Gone are the days of aggressive sales copy (or so they should be), Storytelling is the antidote to scare tactics or hyperbole (‘This frying pan will literally save your life in 10 awe-inspiring ways!’). It’s more gentle, yet still powerful — focusing on sharing real-life emotions and connections.
Storytelling helps to make your market more emotionally invested in your brand. It creates an identity for your brand and shares this through stories. This basically allows your customers to form a personal connection with your brand, which means they’re more likely to trust you, buy your products and remain loyal customers.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur and you want to start using storytelling in your marketing, it can be difficult to know where to start. But if you’re struggling, don’t worry — here are some ideas for stories you can tell in your marketing…
The most obvious story that a business can start with — and one that is normally included on an ’About Us’ page. Where did it all begin? How did your business get started in the first place?
Whether it was round a table at a bar, in your spare bedroom, or by the watercooler at your old job — your audience want to know.
Origin stories are all about the people behind the business. They’re a great way on humanizing your brand and showing that there are real people behind the computer screens.
If you’re quite a big company by now, it’s particularly good for your consumers to read about your humble beginnings. Write about your roots — how you grew from two best friends with a great idea to a successful business with hundreds of staff (or whatever your story might be!).
There’s a fascinating concept that there are fundamentally only seven types of stories in the world — check out this post to see which big brands fit into which story types.
What are your brand values? How and why were your values chosen?
Telling your consumers about your values as a brand helps them to decide if their values align, and therefore how much they can identify with you.
Identifying with a brand is important to consumers: it establishes trust and empathy, and makes them feel more connected to you. It also creates a sense of community with other consumers, meaning your customers are more likely to talk about you and promote your brand to other people.
Stories about your values are great — but make sure they’re meaningful, memorable and clear.
If your values include charity work or donations, then talk about the work you do, and how your brand helps the wider community or those in need. If some of your proceeds go to worthy causes, talk about how the money is spent and what it goes towards.
Be proud of your work — the more you tell your story, the more people will read it and want to contribute to your cause.
What made you decide to make and/or sell your product? How did you come up with your concept?
There could be all sorts of reasons behind your product’s creation. It could be that you found a solution to a problem that no one had thought of yet. Or maybe you had a eureka moment in your own life that you realised you could share with others?
Perhaps you were annoyed with how the big brands were charging extortionate prices for a product or service, when you knew you could do it for way less.
Or maybe you want to make the world a better place with your product by helping those in need or contributing to environmental causes?
Share this with your readers: explain how your product came into existence. You can make this story inspirational, funny, thought-provoking — it’s up to you.
Your product should never be the main character in your story. Instead, talk about how it fixes a problem, or how it is helping people; how it is used for a greater good.
It’s about more than just material goods; your stories needs to be about real people, real lives, and connections. How does your product impact lives?
It might sounds weird, but stories about any failures your business has had are good to tell. These types of story show how you’ve overcome obstacles, learnt from your mistakes, and shows resilience.
Failure stories are good if you’ve had a particularly public stumbling block. They’re also beneficial if you’re undergoing a rebrand — perhaps you’re unhappy with how your website looks, or maybe you’ve bought a website for sale that needs rejuvenating. You can talk about how your business was previously flagging, and how you’ve turned it around.
Document your hard work and effort for your audience so that they can see the journey you’ve gone on. Keep a track of progress and stats too, in case you want to do a ‘before and after’!
Failure stories show how your perception has changed and how you’re willing to embrace this new knowledge and learn from it.
They’re redemption stories: they show change, and make your business more human and more relatable. So when you earn your successes, your audience will be proud and support your achievements.
Behind the scenes stories are always fun to tell. You can show your audience what happens behind the official photos and posts — the backend of the business.
This could be what your office looks like, or what a typical day at your desk entails. You can introduce or interview your staff or colleagues, by sharing their personal stories and how they came to join the company. You can even show the work that goes into creating a product, or show the product’s journey from beginning to end. The possibilities are endless!
Behind the scenes stories are great to tell because they make your reader feel like they’re in on a secret; like you’ve given them valuable private information.
They also allow your market to get to know the friendly faces behind your brand, rather than leaving you a faceless corporation.
Don’t be afraid to tell stories. They help to humanize your company, and allow you to reach out to your readers and engage with them. Through stories you can forge long-lasting, meaningful relationships.
As you can see, there are a number of different stories you can tell in your marketing. You’re probably already telling some of these anyway, without even realizing it! The key is to be honest and human, but it’s up to you which routes you go down. You can also decide which medium you want to tell your story — through video, photos, or content.
At the end of the day, storytelling isn’t a gimmick — it’s about sharing real connections, emotions and imagination.
Article Written by Kayleigh Alexandra. Kayleigh is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site that donates all of its web revenue to charities supporting new startups, entrepreneurs, and other worthy causes. Visit the blog for inspiring stories and the latest insights from top marketing experts. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.