Storytelling is the content marketing buzzword of the moment. But how can you incorporate it into your marketing strategy?
Storytelling goes back to ancient times and in today’s digital marketplace of social sharing and social media, it’s an effective way to enhance your brand, foster stronger customer relationships and create engaging content.
But do stories create brands or do brands create stories? This blog post assumes the second theory, and if you’re looking to grow your existing business the following four tips are a great place to start.
Be a storyteller first and a marketer second
We all know there’s an art to storytelling. A good storyteller will draw you in with an enticing promise of what’s to come, taking you on a journey of ups and downs before leaving you with an ending so unexpected that you’re hanging on their every word. Often you will get so enthralled in their tale that you will forget all about the reason you started listening in the first place, only to be reminded at the very end, when the story wraps everything up in a neat little bow, leaving you thinking ‘ah, of course’!
This is how storytelling can work in marketing.
While there can be many reasons why you choose to use storytelling to grow your business, it is important to remember to be a storyteller first and a marketer second. You want to provide your audience (be that existing or potential customers) with stories that are so engaging that the call to action at the end of the story seems like a natural progression.
Tell your own story
Storytelling is a fantastic way to enhance your brand personality and cement a stronger brand perception with your potential customers. Storytelling takes your brand beyond the physical elements of logo design, product packaging and colour palettes into a truly relatable, emotional space. By telling the unique story of your business, and telling it well, you will draw people in like a friend. Potential customers will not simply ‘like’ your brand, or view it as trustworthy or favourable, they will truly feel like they know your business. Their personal story will resonate with elements of yours and you will foster stronger and more lasting relationships.
With the recent surge of independent businesses both globally and in the UK, people want to know what makes your business different. What do you stand for? How and why did you get started? Who are the people working behind the scenes, and if it’s just you – who are you and what’s your story?! In the current social media world that we live in, transparency is key. Customers no longer want to purchase products from a faceless corporation; they want to engage with businesses that align with their values. So stop hiding behind your website, get out there and be proud to tell your unique story.
Add more stories to your collection
Once you’ve perfected your own story it’s time to start adding a few more to your collection. Use storytelling to enhance and change the way you create content – it’s all about shifting the way you think. If you currently create case studies for projects that you’ve worked on, think about how you could change these into stories.
For example, rather than writing a case study on how your business installed a new heating system at a corporate office, look for the personal angle, look for the story waiting to be told. Maybe the heating system that you installed saved your client thousands of pounds in energy bills, which they reinvested back into the office to create a unique break room with a pool table and pinball machines. A case study on a successful installation pales in comparison to the story of how your business saved a client money and made a positive change to their whole company culture.
Let your story develop
As your business grows your story will change. You may have recruited additional staff, relocated to a different city or even taken your business in a totally different direction. Don’t be afraid to let your story develop and change over time. As the years roll on you won’t be in the same situation you were when you first started, and that makes for a great story. Your existing community will love to see how your business is developing and new followers will be interested to see where you started from and how far you’ve come.
As your business expands you may launch new products or services and each of these milestones provides an opportunity to tell a story. Where did you get the idea for the new product? What process did you go through in developing the product? Is there an interesting reason behind the name? Keep looking for opportunities to tell a story.
Storytelling is a powerful tool and if utilised correctly, can bring a wide range of benefits to your business. Whether you’re adding storytelling to your existing content marketing strategy or you’re factoring it in right from the beginning, now’s the time to make the most of this exciting technique.
If you're looking to grow your business in Swindon or Wiltshire, we have a range of free marketing workshops available, covering everything from PR to social media. Find out more.