Everyone Loves a Good Story
One of the latest buzzwords to take hold in the content marketing industry is storytelling. A quick Google search delivers tons of responses about integrating storytelling into your strategy. This is true. You should integrate storytelling into your content marketing strategy. But first, let’s break things down and explain what this is, why it works and how to effectively communicate via storytelling.
What is Storytelling
Storytelling is a tried and true form of communicating. Before humans developed a written language, they shared their history and culture through the telling of stories. This practice endures. Humans are naturally drawn to listen to stories.
From a branding and content marketing standpoint, storytelling is simply sharing your story. Storytelling takes your readers on a journey and helps them form a deeper connection with your brand. By listening to stories, your audience will get to know you and understand more about you. Stories can inspire, set the stage for a long-term bond and possibly shine a light on shared experiences.
Why You Want to Use Storytelling
Telling a story is a way to establish authenticity. Through sharing experiences, you can help clue your readers into who you are and how you ended up where you are today. When your audience gets to know you better they will feel invested in your business and brand and form a connection. People don’t always want to hear a sales pitch, but people like stories. Transforming your pitch into a story will achieve the same result, or possibly an even better result, in a more effective manner.
Maybe you are an underdog who overcame extreme obstacles to reach your dream. You can simply make the above statement to your audience and maybe they will take your words at face value. Or you can share your story. Explain what was holding you back and how you managed to buck the system and forge your way. This will make you more relatable and endearing and establish your credibility.
The Key Parts of Telling a Story
Telling a great story is easy when you understand the elements. All stories follow a similar path, so it’s just a matter of plugging your information into the formula. Below are the necessary components of storytelling.
- Setup: introduce the key players in your story.
- Conflict: explain the problems, obstacles, setbacks and basically everything that was holding you back or presenting an issue.
- Resolution: Outline your solution(s) and how you creatively fixed the problems and conflicts previously identified.
- Call to action: Traditional stories end after the resolution, but a brand narrative requires a call to action. Now that your customers understand your story, explain what they need to do (i.e. request a quote, make a purchase, sign up for your newsletter and so on).
How to Tell a Story with Your Marketing
A key part of telling stories is developing your brand voice. This is simply a consistent tone that showcases your personality and is used throughout all communication.
Show Don’t Tell
Stories relay information and knowledge. You can always straight out tell your consumers what you want them to know. In some circumstances this brief and to-the-point approach can be effective and the best option.
You can also tell them a story that illustrates a point. By taking your audience on a (figurative) journey they will get more out of the experience. They will engage more with what you are telling them and retain more information. A lot of people learn from firsthand experience, and storytelling is a close stand-in for firsthand experience.
Master of Suspense
Stories need to be long enough to make your point, but don’t drag things on unnecessarily. Build anticipation, so readers want to know what happens next. Try to make readers feel for you, so they’ll root for you. This will get your readers interested and hooked and increase the odds of them finishing your posts. You want people to stick around because the longer users visit your site, the better the impact on your analytics. Quality storytelling is engaging and will keep your readers coming back to learn more.
Telling Your Story
The thing is, you already have a story. You just need to tell it. If you find yourself struggling to figure out what story to tell, think about why you started your business. Were you providing a new product or service or improving upon existing items? What motivated you?
If you need additional story ideas, think about what did you do before that laid the groundwork and pushed you to become an entrepreneur. What is an event that completely changed the course of your business and made it what it is today? These are all prime examples of great stories to tell about your business. Sharing the details can help consumers identify with your brand.
Including Storytelling In Your Strategy
Storytelling is just another approach you can use to relay your message and connect with consumers. Incorporating storytelling into your outreach can personalize your brand and provide common ground for consumers to form a connection. Do you need help crafting your story? That’s something I can help you with – reach out to learn more!