Stories are memorable and for that reason alone play an important role in marketing. Being able to tell stories in an engaging way is crucial for marketers – and this is where storytelling comes in. A great story captures our attention and stays in our memory. A mere listing of product details does not. People have been telling stories for centuries – we do it to convey knowledge or facts, but also simply to entertain. We are dealing with stories every day. For example, we explain to the salesperson what we are looking for or why we are making a return. Even discussing the past weekend with a colleague or meeting friends for a beer or two are occasions of sharing and telling stories.
Stories can be seen and heard wherever we are. With stories being such an omnipresent medium, storytelling is also becoming more and more important for marketers. People love stories! Tell a great story and your brand will shine – making your business grow. But how do you build a story? How do you make sure it comes across as you want it to? And how do you make sure your story has the biggest possible impact? Don’t worry, the basics of effective storytelling haven’t changed in their core. Are you ready to create the best story for your brand? Here are 6 tips to get you started:
1. Do Not Overthink It
Stories are for sharing. Don’t keep them in your head. Put them on paper. Find your keyboard and develop some ideas on the screen. Try telling your story out loud and ask someone to listen and give you feedback. The first step to telling your story is to simply get started, which is perhaps the most important step. Stories that are never shared are left untold.
Another thing not to overthink is the story itself. Do not overcomplicate the story in your head. Make it easily understandable and let the audience clearly see what the point of the story is. Getting lost in details or getting stuck in background stories will likely confuse your audience and they will loose focus and perspective on your main point. The best stories evoke a feeling – an emotional response like a laugh, a tear, anger, sadness, relief, joy, stress. Which leads us to…
2. Have An Emotion In Mind
Emotion is a powerful tool for reaching and engaging your audience. Think about what emotional response you want to evoke with your story. Creating emotion is not too difficult. Using a classic problem/solution story can be a good idea, depending on the situation. There is a problem. It creates stress, anger, or even sadness. Your brand offers the solution. Suddenly, relief, joy and happiness set in. This is a rather easy way to construct a story that will show the audience the basics of your benefits.
3. Address Your Target Audience
Remember that you are not creating this story for yourself. Don’t just include what you like yourself. Who is your customer? Do you have a picture and persona of this particular target in your mind? Be as specific as possible and create a buyer persona: their age, gender, lifestyle, clothing choices, favorite hobbies, all the way down to the hairstyle. Get an overview of their psychographic and demographic information. With all this knowledge, you can address your target in the way that will engage them. The better you know your audience, the better you can respond and cater to their needs.
4. Make Use Of Sensory Words
Which words awaken your senses? Your sense of taste, smell or touch, your sight or hearing? Words like strong, sweet, sticky, fragrant, sour, and shiny make you feel something immediately. They are evocative. Using them in storytelling brings the tale to life and creates an imaginative image in the heads of your audience. What do you feel when you use jargon and unnecessarily complex words? Not much – so try to avoid overusing these terms from which people have an emotional detachment and focus on a more sensory style.
5. Start With A True Story
If you are having trouble developing a story from scratch, start with what you know. How do your customers use your product or service to solve their problems? What stories do your customers tell about your company? The stories of your employees are also a good place to start. Real stories come with details. The goal is to shorten and simplify these stories and retain what connects emotionally with your target audience – because real life is something we can all relate to.
6. Let people Share Your Story
When you hear a great story, you want to tell it to more people. That’s human nature and social media in a nutshell. So prepare your story to be shared. Using LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube can be a great medium on which your story could reach a broader audience – not only through your efforts, but also through the engagement of your followers. So share and get your story out there!
In a world so full of stories, being able to tell yours is a great advantage. Especially in modern marketing, storytelling is an important skill to master. The modern customer wants to know more than just the technical details of the product. They want to know more about the brand and the company behind it – They want to know your story.
So get started today and share your story – because an untold story is a missed opportunity.