A timeless marketing strategy, storytelling is the key to building an active and fully engaged audience.
Good stories are memorable stories. They tug at the heartstrings, reinforcing ideas and teaching us important lessons. Great storytellers have the power to inspire, persuade, and most importantly, make people think.
For these reasons alone, business storytelling has emerged as a timeless content marketing technique that all brands must embrace. According to a research by digital marketing company NewsCred, 78% of chief marketing officers think that the future of marketing revolves around content. While this can be viewed as a great challenge, marketers won’t run out of opportunities to create great content, as social media and blogging platforms have turned themselves into massive storytelling hubs.
Unfortunately, not all kinds of brand stories work. Businesses need to tell great stories—those that stick to people’s memory and create a lasting emotional impact. But how?
1. Remember the 5 C’s.
Captivating stories are all about the 5 C’s: circumstance, curiosity, characters, conversations, and conflict. When telling your story, no matter what form it takes, laying out the circumstances (i.e., the context) is crucial. Doing so warms up the audience for what’s coming next. Add in the element of interest (curiosity), people (characters), and how they relate to each other (shown through conversations) and the story would flow smoothly. Conflict, perhaps, is the most important component. All good stories build up on how characters encounter and then resolve a conflict.
For a better marketing strategy, try to base your stories on these questions:
• What’s your constant struggle and how do you deal with it?
• What did you gain and lose from starting your business or a project?
• How many times did you fail before you succeeded with an idea?
• How did you find yourself in this business?
2. Start in the middle.
To entertain your audience and completely engage them in your story, learning the art of withholding information is important. Giving too many details upfront and recounting events in chronological order often take away the element of surprise. If you want to create a big “AHA!” moment, keep your audience on the edge of their seats by not giving them the interesting bits all at once.
3. Present your vision and dreams.
Before you place yourself under the spotlight, remember that customers nowadays scrutinize everything. A marketing strategy fails when the audience thinks it benefits only the brand and the people behind it. To put it bluntly, customers don’t care about your marketing goals. When you leave out the part that explains how they can benefit from what your company offers, they’ll stop being interested.
A story that emphasizes your vision and dreams not only for the organization but also for its stakeholders lends a sense of authenticity and adds value to your brand. It’s worth telling your audience how you and your team are gradually fulfilling your goals.
4. Tell the audience why your brand matters.
Content marketing is powerful. A brand’s messages can shape customers’ perception about them—for better or for worse. Storytelling allow companies to openly and honestly communicate with their target audience. Thus, marketers must focus on what makes their brand socially relevant. How does your company contribute to people’s lives? What opportunities can you provide to everyone? How do you empower your customers?
Stories are the basic building blocks of effective marketing campaigns. Always keep in mind that your messages should encourage customers to stick with your brand. Often, simple and truthful stories can do the trick.