Story telling can be a powerful component in a marketing strategy. It can be the driving force behind developing, and more importantly, establishing a brand that connects and resonates with your target audience.
The story you tell, and the method in which you use to weave that story throughout your marketing campaigns will be based on your overall goals but one thing remains the same:
Your story will be designed to introduce your brand to the world in a way that helps you stand out and apart from the competition.
Storytelling is a testament to our hard work; it highlights the efforts we’ve taken to create an outstanding brand, and it helps deliver larges pieces of content in a way that people can connect to.
It’s also the easiest way to express emotions and illustrate your commitment to providing value.
There’s nothing more powerful than a carefully crafted story that fulfills the needs of your core market.
The Art of Storytelling
Content marketing is when you figure out ways to utilize and repurpose content so that it is seen by a larger audience. Storytelling and content marketing go hand-in-hand.
With storytelling, you can design a highly-engaged marketing campaign that carries a strong focus. You’ll use storytelling to give people the information they want to hear to make the decision to follow your brand, purchase your products or connect with your platform.
Thankfully, there’s an easy structure to a creating a compelling storyline for your marketing campaign and it begins with utilizing a variety of delivery methods, including:
Visual and Content-Based:
Visual storytelling would include things like videos, presentations, Webinars or perhaps a series of episodes that bring your viewers on a journey.
Content based would include everything else, such as articles, blog posts, sales pages and so on.
It’s important to combine both storytelling methods into your marketing campaigns so you’re able to reach a broader audience. Some people prefer to watch video; others absorb information better in text form.
The anatomy of a successful storytelling campaign will also include a specific series of questions and answers. We’ll dive deeper into this in the next chapter, but for now, here’s a quick overview of what you need to consider when designing your storytelling campaign.
Questions from your Audience:
This isn’t where you poll your market for their most burning questions, though that can be an effective strategy in coming up with a storyline that connects with your core audience. But another way to address questions without surveying your market begins with the questions you had when you first ventured in your niche.
Look at what questions your customers are already asking? What answers your competitors are providing? And how best to connect with your audience using language they best understand.
Establishing a Timeline:
This is where you draft your story arc around a marketing campaign. This story will tell your audience how you got from point A to B, why you created your brand (services/products), and how it exists to serve them.
It gives your story purpose and helps you stay aligned with your goals while remaining consistent with your campaigns. Laying the groundwork for a storytelling timeline is also important so that you’re able to
Your story needs to connect with your core audience and you do this by making it all about them. Rather than creating a generic storyline that simply highlights your brand, you need to embrace your audience by fostering a mindset that you understand what they need, desire and fear.
One story doesn’t fit all marketing channels, so you need to make sure you create stories that align with the platforms you use.
For example, if you plan to utilize social media, you’ll want to begin by uncovering key themes, trends and in-demand topics within those channels and then create a storyline around what has proven to be effective.
Facebook marketing is different than Instagram marketing and they cater to very specific audiences so you’ll want customize your storyline to better fit those viewers.
Instead of going straight for the sale, you need to think about how people communicate on those platforms, how they recommend products and services and how the market responds to different ad styles. Then you can create your own storytelling campaign so that it aligns with those networks.
In the next chapter, we’ll talk about how the 3 key points of every successful storyline. This is how you structure a story so that it goes the distance in connecting with the heart of your audience.
Stories That Sell
Every story has 3 main parts:
The beginning, the middle and of course, the end. When using storytelling to further your outreach, your story needs to cover all the bases, which means you’ll begin by:
Step 1: Setting the Stage
In the first part of your storytelling campaign, you’re essentially laying the foundation for your story arc. You’re setting the scene.
In phase 1, you’re outlining the conflicts that your audience is suffering with. In other words, you’re acknowledging the problems that they need help with and clarifying your brand message to demonstrate you understand your market and what they’re struggling with.
This is an important step because it will set the tone for your entire campaign and help connect your brand with its audience.
Step 2: Providing a Solution
In the second part of your storytelling campaign, you’re offering your audience with a solution to the problems outlined in step one.
You’re connecting with your market by being personal, engaging them directly with your content and demonstrating to them that you understand what they need and can give it to them.
Step 3: Call to Action
At the end of every great romance book, the hero and heroine ride off in the sunset, finally at the point of finding their happily ever after. In market-based storytelling, you’re prompting your customers to click that buy button, subscribe to your channel, or follow your brand so they can achieve that same happily ever after.
This is the point where they need to make a decision to move forward, to set themselves on the path towards reaching their goals with your help and guidance.
The anatomy of every successful stories always includes these three crucial steps. Launching a storytelling campaign with hard-sell or an aggressive approach that bypasses step one and two will result in turning away many customers who would otherwise fall in love with your brand.
You need to romance them throughout your campaigns. This begins by explaining that you understand their issues, providing a solution to that conflict, and then prompting them to take action so they can experience the rewards.
How to Inspire & Motivate
Stories must carry a level of inspiration and motivation and there’s no easier way to do that than by making it personal.
This is where you explain why your brand was created, what motivated you to create a company in your market and what your personal goals and missions are.
Of course, you want to keep your audience in mind when crafting this story so that they feel a part of it and can go on the journey with you.
For example, if you are selling a weight loss course designed to help people live a better, healthier life, your story should begin by outlining your personal journey and transformation.
You become your own case study and subsequently, the best testimonial you can possibly offer.
But you then need to emphasize how your training program will produce the results your audience is looking for. It’s one thing that you could accomplish your weight loss or fitness goals, but how can others be sure they can follow your lead?
This is where personal storytelling becomes a critical component to successfully connecting with your audience on a deep level. It’s when you get the opportunity to show them what’s possible and how by purchasing your fitness program they too will be able to reach their goals.
The more personalized your storytelling campaigns are, the more effective they’ll be. Testimonials are a powerful weapon in sales and marketing but when you begin by sharing your own personal journey with your audience, you’ll be able to create an unforgettable story that will motivate and inspire your audience.
Effective Storytelling Hacks
I call these storytelling hacks because they’re fast and easy ways to ensure you are hitting the hot buttons and fulfilling your goals by creating an irresistible story that will resonate with your audience.
Tip 1: Listen to your Audience
Once you’ve kicked off your storytelling campaign, you need to start listening. This is when you gauge responses and can keep a pulse on how your audience feels about your story.
Listening to responses helps you tweak your storyline so that it better aligns with what your market is looking for so it’s important that you stay on top of each phase of your storytelling campaign and leave room for adjustments and growth.
Tip 2: Be Memorable
This goes without saying, but there are easy ways to ensure your story is share-worthy. You want to get as many people talking about your story as possible which means you want to research and understand audience triggers and overall motivations. Knowing your audience will make it easier for your stories to stick.
Tip 3: Be Personal
You want your story to connect with the average consumer in your market so it needs to be told at a level they best understand.
Getting personal in your storytelling campaigns will make it easier for you to connect with your market but it will also ensure you’re approachable, come across as genuine and that you are deeply involved.
People want to know that you are offering a high level of engagement and involvement in the products and services they purchase.
It’s all about creating a marketing campaign that improves the experience of your customers.
Tip 4: Be Relatable
I just mentioned the importance of personalizing your campaigns, but you want to take things a step further by ensuring you are reliable. It’s easy to look at our market as groups of people without understanding the kind of audience we’re catering to.
What makes them tick? What are they most interested in? What do they fear? What are their overall goals?
Being relatable shows them that you’ve done the job of researching the market to know what is most important to them, but more importantly, it demonstrates that you’ve worked hard to create a brand that’s tailored to their needs.
Remember, storytelling illicites an incredibly emotional response in your audience.
When you learn how to tell stories, you’ll have learnt how to sell and market, literally anything.