Storytelling and marketing are a match made in heaven.
Are you surprised?
Stories are an emerging (and incredibly popular) marketing tool. Initially introduced by Snapchat, a company focused solely on the mobile first experience, storytelling marketing has exploded internationally on a variety of digital platforms.
Storytelling has become the new favorite method for publishers to increase brand engagement, boost brand marketing, and deliver a captivating message. Think about it…
Stories are captivating. Storytelling marketing is gold.
No really, if you’re not using stories in your marketing strategy, you’re missing out. Marketers are now investing in visual storytelling more than ever before – image supported stories gain more than 2x the engagement of a text story.
The bottom line is… storytelling remains at the core of how successful companies operate. Stories engrain a vision of a brighter future and a happier life: an ideal place, dream or goal that takes us far away. Stories are a natural way to express emotions, pass on knowledge, communicate opinions, share successes and failures, and certainly learn about the world around us.
And the best part?
Stories let you tell a story in as many ways as you can imagine, and give you the power to engage your audience, taking them down whichever path you want them to go. Your options are limitless.
Everyone loves a good story.
What Is Storytelling Marketing
Storytelling marketing is beneficial for business, period.
Think of creating stories as the perfect opportunity to engage with your core viewers as if you were sharing a personal story in the lunchroom. You have the freedom to show audiences that you’re fun, innovative, and most importantly, want to create an honest and friendly relationship with customers.
An effective marketing story needs to be intriguing, powerful, and promote action. Consider your everyday life—you share your own stories that offer wisdom, insight, humor, knowledge or any emotion that brings the people around you together.
Storytelling marketing is no different. To be successful, you need to paint a picture that leaves your audience learning, thinking, or feeling something positive about your message and your brand.
Anyone can create and market a story. But if you want to master storytelling marketing, let’s dive in to the key storytelling essentials.
How Do You Create a Good Story for Marketing?
1. Study your competition
If you want to stand out in your competitive market, it absolutely necessary to observe, study, and critique the leading competitors in your industry. What are their marketing techniques? What stories are they telling? Do you think they are making a clear point? Were you engaged the whole time, wanting more? Or were you left feeling bored, or unsure of the key message?
To be an innovative marketing storyteller, you need to take time to dive in and observe the stories that are out there. Where are there gaps in the literature? Make sure you can fill a demand that is not currently met, otherwise you will be swimming upstream amongst a sea of sharks.
2. Always incorporate visuals
Our brains process visual images around 60,000 times faster than text. What does this tell you? Your marketing story needs to incorporate visual content. Even if you’re not a graphic designer, don’t worry.
Many low-cost, open source digital toolkits are available so you can add a variety of pictures, icons, videos, GIFs, and any other visual tool you need to boost your views and create impressively designed stories.
3. Know your end game before you begin
A critical component of storytelling is knowing exactly what your end-game is. If you don’t, your stories will come off as unorganized, rambling, and confusing. Nobody enjoys a drawn-out story that leaves you scratching your head at the end asking “What was the point exactly?”.
4. Always lead with an intriguing pitch
Your marketing storytelling strategy is essential a sales pitch. While you have the advantage of using stories to sell the story behind your brand, you need an opening statement, otherwise known as an inciting incident. Create a sense of urgency so your viewers know they need to find out more, subscribe, click the link, or follow through NOW.
5. Build a structured story
Any traditional, memorable story has structure—meaning an intro, content, and conclusion. Don’t forget about relatable characters and a great plot line. A well-written, organized marketing story should be fluid and have peaks and valleys, ebbs and flows.
You need a finale or conclusion that strongly ties your points together... Your conclusion is your Call to Action. Plan to end with an impression, emotion, or desire for more. This structure is proven to funnel viewers and convert stories to sales.
6. Always write stories for your audience, not yourself
Do you know who your audience is? What they are interested in? What may be interesting for you may be totally off track from your main marketing demographic.
It may sound like a nearly impossible task to truly understand your viewers, but you simply need to know how to capture people’s fascination. Share your marketing stories with colleagues, friends, and family to find out if they leave an impression of power, trust, mysteriousness, or intrigue. If yes, your storytelling marketing is successful!
7. Use a variety of digital media
Everyday, we indulge stories through many medias – novels, audiobooks, movies, photo albums, comic books, newspapers, blogs, and live news. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different digital media tools to see which storytelling methods your audience wants.
8. Choose your platforms
Knowing which digital platforms your stories will be shared on will help you craft the perfect marketing storytelling strategy. Depending on if your stories will be pitched at a conference, used as a paid YouTube ad, shared on social media, or showcased on your business website, your story needs to be viewable!
Considering most of us now view digital content from mobile devices, you want to ensure your stories are mobile compatible, visually appealing, and free of any glitches or formatting errors that could deter anyone from staying on your story.
9. Edit. Edit. Edit.
Storytelling marketing does not need to be a long, expensive, and time consuming process. Once you have your story goals, outline, and content laid out, the next step is to revise!
You might want to skip this step, especially if your stories are graphic heavy. Maintaining an editing mindset guaranteed you are not publishing marketing content that contains excessive fluff, and your stories deliver a strong and concise message time and time again.
10. Consistency is key
We saved the best tip for last. Without a doubt, consistency is the secret to successful storytelling marketing. Experienced storytelling marketers know the drill—keep up with the game or get left behind.
Producing stories on a schedule is a further proven tactic for establishing long-term viewership, and cultivating a loyal audience that gains real value from your constant, high-quality, intriguing stories.
So…what are you waiting for?
It all sums up to this….
Can you think of the most memorable story you’ve ever heard? Chances are, you remember exactly who it was who told the story. Stories are shared and remembered by people of all ages and walks of life. Your storytelling marketing can easily leave the same impression.
Don’t be afraid to highlight your personality through your stories. Not only will you connect with substantially more people, people will remember you, and keeping coming back for more. Storytelling marketing paves the road to success.
Let us know how storytelling has accelerated your marketing game!