A story is the shortest distance between you and your audience. How can you make storytelling work for your business or brand?
With the rise of social media, everyone with a smartphone has a picture to post, a point of view to blog about or a new link to share across the digital world. The explosion of so much content makes it all the more challenging for brands to cut through the clutter.
You can create compelling content that will engage your customers and keep them coming back. Content marketing has transformed the way brands interact with their customers – and storytelling is an essential tool for building relationships. What’s more, your business is brimming with stories just waiting to be told. Stories that are relevant, timely and worthy of sharing.
To do this successfully requires a basic understanding of the art of storytelling. And that begs the question: how do you tell a compelling story?
Here are some tried-and-true storytelling tips from writers.
1. Tell the truth.
No amount of PR magic can change the facts. No matter how you spin it, a story must tell the truth in some way. That doesn’t mean it’s just facts – those are just the beginning. Which brings us to the second, essential ingredient that you must add to ensure your story will never be boring…
2. Make it human.
Stories are fascinating for audiences. Why? Because they’re about people: in other words, us. Your product may be the hero of your story but we, the audience, want to know how it changed lives. We want to know what drives your employees to work harder, or how one person had an idea that transformed things. We want to see the faces behind the corporate identity. We want emotion.
3. Choose a theme.
Every story worth telling has a theme. Take a lesson from Hollywood and structure your story around a single theme or overarching idea. Examples? How persistence pays off. Nature vs. nurture. Gaining momentum. Or even the age-old classic about how love conquers all. The theme can change from story to story; the common denominator is your brand narrative. Every story you choose to tell should help move it forward.
4. Use the right words.
This means you must speak a language that your audience understands. And we’re not talking about English vs. French. You don’t use the same words or tone of voice to reach employees that you use to inspire investors. Choose your words carefully according to the target audience. Never forget, though, that every audience is made of people. Simpler is better.
5. Draw me a picture.
There’s a lot of truth in the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Even more compelling? Visuals that combine with the words of your story to reinforce your message. That’s drama in the making.
6. Short is sweet.
‘Tis always better to tell your audience a short story than drag them through War and Peace (unless you’re Tolstoy). The simplest stories are often the most memorable. And each detail should be relevant to the overall message you want to get across. If in doubt, cut it out.
Think it’s easier said than done? Try writing your story (whether it’s a presentation, blog post or article) according to the above guidelines and see for yourself. If that doesn’t work, you can always try seeking professional help. Contact a writer.