“Those who tell the stories rule the world.”
– Hopi American Indian Proverb (also attributed to Plato, Greek Philosopher)
Storytelling, one of today’s biggest corporate buzzwords, is not a new concept. Stories have been an essential driver of change throughout human history. Brands have been telling their stories to consumers for ages, before there was Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. The fact is, at the end of the day, it’s a timeless skill. Some even predict it to be the #1 business skill of the next 5 years.
Now, more than ever, businesses, workers, and leaders have opportunities to stand out, spread messages, and make change through storytelling. Good stories surprise us. They make us think, make us feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that numbers and text and slides with bar graphs don’t.
As we spend increasing amounts of time consuming content via social media and content marketing, storytelling is becoming uniquely essential and is a skill that every business will need to master.
Fact is, no one cares about your marketing goals. But everyone likes a good story. The businesses that can tell one will have increasing advantage. Social media has gotten us comfortable having conversations with companies, and those companies that understand their clients and can take them on an emotional journey will build trust and connection with their clients
Businesses need to learn to tell good stories
As a business, you need to tell stories in exciting ways. As the deluge of content in our lives increases, and the means of accessing it grows, what stands out has to be increasingly compelling. Those who can create, find, and share the good stories will build followings to their advantage.
Stories make presentations better. Stories make ideas stick. Stories help persuade. Savvy leaders tell stories to inspire and motivate. How is your company using storytelling to engage, intrigue and emotionally connect with your target market? When telling your story, you should be able to answer the question: “Why should I care?”
Forbes shared 5 secrets that brand storytellers must understand and use in order to tell compelling stories. Let’s take a look at these 5 secrets:
1. Speak truthfully
It is important to be honest and transparent with your stories. Craft your stories to reflect the reality of your brand, product, and industry. Effective storytelling involves consistency, persistence, and restraint. Be creative but don’t lie.
2. Infuse personality into your stories
When telling your brand story make your client/consumer the hero. Don’t try to turn your story into a sales pitch or an ad, but add personality to it. Make sure your story is interesting to your target market.
3. Let your characters speak to the audience
Create characters that your audience can relate to and will root for. You don’t have to create a fictional character for your story. Using a third person’s perspective or your employee’s perspective can be effective. Focus on emotionally connecting with your audience using your characters.
4. Every story has a beginning, middle and end
Just like all fictional stories, your brand stories should also have a beginning, middle, and an end. Open strong, and let your characters shine through in the beginning. Present the story line and the problem your character is facing in the middle and provide the solution to that problem in the end. Storytelling demonstrates how you’ve helped a customer, but extends well beyond a testimonial. Engage your reader throughout the story, and make them feel like they are a part of it.
5. Don’t give it all away
When it comes to brand storytelling, use your marketing tactics to capture your readers’ attention and make them want to come back again and again for more. Try releasing teasers on your social media channels, use text such as “exciting news coming soon” on your website and give them something to look forward to. Include offline and mobile marketing in your storytelling, too. Don’t miss out on these great opportunities to create a relationship with your consumer.
What Types of Stories Can My Business Tell?
1. Educational stories
Use stories to educate your customers and prospects. You can educate your audience about your brand, the environment, the benefits of signing up for your services, etc. Treat your audience to some tips and tricks of the trade, or enlighten them with anecdotes. Just make sure you do not turn it into a sales pitch.
2. Trending topics and news
Using stories to shed light on the latest trending industry news is a great way to connect with your audience. Utilize trending news topics to drive traffic to your website, your blog or your Facebook page but make sure that it’s content that is interesting to your audience and relevant to your brand.
3. Real stories
Each and every customer or client of yours has a story. If you have a strong relationship with your customers and know their stories, you can use their stories to meaningfully connect with your prospects. This has proven to be a great marketing tactic for many companies, as people love listening to or watching stories that they can relate to.
Finally, don’t forget to make your stories accessible, and post them where people can easily find them and share them. A good story goes a long way!