Photo: CBS News

Steve Hartman is one of the best. Every week he pulls back the curtain and introduces us to an extraordinary person – often tugging at our heartstrings and causing tears to well up in our eyes. To see some of Steve’s work, check out links on Day 143 and Day 147 – letter recipients who I learned about through his reporting.

I do a lot of work around storytelling and can assure you that Steve is a master. He knows how to craft a narrative that moves the audience to think, feel or do something and that is really the power of storytelling. We learn through story. We influence through story. And we entertain through story.

I’d love the opportunity to watch Steve work up close. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, that could happen and someday I’ll tell you a story about it.

Day 156-2

Dear Steve,

For me, it was the Jason McElwain story back in 2006 when you ended your touching report with, “Because he is autistic, Jason says he’s used to feeling different. But never this different. Never this wonderful.” I took note of your name and for the past decade I’ve been carefully collecting your stories.

You give your audience a gift every time you do a segment. You tell the kind of stories we thirst for, and you tell them with unparalleled artistic brilliance. You have my dream job! Uncovering and sharing meaningful stories that reflect the world we want to live in.

Day 156I crave narratives that strengthen the fabric of our community. In my pursuit to perfect my own storytelling, I would like to ask you to consider allowing me to tag along on a future assignment – a kind of apprenticeship if you will. I’d cover all my expenses, I’d just be extremely grateful for the opportunity. As Milton Berle said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Well, I’m building a door!

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and for considering what would be a chance of a lifetime experience for me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Reed Sandridge

Day 96: Lianne

Photo: featurefrederick.blogspot.com/

Photo: featurefrederick.blogspot.com/

Another note to one of the companies I got to work with recently on social media narrative. Lianne is the GM and Owner of Nido’s Ristorante in Frederick, MD. I think I ate there many years ago and it’s possible too because it’s been around for almost 30 years – longer than any other downtown restaurant in this charming business district.

Lianne took over the restaurant last year. Like any new owner, she has creative ideas but is very sensitive to the fact that this trattoria has been a long history. This is a place where the chef has been there since it opened and two of the servers have nearly 20 years under their aprons – very impressive.

My only disappointment is that I visited Nido’s while it was closed. The next time, I’ll make sure to be there for dinner!


Another handcrafted liner I put into this envelope.

Another handcrafted liner I put into this envelope.


It was great to meet you last month, learn about Nido’s, and discuss your narrative for social media. I hope our meeting was helpful. I thought I would check in and see how things were going. If I can ever be of any assistance, please let me know.


P.S. I look forward to dining at Nido’s next time I am in Frederick!

Day 85: Richard

I used to have a stone that I kept in a small box of prized possessions. It wasn’t a valuable stone like a diamond or aquamarine or some other type of precious stone. Nope, it was a simple stone. Ok, it was a rock.

I have no idea what kind of rock it was – it was dark in color but not like obsidian. More like the color of slate. I picked it up near the shore of a river while looking for rocks to skip across the water’s surface. I picked it up and reached back to launch it across the river hoping that it would skip enough times to land safely on the other side. But this rock felt different – it had significant weight and a smooth polished feel to it and I decided to drop it in my pocket instead. I have no idea what I thought I was going to do with it, but I wanted to keep it.

earthlyelementsWell, apparently lots of people collect rocks – and not just 9-year-old cub scouts. Richard Bailey is a geologist and owner of Earthly Elements in Frederick, MD. “We’re the only rock shop in the state of Maryland,” he told me leaning back in a chair behind the counter. His welcoming shop feels more like someone’s home than a business – there are a pair of boots sitting just inside the door. He says on a busy Saturday he easily gets over a thousand people visiting the store.

He and I were meeting to discuss how social media can help his business. It was a fascinating meeting – and I learned a lot about rocks. Who buys them. Why. And which ones sell the best.

Oh, and if you’re wondering. I no longer have my rock. I know it made it to my freshman year dorm, but I’m quite certain I didn’t have it when I moved out.

Day 8586-2

Dear Richard,

What a pleasure it was to talk to you about Earthly Elements and the story you are creating for social media. I was impressed with your shop as well as your understanding of the niche market that you are in. I hope that you will continue to invest in your Facebook presence – I believe you have a lot of untapped potential there. If I can ever be of assistance, please let me know.

All the best,

P.S. I mentioned your shop to my father and he has been in and purchased stones there a couple of times. I told him to say hello if he stops in again.

Day 82: Dr. Maria

Sight is one of the most crucial abilities that we possess. Last Tuesday I was working with Dr. Maria who owns Unique Optique – a funky optical shop in charming downtown Frederick, MD. I don’t wear glasses any more but if I did, I’d buy them here. Very cool place.

photoboothI love that they have an old school photo booth that you can pop into snap a photo of how you look in your new specs. Lots of people have left their photos to be posted all over the photo booth.

Dr. Maria is not only a respected optometrist and entrepreneur, she’s also got a clear vision (see what I did there!) for social media. “I manage about 10 different social media platforms,” she told me. Wow! I even told her that I thought that might be a few too many. Step 2 of my INSPIRE social media storytelling methodology is to say no to the platforms that you’re not going to focus on. It’s a hard one – but essential to really focusing on the other ones.

Check out Dr. Maria and Unique Optique’s website, blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and You Tube.

Day 81-2

Dr. Maria,

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you last Tuesday and was extremely impressed with Unique Optique. You can’t help but feel relaxed and comfortable in your beautiful downtown shop.

My attempt at an embossed tree on Dr. Maria's card.

I embossed this tree on the card – turned out great!

Your commitment and passion for social media impressed me – you understand the commitment as well as the reward that can be earned from telling your story effectively through social channels.

If I can ever be of any assistance, please let me know.

P.S. I had Lasik a few years ago, but if I still used glasses I’d buy them from Unique Optique – here’s a photo of me with my last pair of glasses.

Day 76: Downtown Frederick Partnership

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I had the pleasure of spending Tuesday in Frederick, MD working with several companies on elevating their social media through the power of storytelling. So much of the social media that you see from companies focuses on their product and not on the real hero of their story – their audience. And I say audience deliberately instead of customers. With social media, we need to focus our messages toward the people who believe what we believe, and not those who want to buy what we sell. It sounds counterintuitive but it works.

I had a little fun and embossed the front of this card with a city skyline.

I had a little fun and embossed the front of this card with a city skyline.

After my talk in the morning, which competed with the 8am rise and shine “Kegs and Eggs” festivities two blocks away at the local Irish watering whole, I then visited five local companies and sat down with each of them to work on crafting their social story.

It was a fun day chock full of thought provoking conversations. I enjoyed getting to know each of the businesses I worked with and am thankful to the Downtown Frederick Partnership for making it all happen. They’re a fantastic organization working to enhance, promote and preserve the charming downtown area of Frederick. The next time you’re there, please stop into these five businesses and say hello. Tell them Reed sent you.

Gerry at The Trail House
Richard at Earthly Elements
Murray at Hunting Creek Outfitters
Maria at Unique Optique
and Lianne at Nido’s

Day 7576

If the address on the envelope isn’t crystal clear – you need to visit Dr. Maria at Unique Optique!


Dear Kara, Brittany and Danielle,

Thank you so much for inviting me to speak at the Competitive Edge Series today– I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and so many of the wonderful people that represent the companies from your vibrant downtown business district.

I particularly enjoyed meeting one on one with some of the businesses and working with them on creating an effective social media presence. I look forward to keeping in touch with them – as well as with each of you.

Thanks again,