Which will you remember more?

Some chunk of facts about a mouthwash that includes fluoride, cetyl pyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, and hydrogen with their various functions and health benefits?

OR

A narrative about how Vince, a good-looking young guy in his mid-20s, left his apartment to get beverages and household products from a supermarket. He was about entering the supermarket with a sliding door when he got the attention and the affection of Ella, a slim, tall, beautiful lady in her early-20s. How they got so attracted to each other that they would almost go on to share a kiss?

The latter will definitely create some images in your mind. The confidence, class, tension, and enthusiasm passed as the core message of the regular use of the same mouthwash.

Stories have always been interesting. Kids love them; our peers love them, you love them… everybody loves a good story. They are powerful attention-grabbers.

Successful businesses are built on compelling stories. People love to read, see, or hear stories because it creates a human connection based on empathy.

Why is Storytelling Important for Marketing?

  1. Stories convey your personality.
  2. Stories make hitting the consumer’s emotional quotient easy
  3. Stories keep your audience glued to your content and make them come back for more.
  4. Stories show your audience your “WHY”

Stories Convey Your Personality

Humans generally relate and resonate with a story as it creates a picture and makes it stick. Creating brand stories will help you to convey the nature and personality of your brand easily. Start your content with a story and an original message that appeals to your audience.

Stories Make Hitting the Consumer’s Emotional Quotient Easy

If you are trying to reach out to your audience, storytelling is perhaps the best way to strike their emotional chord. Tell stories that are real or, at the very least, based on real stories. Intriguing stories should be told in such a way that it relates to their daily life challenges. Remember to conclude with solutions to these challenges, which should make them take the desired actions.

Stories Keep Them Coming Back for More

When a copywriter tells a great story that resonates with the audience’s emotions, this story sticks to their mind and, in turn, become memories. This story gets to be remembered and potentially turns a visitor to a loyal customer. Your story may even get to be shared with friends and family.

Stories Show Your Audience Your “WHY”

The questions that your brand needs to answer daily include:

  • “What” (are the products?)
  • “Where” (can I buy these?)
  • “When” (do I place orders?)
  • “How” (do I get the best price?)

These questions are important but are merely basic.

However, the “WHY” is the real game-changer. It is the factor that establishes an emotional connection with your audience. NIKE, in their “Find Your Greatness” campaign, demonstrates this beautifully by using relatable stories to inspire their audience to “Find Your Greatness.”

3 Extra Reasons Why Storytelling Should Be a Priority for Marketers

Here are three extra reasons to consider storytelling as a content or brand marketer.

1) Storytelling Helps Marketers Engage Customers in a Fragmented World

In a world full of complexities, why should a consumer give you their time? They want to belong to something different, something unique, and something original.

Storytelling is an important tactic that helps you to engage your consumers more. Storytelling will give them a whole different perspective on your brand. Consumers read or listen to your stories, identify the challenges or relate the story to their daily lives, and also easily pick out the solutions you proffered.

2) Storytelling is a Great Tool for Learning

As brand or content marketers, you need to seek out new strategies that work constantly. This also means obtaining updated information about the brands we represent, and the consumers we serve.

Stories are unique in such a way that they communicate knowledge and real meanings. We get to learn from observations, engagements, and first-hand experiences about what happens in the marketplace, what they mean for the brand, customers, consumers, and the company.

3) Storytelling can Boost Engagements

Storytelling has always been a fundamental human experience that creates a deep connection between the storyteller and the audience. Decades ago, our elders used this method to communicate, educate, share, and transfer values to us efficiently. With stories, you can make your customer the main character, enabling them to see how your brand can improve their quality of living. It can even make them change the way they think, act, and feel.

The popular 2016 Olympics ad, Gatorade’s “The Boy Who Learned To Fly,” utilized storytelling to engage the viewers. They made an animated short film about Usain Bolt’s life and the connection with his mother. While watching the ad, the viewer is transported into Bolt’s childhood and then to being an Olympic athlete. We see Bolt running on clouds (flying) with lightning bolts coming from his shoes. The viewer shares a connection with Bolt, his mother, and in turn, Gatorade.

So, What Makes Up a Good Story?

There are several opinions about what makes a good story. But what makes up a good or bad story is relative to the user’s opinion. Here are some important elements of a good story.

Great stories are:

  • Entertaining – Your story should be engaging and interesting in such a way that your consumers will anticipate what is coming next.
  • Educational – The content of your story should be able to spark enough curiosity as well as add to their knowledge bag.
  • Universal – Every individual should be able to relate to your story comfortably. It should tap into their emotions as well.
  • Organized – A well-assembled story will convey the core of your message easily to your audience.
  • Memorable – Your story should be remarkable and should stick to your audience’s mind.

3 Main Components of a Great Story

  • The main character
  • The conflict
  • The resolution

THE MAIN CHARACTER

Every story needs a main character. This character is the link between the storyteller and the audience; it gives the audience someone to latch on to. It can be you or someone you made up. As you flow with the story, your audience finds they can easily relate to and identify with that main character.

THE CONFLICT

The core of a great story is conflict. The challenges will be thrown at the main character. The lessons from how the main character overcomes the challenges will be shown to the audience too. The audience should be able to relate to the conflict of your story easily. This is the part that shows the challenges they face every day.

THE RESOLUTION

Every story has an ending. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a happy ending. It should be one that wraps up the story. The resolution should be a form of conclusion that highlights points from how the character handled the conflict. Make your point and move straight to your call to action.

The Storytelling Process

  1. Get to know your audience
  2. Define your central message
  3. Decide what kind of story to tell
  4. Establish your CTA (Call to Action)
  5. Choose your story medium
  6. Write!
  7. Edit and Refine
  8. Share your story!

Get to Know Your Audience

Who are you writing for? What are their pains, needs, and aspirations?

Without properly knowing and understanding your audience, you won’t be able to create a story that resonates well with them. Knowing your target market and doing some keyword research will go a long way to tackle this challenge. This will help you tell the right story the right way.

Define Your Core Message

Your core message is the basis of your story. It is the take away from your story – the length notwithstanding. Every story should have a central point, a foundation on which the story stands.

Decide What Kind of Story to Tell

There are various kinds of stories you can tell. The one to go for depends on what you want your audience to feel. This will help you to come up with something that should help you achieve your objective. If you want to…

  • incite action: tell a story of how a successful action was completed in the past. Weave your story to encourage them to take the desired actions.
  • tell people about yourself: tell a story about your struggles, failures, and wins. Today’s consumers connect with brands that show authenticity and originality.
  • impact knowledge: let people in on a story that shows successes and failures. Let them learn about the problems you faced and how you discovered and applied the solutions.
  • convey values: tell a story that taps into your audience’s emotions, characters, and situations so that they can easily relate them to their lives. This is important when discussing the values that a particular audience does not share.
  • foster collaboration or engagement: tell a story that moves readers to share your story with others – a story they can relate to. Use a neutral character that will get lots of engagements from a larger or diverse audience.

Establish Your Call to Action

What do you want your audience to do? What do you aim to achieve?

After you must have prepared a well-structured message with the objective of your story in place, you must introduce your call to action immediately.

Do you intend to make them buy your products, subscribe to your newsletter, share your post, or take a course?

You have to craft good CTAs that will eventually compel them to carry out your bid. Be sure to align your objective with your CTA.

Choose Your Story Medium

Various media can be used to tell a story. Some stories are read, some are listened to while some are watched. The type of story you develop depends on the audience and the resources available (platform, time, or money)

The different media that stories can be told include:

  • Written story: this is easy to construct. You could easily do this with a free word processor such as Google Docs… or a pen and paper. It is in the form of texts and may contain images.
  • Audio stories: they are spoken words in recorded form. They are usually in a podcast format. With today’s technology, creating an audio story is very affordable.
  • Spoken stories: these are live shows. The stories are told in person, like a pitch or presentation. TED talks are great examples of spoken stories. They are not edited, but they do require great practice and skill to convey messages.
  • Digital story: this is told through a variety of media. Videos, animations, interactive stories, and games are all examples of a digital story. It is the most efficient medium used to communicate and relate to your audience. It is also the most expensive medium to utilise.

Write!

With the proper structure, the core message, the audience’s objective, and the CTA already established, it is time to add details and be creative with your story. Don’t worry about getting it right the first time. Go for volume and quality content. You can always edit later.

Edit and Refine

Once you have created the original draft, you now move on to the real work. Eliminate things that are not relevant, improve your language where necessary, and do these more than once to polish up your story.

Share!

This is where you publish and promote your story. As with all content, creating the story is just half of the battle. Share and distribute your stories to the appropriate platforms. Your written stories can be shared on blogs, social media, or other platforms. Spoken stories are best conveyed in person – recorded versions can be shared later. Digital stories can be distributed via YouTube or Vimeo.

Over to you…

Humans are social animals and would definitely love interesting stories. They easily pay more attention to and easily relate to a story than a series of facts (which is a bit complex for the brain to process.)

Every brand or content marketer wants to get more engagements and leads from their campaign. Storytelling goes a long way to deliver on that. Over 92% of consumers want ads that feel like stories, and there is currently no better way to optimize conversions and improve your brand.

As a content marketer, make use of this timeless and effective means of communicating with your audience, to achieve your brand objectives and stay ahead of your competition.

Leverage the power of storytelling to get better engagements and achieve more.

 

Written for Kopykart by Vincent Emmanuel