Storytelling in 7 Steps
We learned in the last post that marketing stories aren’t that different from any type of story that you read in childhood or that your parents told you. They all have some components that make them exciting, as well as a purpose, goal, and moral. Storytelling in 7 steps will guide you through how to write your story.
Step 1: Keep Your Audience in Mind
All marketing starts with knowing your audience, as does storytelling. Every author knows their target audience prior to writing the first line of any story. What does your audience want to do, be, know? What are their fears? Who do they love? Can you pick a single audience member and write up a persona to describe them down to their age, sex, favorite books, top three problems and so forth? If not, time to get to work researching your audience.
Step 2: Collect & Share Data
One of the best ways to make your story stand out is to collect and share data. Capturing data and sharing it in an interesting way as part of your story can help add to the meaning of your story. Showing real numbers within the stories you craft can resonate with your audience in a way that truly gets results. If you share customer success stories for instance, including real numbers within those stories will really spark discussion and ignite your audience.
Step 3: Select a Frame
This is where truly knowing and understanding your audience can come into play. Understanding how your audience uses words, and the feelings they evoke can make the difference between crafting a successful story or creating an actual disaster. Knowing the worldview of your audience is imperative. In his blog and books, Seth Godin has often discussed the idea that people already have their worldviews and you’re not going to change them. Therefore, for your marketing story to be successful, it needs to feed into what they already believe and think.
Step 4: Choose Your Premise
Your premise is the angle of the story and the way you hook your reader in order to get your message across. It’s the entire point of your story. Your premise is to solve your audience’s problems with your product or service. Your subject, as well as your solution, all have a premise, and the entire story rests on the premise. Try writing down your premise in just one or two sentences before writing the entire story. You should be able to explain it easily. Think of the big Super Bowl Coke Commercial and the controversy it caused in some circles. The one where the characters are singing the national anthem in many languages.
The premise of the story was that we’re all one, and in this together as a melting pot — and of course, Coke brings us together. But, the question remains, if they chose the right audience (Super Bowl Watchers) for that particular commercial. Always check your premise and be sure it matches your intended audience.
Step 5: Create Visual Representations
Nothing is more important today in marketing than visuals. Your marketing stories are too important to not include a visual element. Marketing stories are a great way to build relationships with your audience, gives not only outsiders but insiders an entirely new way to view you as a company. Creating powerful visuals to go with your story is an essential part of ensuring that your story is told well. Doesn’t having visual elements to this blog post make it more interesting? Would this post be less interesting to read if it did not include something to look at?
Step 6: Shape Your Story
The worst thing you can do is be boring. If you understand your audience you’ll have a lot more success shaping stories that resonate with them. All marketing material that you have helps to shape your entire story. From bios of those who work for you to bios of your customers to social media bios for your company to blog posts and more — they all shape your story in some way. It’s up to you to ensure that you keep the same theme throughout all marketing materials including the marketing stories you create. Understanding and knowing your voice will help, as will understanding and knowing your audience. Building a solid story starts from day one so that you can express your business’s entire story from the ground up to your customers’ success stories today.
Step7: Get Feedback First
Before moving forward in marketing with stories it’s important that you seek feedback from others to ensure that you can get outside of your own bubble. Sometimes when we get so focused on something it’s hard to see it from the outside as the customer looking in. Ask some of your customers and colleagues for feedback on your marketing story so that you can make it better. You can also get some feedback before you even start by polling your audience on some of your ideas about stories. A simple poll such as “Would you rather learn about A or B” is a great way to figure out what your audience needs and wants.
If you follow this storytelling in 7 steps system you’ll be successful in creating effective marketing stories that get great results. Next blog post we are going to talk about common mistakes made in writing your story to avoid.