Companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Nike have more in common than market eminence; they all have a memorable story behind their founding.
By now, millions of people know the story of Steve Wozniak and the late Steve Jobs: They dropped out of college to pursue their daring vision in Jobs’ garage. Of course, people know these stories due to the wild success of each company, but these businesses have turned their founders’ tales of adversity and innovation into part of their brand.
Clearly told stories leave impressions. Storytelling can be used effectively in content marketing, though it must be concise and connect emotionally. As Maya Angelou said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
With that in mind, let’s explore how you can use storytelling to propel your brand and compel action.
Stories are Everywhere
When it comes to using storytelling in content marketing, it doesn’t have to always be a founder’s success story.
Storytelling in marketing can be built around organizational, team or individual achievements. Stories can be based on a company’s community involvement, diversity initiatives or workplace culture.
Stories can also come from case studies, testimonials or reviews. How have your products or services performed? How have your products or services positively impacted business partners or consumers?
Compelling stories can come from inside your organization or from your audience.
Constructing Your Story
The main goal with marketing storytelling is to leave a mark, to engage and resonate with your audience. A secondary goal may be to have SEO value that steers additional traffic to your content.
A great story needs a strong start and clear direction. Think of your story in three, simple sections: beginning, middle and end.
The opening should introduce the critical elements of the story in a way that is precise and relatable to the audience.
The introduction should present the central figure or conflict, or the question that will be resolved. Consider the factors that good stories from fiction to journalism address: who, what, why, where, when and how.
The story’s body is where you expand on the central figure or challenge.
The middle section should be rich in relevant details. It should demonstrate how the story’s key figure overcomes conflict, or how the challenge is resolved.
Your story’s conclusion should restore balance and leave an impression.
Deliver your central figure as a hero, or the challenge overcome successfully. The ending should leave audiences feeling satisfied and emotionally engaged with your brand.
Write With Clarity
Know your audience for the story you’re telling. Don’t speak down to them, but don’t speak over their collective head either.
Use clear language and stick to the story’s framework: introduce, explain, resolve. Don’t embellish the story with tangential details or clutter it with unnecessary words.
If you lose your way in telling a story, audiences will likely feel lost too. Stop and reconsider the central figure or challenge and the applicable elements that will propel the story forward: the who, what, why, where, when and how.
Align Your Stories and Business Goals
Once you start looking for stories, you can find them pretty much anywhere. And they won’t end as you gain new employees, partners and customers.
Develop the stories that align with your organization’s brand, values and goals. Developing and sharing these stories thoughtfully can strengthen your relationship with your existing base and draw new followers.
The idea is to use stories to form an emotional connection between your brand and your audience. A strong personal connection often leads to direct action, including steering others to your brand.
Jaimie-lee Prince is a passionate writer (and future author) who assists small business owners and agencies with their content marketing needs. Reliable and professional, she emphasizes listening in her work: listen to your market, your client’s tone and voice, and their specific goals. When she’s not at her keyboard, she’s usually in nature, reading a book, or letting it go on her yoga mat.
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