In the marketing and communications business, storytelling can often be forgotten when you’re dealing with deadlines, research, data, creative and budgets, but it’s just as critical a component of the business as any of these other aspects. If you want to get your message across in an increasingly crowded communications landscape, you should take a storytelling approach to your communications.
Because most people remember stories more vividly and accurately than they remember statistics.
We’re instinctively drawn to narratives because they allow us to connect to one another. Creative storytelling is often a more meaningful and effective approach to increasing brand and message awareness than using charts and percentages.
From figures drawn on caves to stories of mythical beasts and beyond —stories bond us with individuals from the past, present, and future. Connecting with your audience through storytelling can help create and secure a bond with them, and ultimately ensure your message and brand sticks with your audience.
Whether you’re a communications professional, business owner, or just someone looking to tell a good water cooler story every now and then, it’s important to know how to craft a story that people actually want to listen to. Understanding the principles of good storytelling is crucial, no matter what industry you’re in.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you become a better storyteller:
1. Start with a hook
The first paragraph of a story is the most important paragraph of the whole piece because it determines whether your audience will keep reading. Audiences don’t have the attention spans they used to (none of us do!). You have to grab the interest of your audience right at the beginning to ensure that they continue on.
2. Focus on the little details
To make your story memorable, focus on elements that others wouldn’t. Try to inject small, memorable moments or imagery that your audience is more likely to retain. The more texture you’re able to provide within your story, the better your connection with your audience is going to be.
3. Be relatable
The more relatable your story is to your audience, the closer connected your audience will be with your brand. No one wants to read a story without any conflict or struggle. When crafting a story, consider the challenges or even failures that could be shared. Brand loyalty only becomes stronger when your audience can relate to your company narratives
4. Stray from the cliché
Clichés aren’t memorable – everyone uses them. If you find that your story includes a cliché or two, try and brainstorm a new and unique way of expressing what you are trying to say. The room may have been so quiet “you could hear a pin drop,” but you can transmit the quietness without using a cliché with a few minutes effort.
5. Be authentic
People can spot an exaggerated or fake story from a mile away —it is so important to be as genuine as possible. There are ways to make even the simplest stories memorable, so don’t lie or exaggerate your story to make it seem more exciting. If you are authentic and stay true to your company’s brand, your audience will appreciate it.
Remember, storytelling doesn’t mean your story needs to be a novel, or even an essay. In the work we do, often we have just a few seconds before audiences scroll down the feed, drive past a billboard, or flip the page. You might not have a lot of time or space to convey a story but you should always try.
Incorporating storytelling principles – no matter what medium your marketing appears – allows your brand to connect with audiences in more meaningful ways.
Do you need help integrating a storytelling approach in your marketing and communications? We’d love to work with you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.