The more our culture leans toward on-demand shopping and a continually connected steam of communication through online media, the more the consumer craves meaningful, substantial connection. This desire for a deeper level of connection isn't just reserved for personal, face-to-face relationships, but now applies to business. While my last several articles have been focused entirely in the nonprofit sector, today's post applies across the board. Let me say it plainly for the small business owner, nonprofit team member, and marketing and communications manager reading this article right now: win the hearts of your consumer, and you win their business.
Today, we will be looking at the key elements to telling stories that connect with your customer/clients and promote your business. Our key questions are who, what, and where.
Who: Selecting the Right Stories
Telling the origin story of your business can only go so far with your customers. The stories that become a major part of your brand are not just yours, but the stories of your customers. If you're sitting at your desk, brainstorming ways to engage your audience and move them to action, telling powerful stories is the key. The first question to ask is who.
Who has been positively impacted by your business? This is one of the first steps in creating your "story bank". The best way to illustrate the value your business adds, is through real stories of people in your community. The ideal story to tell is one where your customer had a pain point and your business provided a solution that improved their quality of life in a very real way.
What: The Narrative
This is where the meat and potatoes of this post lives: in the storytelling structure itself. If you don't consider yourself a writer, get out your pen and paper because we are going to break down the general outline of a great story for business purposes.
The tone (writing style) of storytelling for business should always be conversational, as if you and the reader are discussing the topic. Depending on your industry, you may use varying degrees of casualness or formality, but a casual, yet professional tone is optimal when writing a story that captivates your audience and converts them into customers.
This is where you will briefly introduce the person of whose story you are telling as if you were introducing them to a friend. This piece of your story should be brief, but explain the relationship of this person to your company or cause.
The Pain Point
This part of the story is crucial to forming a connection with the reader. You must tell your audience of a struggle in such a way that they will relate to it, and want to discover the solution.
Other than illustrating the obstacle(s), this is by far the most important aspect of your story. In triumphant exultation, the main character of your story has overcome the issue at-hand, and is living a better life.
Bringing it Full Circle
This is where an emotional story becomes a powerful marketing tool. As you wrap up the piece, you will tie in how your company culture, value proposition, and products or services are a part of the main character's story and how your brand is more than words on paper, but lived out in real life. Furthermore, how your company makes people's lives better.
Where: Social Media, Blogs, and More
Now that you have identified a few individuals with great stories and have the formula to weave a compelling story, you have to decide what to do with all that great content. Here are a few ways you can showcase your narratives:
Through a blogging platform, or through your website, blogs are the best way to showcase a feature-length story in its full glory. This option also allows you to link your content directly to donation or buying platforms.
Instagram or Facebook
If you are posting a story on one of these platforms (other than posting a link to a blog) the best way I've found is to incorporate a graphic that tells part of the story itself to save yourself from an overly wordy post.
Have you enjoyed this post? Make sure to check out my other articles on everything from annual reports to event marketing on the Taylor Brand Consulting blog. Looking for someone to help you tell your story? Let's connect. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.