Nothing is more boring than dry marketing. We’re talking drier than your great aunt’s pot roast. Dry marketing is either not memorable at all, or memorable for the wrong reasons. Good news is, there’s an easy fix for that: storytelling.
As kids, we all loved listening to stories, whether they were fantasies or stories about your parents from when they were younger. We thrived on scary stories around campfires with our friends. Stories allow us to make a more personal connection with characters and life situations.
As humans, we thrive on connection. TV shows, music, movies and writing are all storytelling mediums that make us feel connected. So why not transfer this into marketing?
Storytelling allows audiences to make a connection with your company, essentially sparking a positive image in the public’s mind associated with your brand. Helping readers connect your brand to a happy story.
Budweiser does a phenomenal job of this! They pull at your heart strings with their puppy and clydesdale commercials. They make me cry almost every time! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a gander at these Budweiser ads.
Who doesn’t want to drink a beer and snuggle up with a puppy after watching those?
You may be thinking to yourself, “Okay, I’m sold on storytelling but that’s a commercial, so how do I connect using blogs, print materials and websites?” I can see where you may find it hard to translate over, but I promise it’s easy!
That’s super easy, right? The challenge is we’ve been trained to sell on features and benefits. But features and benefits do not a good story make. Don’t throw numbers, facts, features and benefits at your customers. Yes, these are important, but they’re important later in the sales cycle. Storytelling wraps up your message in a pretty paper, you’re giving your audience a toy to remember their visit. All those features and benefits are like underwear for Christmas, no fun.
Think back to high school when you were trying to study for history tests. For me, it was so unbelievably hard to memorize exact dates. If I thought about events in chronological order, like storytelling, it was much easier. When people are being marketed to, they don’t want to have to think hard about all of the facts and figures. They want an appealing story that’s easy to follow and gives them what they want.
Humanize your story by adding a character to the tale. It can be as simple as throwing in a happy customer’s statement, or keeping a character flowing throughout your piece.
I do this when I blog. Usually I use my dad as an example in construction based posts, because he has worked in the construction industry his whole life. To see an example of this, check out the post about Timesheet Mobile. I open with a story about my dad, then give information about the app and close by going back to my dad. It brings the post full circle, and keeps the content entertaining.
Humanizing your story is more than just adding a character though. Humanization is adding a personal touch to your work. You can discuss real life situations which gives the company a relatable voice. Remember, your goal is to connect with the audience.
How your company came to be is a story worth telling. You can introduce your company’s main characters (own, president, CEO, etc.) and use them throughout your writing. Of course you can also mention supporting characters (office and field workers) to spice up the story even more. When customers know your story, they feel more connected to you and understand where you’ve been and where you’re going. This helps build an open, trusting relationship.
For example, say you’re a construction company and you just built a student housing complex in downtown Columbia. (That’s the last thing we need, but just go with it.) You want to post a picture to your website of the awesome work you did. You might be tempted to just post the picture with a caption that says, “Hey we built this.” But you’re not going to do that anymore!
Instead, find someone who either works in the building, or lives there. Take a photo of them in the new building to accompany the photo of the overall building. Ask for a quote from the person pictured about how they feel about the new building. (Obviously, you’ll want to pick someone with a positive outlook on your work, but keep it honest and real.) Stick that quote inside of your caption and voila! You just easily told a story. You didn’t think it was that easy, did you?
The whole point of storytelling is to connect with your audience. If you give them a story they can relate to, you have a better chance of building clientele. Feed your customers’ emotions with the stories they can relate to. I’m not saying make up stories; that’s quite the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Tell the truth in a way that’s easy to latch onto and you’ll build trust and make a connection.
Storytelling can actually be fun if you find the right characters. I hope you can find the fun in it too! Feel free to give storytelling a try and share your results with me. I’d love to read them!
I’m just going to leave you with two of my favorite storytelling commercials. These companies have their creative juices flowing!
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