Those who tell stories rule the world. –Plato
Plato understood the power of storytelling thousands of years ago.
No matter if it is a sci-fi movie or a 100-year old classic tale, it works and leaves you baffled because of the beautifully crafted story.
Why do you think people binge-watch tv series, or can’t stop reading a good fiction novel, or simply spend the evening with the friend who always has epic tales to tell?
They all have one thing in common, and that is good storytelling.
Surely storytelling works but can these techniques of storytelling be used to increase sales?
You can always find articles and blogs which are using storytelling to convey the message. And now you too can embrace the art of storytelling and increase your sales phenomenally.
Telling your own stories and sharing experiences goes a long way, but it might be easier said than done for some of us.
For few people, it is like a cake walk, and for some, it can be a challenging task. But anyone willing to put their heart in it can get better at it.
But before we understand how you can start doing business storytelling, let’s understand this first.
Why are stories so powerful?
A good gripping story can change how your visitors look at your business. The stories you share determines how your business is perceived by the users and that in turn decides whether they will read your amazing content or not.
Another reason why stories work is that the flow of information is never overwhelming. The users can actually keep a tap of the data without stressing on their memory.
Imagine listening to a powerpoint presentation with dull bullet points. And on the other hand, being told the same thing in the form of a story. Things will change dramatically.
We are hardwired to receive information through stories. Well, why won’t we be? We literally grew up with them. From fairy tales at bedtimes to avidly listening to grandpa’s life experiences, we are trained to receive information in the form of stories.
Stories invoke emotions.
Humans are emotional beings, and to make an impact, the idea must invoke our emotions. At least our subconscious mind.
Good stories create a great impact and incite the emotions of the readers. If this is done in a positive manner, this is what makes brands stand apart from the crowd.
One of the main reason the storytelling technique works is that storytelling inspires us. We learn from storytelling, we get boosted and act according to what that story wants us to be.
The prime example of this is the TED talks, and they have proved to be a success because of the same reason. Their motto, “Ideas worth spreading” is enough to back this statement.
How is storytelling helpful in content marketing?
Apart from creating an impact on user’s minds, storytelling can actually drive action. If your story is well written, you can actually expect your users to take the action that you want them to do.
We, as human beings, love to listen to stories and steer away from bland and boring stats and this is what marketers are using these days.
Take yourself, what would you rather choose? Listening to the “sale-sy” product pitch with lots of stats or you would rather want to know about how that product helped a customer in solving their issue.
I am sure you would want to go for the latter one. Simply because it sounds more interesting and you would rather want to know how well the product performed rather than understanding the facts of the product.
It is not necessary that your story has to be very unique or groundbreaking but it should be actionable and must create an impact on the user’s mind. In fact, marketers prefer to write stories in the simplest form possible.
The priority should be writing a story that delivers the message. Not the one that is really detailed and hard to understand.
How will it set your brand apart from the competition?
Storytelling can do wonders when it comes to strengthening the brand image.
A good story can make the user more confident with the product, and that too is universal.
But above everything, stories do wonders because of one simple yet very effective reason, and that reason is Personal Connection.
Have you ever seen an advertisement and thought “Hey! That is exactly what happened to me! I want to know how it can be fixed?”.
If yes, then you have made a personal bond with the brand, and if not, I can give you hundreds of other examples, but it will all come down to the same point – Storytelling works like a charm when companies want to make a personal connection.
When you tell a story which your user has experienced in their life, you will find them more inclined towards your brand and emotional branding being a progressive technique, it triggers a lot of response than the traditional blog writing.
Not just customer stories, when brands start to open up with the customers and begin telling their own success stories, it takes the brand-customer relationship to a new level.
Users always want to know about the product as they get more familiar with the company behind it and find some context that they can personally relate to.
When the users create a personal connection with the brand, they are more likely to go for the product.
Everyone will choose the brand that they know about rather than the one which is secluded, and nobody knows anything about it and that is why opening up to your customers is important.
Elements of a Story
Like any other tale, a good brand story must have these three elements. A situation with a problem, the steps that were taken to deal with it, and the resolution or the victory result.
However, brand stories have a fourth element which makes them unique, and that is the Call to Action or the CTA.
Although the CTA might not be direct, it will be there as that is what any company wants. Any company’s ultimate marketing goal is to inspire. Whether it motivates change or pushes sales of the product or merely drawing people’s attention towards the brand. The end of the story should always drive the desired outcome or your goal.
Since now we are all clear with the idea of storytelling and how you as a brand can benefit from it, let’s see how you can do business storytelling in your blog.
How to add storytelling elements to your blog?
Start with the basics
If you have never done story writing before, lay down the basics first. Understand how to write a good story for your blog and how it can add up to your brand image.
Don’t just focus on writing, give time to reading stories as well. Understand the basic structure of a story and how the process goes. Reading other story blogs will help you in finding inspiration and will teach you many other aspects of writing a good story such as the tone of the story, usage of dialogues, etc.
You should understand the process flow of a story clearly. The process may vary, but it will always begin with an introduction to a problem. Make sure the problem you are introducing is clear and sticks to the point.
Now, the problem will be followed by action with an aim to tackle the problem and at last comes the result. You can put in the CTA anywhere you want depending on the situation.
Identify your target audience
Firstly, recognize who you are telling your story. You need to understand the mindset one would carry while reading your blog and that would depend a lot on how you have been interacting with your customers so far.
For instance, a company selling skateboards will have a more energetic and pumped up voice than the one selling beds and mattresses. You see the difference, right?
If your story does not fit the perception of your users, it might confuse them, and that is something that you do not want. If you have not yet chosen a voice for your brand, then you have the liberty to go with any voice that may fit your goals and especially the product.
Lay down your story goals
If you are sharing a story, it must have some goals or message that you want to give. Before you start writing, write down your goal. It could be anything such as pushing sales, getting popularity, or even simply to get people to know about the product.
This is what your CTA is going to be so you need to understand which part of the story would be perfect for you to plug your CTA. Once you have understood the motive or the goal that you are trying to achieve, it would be much easier for you to find your targeted audience.
The story can have a message as the goal which the customers can walk away with. Generally, it is preferred that the CTA is plugged into the story indirectly.
It is done because if the users understand that the brand is using the story to build a better customer base or to promote their product, they might see through that. This will create suspicions towards the authenticity of the story, and that will backfire pretty hard.
Give ample time for your story title
The title plays an equally important role to the story. Your title should be captivating enough to catch the attention of the users, and at the same time, it must not be misleading as well.
If your title is not up to the mark, you will have a hard time getting readers. What is the point of giving your story 10 hours of input when nobody is going to read it!
Take this title from a brand story by QuickSprout, “How Spending $138,491.42 on Meals Made Me $992,000”.
Pretty interesting, right?
Another key important thing to note here is the “Figures”. Human eyes pay more attention to numbers, and that is what another thing that added up here. So, do make sure that you are giving ample attention to the blog story title.
Give a proper presentation
Of course, we are all on board with the idea that your story should go on your blog but is that all?
When you add a good story to your blog, it does the job, but sometimes it goes unnoticed due to lack of proper presentation.
If you go by the traditional blog layout, it will look less like your brand story and more like another blog post. You need to make your blog design stand out.
But, how do you do that?
One of the simplest ways to do that is by using the blog designer plugin. This tool will be your one-stop solution for your brand story. It comes with 40+ different blog layouts, and one of them is the Story Timeline Blog Template.
This template sums up your story in a linear timeline manner which makes it more understandable and more visually appealing. You can have a look at the demo here.
This point cannot be overlooked and if you want to make your brand story work, make sure that your presentation works as well.
Stories must relate to your audience
This one is actually an important one. Your stories should resonate with your customers, and they should feel a personal connection as well. If you think that your story is really unique and is not relatable to a wide audience, then you need to modify it.
The stories which do not have anything that any of your viewers can relate to then it will yield no results. Build a stronger story that many people have faced in their lives.
It does not have to generic, but in fact, it has to be broad.
For example, Insurance companies would use unwanted happening as a story, clothing brand would use how to look good while dressing up in their story or simply a telecom operator would use the “bringing people together” factor in their story. It is totally up to brands on how to make their personal connection to their viewers.
Use the power of visuals
A picture is worth more than a thousand words. This saying cannot get any better, and in this case, it totally adds up.
Images or graphics help the readers visualize your story. When your story is all words, it can get really boring and redundant. Make sure that you add an image after every part of the story to retain the interests of the readers.
Try to add videos, if possible, related to the story that will work as little treats in the middle of your story. But while doing this, make sure that your readers do not get distracted from the videos and rather should develop more interest in the story.
It can no longer be stressed how effective storytelling is when it comes to bringing more light to the brand but how you do it matters as well.
If you haven’t started storytelling on your blog, I would highly recommend it to do it right away. While you are at it, do keep the points mentioned above in mind and then craft the story you are going to offer to your readers.
It is not necessary that you will come out with the most amazing story out and that is totally fine. It might take some time and more practice, but even you can master the art of storytelling.
Make sure your story is actionable and you set your goals beforehand, or your story will turn out to be just some rambling content which does nothing.
What actions do you want your users to take after reading your story? Tell us by commenting it down below!