Five Ways to Tell Better Stories

As storytelling is becoming popular in marketing, more and more businesses are trying their hand at casting a story “glow” over their communication with their audience. Much of this, however, is a loose collection of information, fact, and opinion, tossed together and given an aura of corporate branding.

Not surprisingly, many of these communications never reach their audience. Even if they get seen, they don’t necessarily get read. With your audience’s attention torn between various branded stories, how do you get them to pay attention to yours?

The answer is simple. The best way to break through the noise is by offering content with added value, content that really means something. Here are five tips to help you on your way.

Tip One: Reveal the Path

Much of the content that readers receive is in fragmented form, a few tips here and a few offers there. Some of this content can contradict itself as well, just think about the confusing messages around healthy eating. Often readers can’t see the wood for the trees, let alone that they are able to get a sense of what you are trying to convey about your brand.

The last thing that readers need is another list of facts about your business, product or service. What they are crying out for is meaningful information, relevant to their own lives. So, instead of offering them content that is fragmented, weave the fragments together in coherent story. Select only those pieces of information that are relevant to the audience you are trying to reach, and give the story a strong title and interesting angle.

Tip Two: Trust Me

To ensure that you float to the surface in a soup of hype and hokum you need to convey a strong sense of trustworthiness. Employ a fact checker or investigative journalist if necessary. In any case, make sure that the person who writes your content is reliable and authentic. Take it upon yourself to be a trustworthy source of information in your field of business.

Tip Three: A Useful Life

Funny images and videos can go viral quickly, and hence they get seen and talked about by a large international audience. But before you go down that road, just stop to think. Does anyone actually remember the original sender? Content, even funny content, without a clear connection to the sender will not enhance your brand.

For a better story, choose inspiring and useful content, something with the power to enhance the lives of your target audience. It’s not that you can’t use humor. Just make sure that you add enough context and background information to make the story meaningful.

Tip Four: Welcome to Me

In a story it’s traditional to use a protagonist, and to weave the story around the trials and tribulations of this character. Likewise, in marketing a fictitious man or woman usually represent the average consumer. In brand storytelling, however, the business or brand itself needs to come forward with a strong personality. For example, your business could seek to act like friend, guide, or mentor to its audience. To be able to achieve this, you need to develop a clear identity, also called an “archetype”, for your business.

Tip Five: The Story of Us

Consumers trust other consumers. That is why online reviews have a much bigger influence on what people end up spending their money on than regular advertising that talks about features and benefits. Stories that focus on the experience of the consumer create confidence, a trustful relationship. When you incorporate real customer feedback in your storytelling, you communicate on a level with your audience that they will genuinely appreciate.

Stories already contain all the basic elements you need to engage your audience. Make them better by making them more cohesive and focusing on content that connects directly with their needs. Project a trustworthy personality, have a clear direction, and leave room for customers’ opinions. Use these tips to create better, stronger stories that will get you noticed.

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