Marketers are using storytelling more and more to help create a connection with their customers. In fact, the most successful brands out there are ones that have created an emotional connection with their audience. They’ve done this by telling stories about themselves or about their products or services. What is storytelling and how to use it? Let’s find out.
What Is Storytelling?
Storytelling is the act of sharing a story with others. It can be done through various mediums, including spoken word, writing and acting.
The origin of storytelling dates back to before the written word, when people passed on their history, traditions and knowledge in oral form. In Ancient Greece, Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey were orally transmitted over generations before they were written down. In fact, there are still many stories that are told orally today; some cultures have no written language at all.
Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to get your message across – whether that message is one intended for children, adults or business audiences. Stories are more than just entertainment; they can help communicate messages that stick with people long after they hear them.
Types of Storytelling
There are two types of storytelling: linear and nonlinear storytelling. Linear storytelling involves a plot structure that unfolds chronologically from beginning to end. Nonlinear storytelling does not follow this structure. Instead, it skips around in time or jumps between different points in time without warning or explanation.
Storytelling in Marketing
Storytelling is a powerful tool. It can help your brand engage with your customers in a more meaningful way, and it can help you build long-lasting relationships with them.
But storytelling in marketing isn’t just about telling a nice story to try to get people to buy your product or service. It’s about taking the time to understand who your customers are, what they need and what matters most to them. Then telling them a story that makes sense to them – one that they will want to listen to again and again.
Why Does Storytelling Work?
Stories have been around since the beginning of time because they’re so effective at helping us learn new things, remember important information and empathize with other people’s experiences. When you tell someone an interesting story about yourself, it’s not just entertaining – it’s also extremely useful for building trust and rapport between two people who don’t know each other very well yet.
Storytelling gives you an opportunity to connect with someone on an emotional level, which is why it’s such an effective way of communicating with your audience online or offline (either through writing or speech). You’re taking the time to talk directly with one person instead of broadcasting your message out into the ether; it feels more personal and intimate than just facts and descriptions.
How to Master Storytelling
Storytelling is a powerful tool in marketing, and it has a long history. But while it’s the oldest form of communication, it’s also one of the most difficult to master.
Storytelling is not just about telling a story; it’s about how you tell that story. If you want to engage your audience with stories that are both entertaining and informative, here are some tips.
Use Simple Language
Stories help people connect with you, but not if they can’t understand what you say! Use language that’s clear and easy to understand so that your listeners will be able to follow along easily and enjoy the story as well.
Use simple language that anyone can understand. If you’re telling a story about how you built a widget, don’t use complicated words or jargon that only other engineers would understand. Keep it simple and clear, so everyone can follow along easily.
Start With a Hook
The first line of your story should be interesting enough that your listener wants to hear more. If you can’t think of a good opening line, try this exercise: write a few sentences about whatever topic you’re talking about, and then cut them out. The result will be a concise statement that piques the listener’s interest and sets up the rest of your story.
People are naturally drawn to stories because they want to know what happens next. The more intriguing the story is, the more likely it is that people will want to hear more about it.
Do Not Forget About SEO!
Use keywords in titles and descriptions, keep them short and use bullet points for easy scanning by Google bots. Write headlines that make sense for both humans and search engines, and create custom meta tags for each page on your site. Use alt tags for images on your site, and add social media sharing buttons to every page (this way people can share the content with their friends). Optimize your website’s code, so Google understands it better – this helps rank your story higher in search engine results pages.
Use Visual Storytelling Techniques
Use visual storytelling techniques like props or slideshows. You don’t need fancy equipment or expensive software – just use whatever you have on hand. If you’re presenting at work, ask your boss if you can borrow some office supplies or equipment from another department (like printers, computers or even easels).
Know Your Audience
If you’re speaking at an event where everyone in the room knows each other well, then it’s OK if you tell a long story that would bore people who are not there for the presentation. On the other hand, if this is a formal speech – like an award acceptance speech – then keep it short and sweet, so people don’t lose interest halfway through because they’re hungry for dinner!
Create an Emotional Connection
You don’t have to tell stories that are personal, but you should make them real. If you’re telling the story of how you came up with a new product or concept, use real examples from your life to connect it to the audience. For example, if you were inspired by something that happened at work, share what happened and how it made you feel. This will help your audience relate more closely to your story and make them more interested in what you’re saying.
Tell Stories That People Can Relate To
People love to hear stories about others who have overcome obstacles and achieved success. So while you may not be in the same position as someone who has struggled and triumphed, you can still find ways to relate your story to theirs. For example, if you sell diet supplements, talk about how hard it was for you to lose weight before using this product (even if it wasn’t as hard as it might have been). That way, people will see themselves in your story and feel like they can follow in your footsteps.
Use Metaphors and Analogies
When explaining complex topics, try using metaphors and analogies to make them easier to understand. For example, if you’re talking about how a company needs to adapt its business model, compare it to an old pair of shoes that doesn’t fit anymore – they still work, but they need some modifications before they’re comfortable again. This makes it easier for listeners who may not understand the topic as well as you do because they can relate it back to something they already know about (shoes).
Pros of Storytelling as a Marketing Tool
Here are some of the pros of storytelling as a marketing tool.
Stories Are Memorable
A great story will stick with people long after they’ve heard it. This is especially true if the story has a message that resonates with them personally, or if they feel like they can relate to the characters in the story.
Stories Are Relatable
Customers want to feel as though they can relate to your brand and its products or services. If you can tell them stories that demonstrate how your product or service helped someone else overcome their problems, or how it’s helped people in similar situations, you’ll be able to connect with them on a deeper level than just describing what you do and why it matters.
Stories Have an Impact on Purchasing Decisions
When people buy from you because of a story instead of simply because of what you sell, then that means that your brand is making an impact on them beyond just selling products or services – and this makes them more likely to buy from you again in the future!
Stories are unique because they are relatable, memorable and persuasive. They provide an opportunity for you to learn about your customers’ needs, values, desires and goals – which can help you create more targeted content for them.
It helps build relationships with customers, prospects, and influencers by showing them you’re human like them and that you care about what they want or need from your business (or brand).
Cons of Storytelling as a Marketing Tool
Storytelling is a powerful marketing tool. It can help you connect with customers and build loyalty. But there are some cons to consider before you decide to use storytelling in your marketing efforts.
Storytelling Requires Time and Effort
One of the biggest cons of storytelling as a marketing tool is that it requires time and effort. You can’t simply tell one story and expect it to work for all your customers. You have to understand who your audience is and what they want from you. Then create stories that address those needs.
Storytelling Requires Creativity
Another con of storytelling as a marketing tool is that it requires creativity. Creating stories takes insight, imagination, and talent – all of which may not be available in every situation or person in your organization. Whether you’re creating an ad campaign or writing copy for your website, if you don’t have a creative person on staff or at least someone willing to pitch in, then it might be difficult for you to create effective stories that resonate with your customers.
Storytelling Isn’t Always Appropriate
Some companies just aren’t cut out for storytelling as part of their marketing strategy because they’re not comfortable being open about themselves or sharing something personal with their customers (or potential customers).
Storytelling Is Not Always Necessary
Not all companies need to tell stories in their marketing campaigns. If you’re selling a product or service that doesn’t require an explanation or backstory, then there’s no point in creating a story around it. You can just focus on the product itself.