The art of storytelling in marketing may sound straightforward, but getting it right takes skill, tactical understanding and experience. So why does it matter?
Why is storytelling in marketing so important for businesses today?
The real secret to getting cut-through in your marketing in an overly digitised and highly competitive world is to be more human.
It’s to engage, entice, share, talk like someone is talking and craft an experience through words, visuals and messaging to create a clear image in your customer’s minds about who you are and what you offer.
Sounds simple right? Yet so many businesses get it wrong.
Storytelling in a relatable and authentic way is the secret to connecting your customer with your brand on an emotional level. And it’s those emotions that make them ‘sticky’ to your products and services.
Everyone has heard the typical ‘we are leaders in’ or ‘we are the best in the business’. What truly connects your customers with your business is the story you tell, and how your why, values and purpose are weaved into those.
How do you become a storyteller?
The stories you read, from a young age, are compelling for a reason. And like any profession, getting it right takes a certain set of skills, level of experience, and knowledge of how to weave your story in the right way.
Importantly, when we say storytelling, we don’t want you to go home and develop a story founded on little to do with your actual business, its services and purpose.
It’s a process of defining your brand narrative, weaving it together with your service offering, and crafting your content in a way that engages with your target audience.
From there, everything you do around the way you market yourself should tie into the tone, language and narrative you’ve created.
And it’s an ever-evolving process. As your business changes, your audience changes, and your brand evolves, your story should evolve with it.
Getting it right…
How to start using storytelling in your marketing?
1. Storyboard your brand narrative
First, get your brand narrative right. Get to the heart of your business, your why, purpose and the pain points that your products or services address. It’s also important to bring in your values and any community and social good that your business does into your story.
Storyboard your story overall by working out how it all ties together and the message you can send. This is a good practice to define your key messages, unique selling proposition and taglines as well.
But remember, the world doesn’t revolve around YOU! Unfortunate, we know. If you want to create a story that truly connects and has the capacity to scale, focus on helping others through your language.
Things to think about here are if you met your business at a party, how would it sound? What words would it use? What tone would it have? Would it be the life of the party, or be quietly resolving catering issues in the corner?
What do you sell/offer that makes you unique? What problems are you trying to solve? Why do customers come to you over competitors? What is your why?
And, importantly, how do you want your customer to feel when they read your content?
2. Determine your audience and segment your target market
Next, research and determine your ideal customers, and sort them into segments. Use this exercise to determine the best way to talk to each segment. We’re taking a human approach after all, and humans are very different to one another in terms of their needs, wants, desires and pain points. So unique messaging is needed for each audience segment.
3. Storytelling in marketing requires an understanding of your channels
While your marketing channels will continuously evolve, it’s vital to have an understanding of the channels your business will use so you can craft your content to suit. For example, posting content to a succinct, fast-paced channel like Twitter will take a very different approach to crafting your website content.
4. Craft the end of the story
You have your customers feeling all the feels – but what step do you want them to take? Tie the loop with the right call to action or next step in your customer’s journey.
Otherwise like a good book with a disastrous ending (cue Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn), your customer will feel lost and disappointed.
5. Use visuals to add to the experience
From video to imagery, infographics to GIFs, visuals add to the narrative and the experience you offer to your customers. So ensure you think about how you can weave your messaging through visuals to tell a complete story about your business.