Why storytelling is important for you and your business

Continuing on the content marketing theme, I’ve been thinking more about the importance of storytelling.

The world of marketing is starting to realise that the ability to tell interesting and compelling stories about a business and brand is an increasingly important marketing tool.

Today’s consumers are becoming tired and skeptical of heavy handed marketing messages and sales pitches, and a more subtle approach is needed.

So how can you break down this consumer cynicism? In my previous post I looked at how content marketing is a way of attracting readers/customers by providing interesting, entertaining and informative content.

Rather than focusing on greater sales or leads, content marketing is about building trust and authority for you and your brand. You can do this through storytelling.

 

Why is storytelling so important?

People like to work and do business with people they know and trust. Stories about who you are and what your business does helps to build that trust.

At the same time stories help people relate to you more. They can get to know you better, and you can develop deeper emotional connections with your audience through storytelling.

It’s easy to talk about the product or service that you offer and how you offer it – but it doesn’t always mean that you’ll connect with your readers and customers.

I think because of my background in journalism, The idea of using stories to build a brand and connect with readers naturally appeals to me. It’s no surprise that the journalistic skill of telling stories has become so important in the role of content marketing.

 

What type of stories should you be telling your reader?

When I think about the stories that I love and appeal to me, I think about the characters. Characters you identify with and care about. This got me thinking that a business or a brand can also be a character in a story.

If you see yourself and your business as a character in an ongoing story, what are the stories you can tell your readers that will help them care and identify with you?

You can tell stories that are autobiographical. Tell you reader some of your back-story so they understand who you are and where you’ve come from. This is a great way to build deeper connections. I saw an example of this in the news only last week.

The Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup match against Tottenham. Thankfully doctors managed to save his life, but since the match he’s remained in intensive care and it could be a long road to a full recovery.

 

In the days after the match I started learning more about Muamba. He isn’t a high profile Premier League player and many people with no interest in the game wouldn’t know him.

I discovered how the 23 year old arrived in England aged 11 as a refugee from the Congo. He couldn’t speak English when he arrived but he learnt it from scratch. He did well at school, and is studying accountancy in his spare time away from football.

A player collapsing on the pitch is tragic enough, but hearing his story helped build that greater emotional connection I was talking about. He’s more than just a highly paid footballer, I know more about Fabrice Muamba the person.

 

Let people know who you are

Think about creating content where you can tell similar stories to help people get to know you and your business. You can talk about challenges you’ve faced both personally and professionally. How did you deal with those challenges?

Why not reveal something people don’t know about you or might be surprised to hear. You don’t need to reveal any dark secrets, but just something that will help people relate to you more. Talk about those events and experiences that have shaped you and your business. What have you learned, what can you teach other people from those experiences.

 

Remember a good story is something that people want to share and tell others. Whenever I read a good book or a story in a paper or magazine I want to tell people about it. Make sure your stories are sharable.

Today’s consumers what to know the story of the business or brand they’re buying into. By creating and developing those stories about you and your brand you’ll hopefully connect and inspire people.

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