Human beings are storytellers. Just about as long as we’ve been able to walk, humans have told stories. Several research articles and publications have emerged over the years studying everything about storytelling, from why we do it to the effectiveness of stories on the brain.
From oral storytelling, written word and various recorded media, our ways of telling those stories have changed as have our reasons for telling them. One particular niche storytelling has found in modern (read: 20th century) history is in marketing. Businesses of all sizes have used storytelling in their marketing efforts to great effect and yours can easily be one of them. Let’s go over a few ways you can use storytelling as part of your strategy, no matter what medium you’re using.
Explaining concepts to your audience can be difficult, especially if your industry is highly technical or removed from layman. An illustrative story is a fictional one told to show a concept or technique as it works in the real world, to be more easily understood. It’s an incredibly common and easy to use strategy, and one that I used in my last blog post to show how automated email can benefit small businesses through the example of fictional business owners.
Note that illustrative stories aren’t intended to “dumb down” concepts for your audience, but rather to give them a richer understanding of your topic by placing it in a more relatable context.
It’s possible that you’re already using case studies on your website to promote your services – we know Roundpeg is. Case studies are, at their essence, a real-life story of how someone improved their situation by using your business’s products or services. By focusing on the customer’s story, you’re able to make a more effective statement to your audience as to why they should choose you and your product. In addition, writing case studies has the added bonus of getting you in the habit of focusing your marketing on your product’s benefits, rather than its features.
For some tips on how to get started, revisit our past blog for an intro to case studies.
While case studies are all about your customers, you also need to tell your own story. Most often where you will do so is on your About Us page, an especially important piece of content for certain industries. An About Us page can be done in a variety of ways, but the best and most effective ones will usually contain three important pieces of information:
- Who you are and what you do.
- Why you do what you do.
- Why people should choose you.
Don’t let those short bullet points deceive you, they may be the most difficult questions your business has to answer. Even if I dedicated this entire article to the topic, I wouldn’t be able to properly convey what makes a good or great About Us page. As you become more attuned to your business’s core values, identity and strategy, those questions will become easier to answer.
Of course, this is by no means a comprehensive list of ways storytelling can be used in marketing, but it does highlight some of the most common and effective ways of doing so. Storytelling fills a unique role in human communication that your marketing efforts can take advantage of. Using stories, whether they’re about fictional people, past clients or yourself, will help evoke not only a logical response from your audience, but also an emotional one.
No matter what phase of your strategy you’re in, no matter what industry you occupy or service you offer, you have a story to tell – so tell it.