Consumers and decision makers nowadays are becoming less prone to sales promises and advertising. A recent study suggests that through good storytelling, companies have the power to increase the value of a product or service by over 20 times. This is because people are more inclined to connect with brands’ stories and strive to relate to their core message.
Storytelling and marketing go hand in hand. But what is storytelling and how can you use it in your marketing activities?
What is storytelling?
Storytelling is an ancient art tackled in many forms, from the study of cultures to movie making, writing and branding. Brands use storytelling to connect with customers. It allows companies to tap into the basic human love of stories to build authentic connections.
The principles of storytelling are closely related with word of mouth marketing, social sharing, social media marketing and tap into the very essence of content marketing.
From video to Virtual Reality (VR) and social media, there are different mediums through which a brand can tell their story, and various ways to do so.
So, what are the elements of a story?
Regardless of the story you’re trying to tell, there are three elements that make up a story:
- Characters: Every story has to feature at least one character; that goes without saying. If your audience can put themselves in your character’s shoes, they’ll be more likely to follow through.
- Conflict: The conflict is the lesson or the moral of how the character overcomes a challenge. Conflict elicits emotions and connects the audience through relatable experiences.
- Resolution: Every good story has an end, yet it doesn’t always have to be a good one. Your resolution should wrap up the story and leave your audience with a call-to-action.
Just like GoDaddy’s “Take your idea online” ad. The characters in the ad are craftsmen who want to create an online identity for their small business.
How can they do that? They can use GoDaddy’s Website Builder to take their idea online. The call to action at the end of the ad is to visit GoDaddy’s website and try the tool for free.
You can watch the full ad below:
And what makes a story good?
There are countless stories out there, but what makes one story stand out and resonate with the readers more than the others?
- Entertaining: A story needs to keep the reader engaged and interested.
- Educational: Good stories spark curiosity and add to the reader’s knowledge.
- Relatable and emotional: They are relatable to readers and tap into emotions and experiences that most people undergo.
- Memorable: Whether through inspiration, scandal, or humor, good stories stick in the reader’s mind.
How can brands use storytelling?
Storytelling has become a crucial component of the most successful marketing campaigns, as it sets apart vibrant brands from simple businesses.
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin group, says:
“Brand storytelling is a great way to get your point across, differentiate your brand, and work out new ideas. Today, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur or leader, you also have to be a storyteller.”
The most affordable way for brands to tell their stories is by writing them in the form of articles, infographics or blog posts.
Brands can also tell their stories verbally through podcasts, or digitally through videos, animations, interactive stories, and even games.
You can check examples of stories in GoDaddy’s blog, where we tell our customers’ inspiring success stories both digitally through Q&A videos that you can also watch on our YouTube channel and written in the form of articles.
Following a process for storytelling will help you know where to start and how to develop your idea, as well as how to perfect it over time.
As an organization or brand, most likely you’ll have a lot of facts and messages to get across in one story. How do you know where to begin?
You can start by answering these questions…
1. Who is your audience?
Who wants to hear your story? Who is your target audience? In order to create a compelling story, you need to understand who your readers and whom you’re targeting, and then draft your story accordingly.
Do some research on your target market and define your customer’s persona. This process will help you with planning the story.
2. What message do you want to convey?
Whether your story is going to be told through a blog post, a podcast, social media campaign or a YouTube video, it should have a core message.
Do you want to sell a product? Do you want to raise funds? Do you want to review a tool? What is the point of your story?
To help define your message, try to summarize your story in six to ten words. If you can’t do that, you don’t have a core message.
3. What is your call to action?
What exactly do you want your readers to do after reading? Do you want them to donate money? Subscribe to your newsletter? Do you need them to buy a product? Or try a tool?
Define your call-to-action and don’t forget to add it at the end of your story.
4. What kind of story are you going to tell?
Not all stories are similar. Do you want to tell a funny story? Maybe an emotional one? Ask yourself: How do I want my audience to feel or react?
After you’ve decided on your core message, audience, and your call-to-action, then it’s time to start creating your story…
Market your story
Now that you have your story ready, don’t forget to share it and promote it. Just like any piece of content, creating it is the first step, and then you’ll need to share it with your audience and customers for your message to spread.
You can share your written story as a blog post on your Facebook account then promote it. Or, you can share your digital story as a video on YouTube. The options are unlimited and the more places you share your story, the more engagement you might expect from your audience.
In this article, we’ve highlighted the importance of storytelling, pointed out what makes a story good and how you can use the art of storytelling in your marketing efforts. Now it’s time to put your pen to paper and start crafting your story.