Basics of storytelling
Storytelling includes stories that are written in books, but it encompasses much more. Newscasters weave short stories together on the evening news, people share personal stories with friends, and companies tell a story in order to entice customers and clients to their brand.
A good story includes a plot that makes the audience curious, or enables them to identify with the details in the story. Stories can be told through print, videos, online content, images, and in person.
It can include stories that elicit any emotion, but a good story is one that follows a recognizable pattern. It can include archetype characters, familiar situations, or surprises that keep the audience clinging to the edge of their seat.
Stories can be short or long. They can be a quick paragraph of a company’s history or a lengthy novel that takes weeks to read.
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Storytelling in marketing
Storytelling is an extremely effective marketing strategy. It enables companies to connect with customers and clients in a more personal way, which in turn increases conversions and sales.
One main difference of storytelling for marketing purposes as opposed to traditional methods is the purpose of telling the story. Books and newscasts generally tell stories for the sake of telling stories. A marketing story, on the other hand, tells a story with the intention of getting the audience to take action.
For example, a company history might encourage someone to get in touch with a business to receive a free estimate. An article on a blog may encourage readers to leave a response, while a quick video may encourage a client to try a new service.
How businesses tell a story
How a business tells a story is much the same as traditional storytelling methods. However, how the story is presented can vary.
For example, a business may have to capture a snapshot of a story in a billboard or in an online ad design. Oftentimes, the story includes information about the business itself. The content on a website is a great opportunity to tell a story.
For most businesses, storytelling takes place across multiple platforms. For example, a business may share stories about their philanthropic efforts on their website, but connect with clients in a more personal way on social media. It is important for businesses to make sure their story is consistent across multiple channels.
Words and videos contribute to a company’s story, but other things can contribute to it as well. For example, a company logo is an important reflection of every business, as is the design of their products. In addition, the personal stories of employees and previous customers and clients also contribute to the overall story of a business.
Types of storytelling methods
Companies have creative reign to tell stories that make sense for their business, although most stories are created with the goal of getting customers and clients to take action. They can use a variety of methods to get their point across.
Specific types of marketing storytelling include:
- Customer-led: Testimonials are a great way to allow customers to chime in on a business’s story. Invite a guest blogger to post on a website or include social media followers in a post.
- Philanthropic: Behind-the-scenes stories can be an effective way to connect with customers and clients. Businesses can share perks their employees enjoy, or outline their outreach efforts in the community as part of their larger company story.
- Data-driven: This type of story is great for businesses that work with numbers. It’s an effective way to help customers and clients make sense of those numbers by weaving them into a cohesive story.
As storytelling in marketing evolves, so does technology. Today, companies are starting to integrate augmented reality into their marketing strategies as a way to better tell their stories and relate to customers and clients.
Benefits of storytelling
Storytelling can take time, but it can benefit a business greatly. First, it’s a great way to convey a brand’s personality. That can attract customers and clients who connect with the kind of personality the brand conveys.
Consumers often make emotional purchases. That’s why candy and other last-minute items are always placed close to the register. Storytelling allows brands to tap into those emotions. For it to work, a company must be genuine, honest, and real, which are things today’s consumers appreciate.
It is also a great way to show customers and clients that a brand is not just a company — it is a company that is made up of real people. Many consumers prefer to purchase items from people they trust as opposed to big-name brands, and storytelling enables customers to see the faces behind the brand.