If you are human, you are a natural storyteller. Humanity’s preferred way to transmit information is through stories; from cave paintings to your Twitter feed. Stories can be long or short, but they provoke deep emotional connections within the listener. Science has proven that when humans listen to stories, the brain floods with dopamine to etch the story deeply onto the listener’s memory banks
Storytelling can be deceptively hard. Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to begin. Here are our top tips to tease out a winning tale.
Be an active listener.
Keep your ears open for amazing things happening at your brand. Consider yourself a beat reporter for your brand. Social media is a great opportunity for listening and a way to understand your audience, via Facebook Insights, hashtag tracking and engaging with commenters. Other ways to listen include internal storytelling amongst team members, consulting with your customer service personnel and following industry news sources.
Remember what is interesting.
All great stories have conflict and unpleasantness at the core – that’s what makes the story interesting. It’s awkward, especially in a marketing context, since you always want to lead with your best side. That said, you will win sympathy from your listener. Don’t worry – your story will redeem you.
Be good at your chosen medium. Actually, be great.
If you’re not a writer, hire a writer. Coca-Cola just hired a whole newsroom. Go out and find a great video producer, hire a talented photographer and don’t do the graphic design yourself. Ensure your content is professional. Be ready to compete with all the other sources of content out there.
Get to the point.
Storytelling will engage your audience, but their attention is always going to be limited. Your story is not as interesting to them as it is to you. What is the purpose of your story? Where is the crucial make-or-break moment? Cut all extraneous information to sharpen your emotional impact.
Make storytelling a habit
You know what’s better than one story? A whole bunch of stories. One short story can hone your brand in the minds of your consumers; but a steady stream of addictive content means pageviews and customer engagement. Repeat customers are going to become brand evangelists. Regular storytelling can refresh your brand and introduce you to new audiences.
At Echo, stories are our business, but we also think they are everyone’s business. Brands that tell great stories have stronger brands, can charge higher prices, attract more talented employees and are better suited for today’s creative economy. You’ve got a great story – everyone does.
Photo by Steve Czajka.