What is storytelling and where did it come from?

Storytelling is a word that is becoming ever increasingly used. There are a couple of reasons for this, brands are now recognising the need for them to tell their stories.

The best way I can describe what storytelling is, it is the difference between ‘boring’ corporate content and stories that engage the audience, creating conversation and even a buzz around the story or topic of the story.

If you think back to when you were in school, we all had that one teacher who made learning more memorable, due to the stories he told about the subject he taught. This always worked better for me than those boring teachers who just taught you what you needed to know.

Storytelling, can form an essential part of any organisations content marketing technique, this has become more and more important over the last 12 months.

There are some key things to bear in mind when storytelling in a content marketing context:

What is the story behind everything you do/tell your story/get your personality across

The story you are sharing must be as factual as possible, whilst still remaining compelling to read for your audience. Whilst telling your own story is important, if you can share those stories of your clients, these seem to have the largest impact long-term on brands and brand image.

Take your audience on a journey

The purpose of storytelling is to take your customers on a journey with you. The important thing here is to focus on what people want to hear and can share themselves, this is why it should form an integral part of your content strategy.

In order to take your audience on a journey, try and include emotions, experiences and make it real. If someone else has experience something the same or similar to your story they instantly connect with it, making them more likely to engage and share your story.

Help customers form a personal connection with your brand

You will often hear that storytelling is one of the best methods for starting an emotional relationship with your brand. By telling stories that are real or at the very least tell stories in a manner that help your customers feel a connection on an emotional level, however don’t try and do this just for the sake of it, customers can quite often see through this so it is not worth it. Just be honest and real.

Tell stories of challenge and how you overcame that – creating experience that resonate with your customers

The stories you tell must be personal, think back to how your brand was created, what inspired you to start the business and what is your own personal mission. Any stories must be factual and compelling, keeping the attention of the audience. While your own stories are super important, being able to share brand stories have the biggest long-term impact on brands.

Put your customers at the heart of your stories, they should be the main character, with you playing the supporting character. As your company goals and objectives change, use your brand story to create new calls to actions and move your brand forward.

Storytelling is not a one off – you need consistency and constant adaptation to cater for evolving human needs

Every brand wants its customers to keep coming back for more. Using storytelling as a consistent method is a good way of getting people to come back. Don’t just shove stats in your customer’s direction and hope for the best.

In order to keep your customers engaged with your brand and story you need to be consistent in what you do, tell them a story with regular updates.

I found the following infographic and thought it painted the picture of storytelling very well and provided insights into what effect storytelling has on the human brain. It’s nice to see some rational thinking behind why we tell stories.

Storytelling infographic
Storytelling Infographic

Use your customer stories to help you tell your story

You don’t have to create all of the content yourself to help tell your story. A great way of engaging with you customers is to ask them to tell your stories for you and then aggregate this content through one hashtag. You can then curate and display this content in one stunning stream – what better way to get customer participation.

Wrap up

Storytelling is form of marketing that will remain around for the foreseeable future. What better way have you and your brands got of engaging with a captive audience. The rise of social media has made storytelling across multiple platforms easier than ever before, with the ability to reach more people than ever before.

If you think back to the beginning of this blog I talked about that one teacher who taught through storytelling. Hopefully now you understand why this worked and how you can use this technique in your current marketing efforts.

There is no time to waste – get in touch to start selling your story today