Storytelling is a powerful content marketing tool that helps you make an emotional connection with your audience-here's everything you need to know about it to leverage it in your business.
If we are talking about stories, you might immediately think of the ones you tell children before bedtime or the ones written by your favorite novel author.
In fact, the art of storytelling belongs to great writers and aims to immerse us in parallel realities, more or less verisimilitude, and to make us dream and excite.
So you may be wondering-what does this have to do with business (and, in particular, marketing)?
After all, stories exist to be read or heard, not written to do business....
Are you so sure?
Think a little bit about one of the basic rules of copywriting: creating a feeling With the people you address.
Knowing how to emotionally engage your audience is the key to ensuring that your message enjoys attention and then gets the desired result. After all, this is the goal of any marketing activity: that the audience responds and act accordingly.
To do this, you need to understand what matters to them, what needs they have, what difficulties they are facing, and show them how your offer helps solve their problems (by the way, if you haven't already done so, I recommend you read my article on the value proposition canvas).
In short, you have to empathize with people.
Also because, you know it well: we are all daily, constantly and incessantly exposed to an avalanche of content, so much so that most of it passes before our eyes without us hardly noticing it.
So if you are investing your resources to reach your audience quickly and effectively, it is clear that you need to be able to stand out in the welter around you.
There are various ways to do this, and one of them is precisely what I mentioned above: the storytelling.
Yeah, because know that it is something well established: brands that tell more stories, sell more. If you think about Netflix o Disney, the reason they are so successful is precisely because they deal with selling stories.
For what reason does this happen?
Because humans have been telling stories forever, and our brains particularly appreciate them: many studies have shown that listening to a story makes it easier to remember the information it contains.
No, believe me, the fact that you call yourself a marketer, salesman, or the like (and therefore have nothing to do with writing) does not excuse you from not knowing it or even using it!
In fact, all the best business man are storytellers (think Steve Jobs or Elon Musk).
Also because you don't need to be a Nobel Prize-winning expert in literature-you just need to know and apply some of the basic elements of storytelling to appeal to the more emotional part of your audience and make many of the things you write more engaging.
That's why today I want to tell you. How to use storytelling to do business, harnessing the incredible power of storytelling for marketing.
Read on to learn more!
What is storytelling and what role does it play in marketing
Before we look at how this technique can be useful to you, let's understand what it is.
Do storytelling means tell a story with the intent of communicating something to your audience, where "story" means a tale of people and facts, which may be real, verisimilar or imaginary.
In other words, storytelling is simply the art of Sharing a message in the form of a story, in a compelling and memorable way.
Of course, storytelling is a creative endeavor, requiring you to apply inventiveness and imagination to basic information. But storytelling is also a science, a skill you can apply to any kind of text while respecting the elements that distinguish its structure, including a beginning, a climax, and a conclusion.
If you apply this to marketing, it is clear that it becomes something more: a means to a very specific end, which is to make the recipient feel something, enough to inspire him to act In the direction you want.
Storytelling thus expresses the ability to appeal to consumers by appealing to their emotions, a way to increase the brand awareness and improve the brand positioning, bridging the gap between the latter and your audience. An indispensable tool for effective communication that helps you build a strong identity for your company and establish a real relationship of trust and credibility with people.
That is why it plays a key role in the content marketing: allows you to humanize your brand and make it more accessible to everyone.
And today, thanks to the web, you can approach your target audience in this way by harnessing the full power of online channels, so much so that we talk about digital storytelling, to use in your newsletter, on your site or on the various social platforms.
It also does not have to be limited to the written word. Well-conceptualized advertisements, images, and even music can become an extra element that makes people want to know more.
The 3 rules for effective storytelling
Like everything in marketing, storytelling should not be left to chance: whenever you intend to tell a story, you should always keep in mind a basic structure.
This definitely helps you to produce quality text, but more importantly to do it in the best and most effective way according to your goal and the message you communicate.
Don't worry, it is nothing difficult. In fact, the first rule to follow to create a narrative that is engaging but also coherent is to adhere to the classic 5W (I don't know about you, but I remember them from my school days):
- Who: the protagonists;
- What: The topic, themes, values you want to share;
- When: A defined time frame;
- Why: Because certain things happen at that time;
- Where: Where everything happens.
But wait, you can still do more.
To create an effective message that excites and engages, you need to remember that you are not just telling a story, you are also marketing.
That's why the second rule consists of identifying certain elements such as:
- yours target, the audience you are addressing, ready to embrace the principles and values you want to convey;
- the challenge on which your story is based, a problem to solve or an obstacle to overcome;
- the events that lead the protagonist to the problem solving And to the achievement of one's goal;
- an ending that highlights the message and the benefits Of the actions taken.
Well, you only need one last step: choosing the best platform.
La third rule is then to consider the most appropriate channel through which to tell your story. Keep in mind, as I explained In this article on the importance of graphics, that the human brain prefers visual communication (because it is easier to process and understand): this is why I recommend that you use not only written content, but also live video, Instagram stories, infographics, behind-the-scenes images, and so on.
Why is storytelling important for business?
I told you before, telling (and listening to) stories is something we humans do with ease-a spontaneous form of communication because it harnesses our curiosity and instinctive desire to know how it turns out.
Not only that, we are better able to remember everything that affects us emotionally.
So why not take advantage of it to do business?
# Makes you stand out
We've talked about it before, people are inundated with ads on the various platforms and pop-ups on all websites: a creative story, perhaps accompanied by the right images, will help you capture the reader's attention. In the noisy digital world, creating a story behind valuable content and thus going beyond "standard" marketing will make you much more recognizable.
# Allows you to make a connection
Product promotions are often presented as informative content to be read as If they were assembly instructions. Kind of bland and boring, in short. When you tell a story, on the other hand, you engage the reader emotionally and make him feel that he is participating in something more, shall we say, "deep" and personal. This helps him relate to you and what you do on a more intimate and effective level.
# Makes you look less intrusive
It is common knowledge, when one encounters a somewhat pushy seller, there is a kind of general stampede. On the Internet, it doesn't take much to abandon a page or site if the content is perceived as too "pushy." Although they are sometimes useful and necessary, in some contexts using storytelling gives you a few extra points in your favor by attracting consumers more easily.
# Communicate your ideas effectively
Ideas do not go far without a compelling story to support them. Storytelling can help provide the right structure to your message so that your audience can relate to it both rationally and emotionally.
# Strengthens Your Brand
With storytelling you can give personality to your brand, differentiate it from competitors and connect it with your audience, taking people on a real journey of discovery and awareness. For this to happen, your stories must obviously be authentic, creative and inspiring.
Then, what do you think?
As you may have guessed, storytelling can have super positive effects on your business.
Telling stories can become one of the most effective tools of your communication.
Take care, though: this is not an action one shot, but long-term planning that goes hand in hand with your entire content marketing strategy.
Only then will you have lasting results, increase trust in your brand, and turn your audience into loyal customers.
And don't be afraid to experiment: as long as you leave room for your creativity combined with a good dose of knowledge about your target audience, consumers will be happy to listen, read or watch you.
If you have never approached this technique until now or have not spent much time on it, know that it is never too late to start or improve.