Our job as marketers, whether that’s me helping you with your marketing or you, the small business owner doing your own marketing, is to communicate our message to our audience to ultimately drive sales and gain loyal customers and brand advocates.
What is storytelling?
Storytelling is the process of using fact and narrative to communicate a point to your audience.
Why do we tell stories and why should I use it?
Storytelling dates back thousands of years and is something humans have been doing even before the first written words. Stories are told to bring people together, to motivate and inspire them and to pass a message on. Whether that is family tales from generation to generation or in the business world, there are so many uses.
The main use of storytelling within business, however, is to create that connection between the business and the customer. People buy from people and storytelling is a great tool at the centre of inbound marketing to allow our customers to get to know, like and trust us. Building that rapport and trust means you will have raving brand advocates who will keep coming back to you and your business.
So, what makes a good story?
While this is largely based on opinion, there are a few components that we should try to include. A good story should be relatable to everyone, regardless of their background, so anyone can grasp the message inside. It should be organised in such a way that it flows, educates the audience and communicates that message well. Then it should be entertaining so that it is memorable to the listeners or readers so the message resonates and is not forgotten.
To help you get started, let’s breakdown the process of storytelling into a few simple steps…
- Know your audience – you need to know who you’re speaking to in order to communicate the message in your story in the best way. The same message could be told in different ways in different stories, depending on who it’s for.
- Have a clear outcome – what is the lesson or the core message you want to get across? Ensure you keep this in mind to stop you wondering off on a tangent and losing the point of your story.
- Add more detail – this is the who, what, where, when, how, whys. Use this information to support the core message and communicate it well to the reader or listener.
- Be authentic & create that connection – An over the top, exaggerated story just isn’t necessary. Be authentic in your story and add in humour where you can, make that human connection.
- Establish your call to action – what is the takeaway? What action do you want them to take from your story? Is there a moral to the story?
- Choose your medium & produce it – Not all stories are written down in a blog or on social media. Think about how else you can communicate the story. Podcasts and videos are great methods to communicate to your audience, so use a range of methods.
- Share it – finally, make sure you share it! You have put the time and effort in to craft your story but it’s all wasted if no one reads or listens to it. Make sure you share it out into the world and encourage people to find it and consume it.
Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to getting your message across effectively and efficiently to your audience. Storytelling is an art, so as with anything, practice makes perfect and the more you tell your story the better you will get at it. Marketers, PR professionals and content creators hone the art of storytelling in their work and dedicate their career to mastering it, so if you feel you need help or guidance on this, then reach out and get in touch.