The ancient technique of storytelling has, in recent years, been granted the joy of being more than just a pass time activity at home or in social places. We are learning to acknowledge the value of a good story in a professional setting.
As a lover of stories and a professional storyteller, I am ever delighted to show business professionals how to integrate storytelling into their marketing. We are all hard-wired to connect with stories, but not everyone does a good job telling their story. It’s a common hurdle for many entrepreneurs (even those who’ve been in business for many years), a problem that can easily be solved by answering the questions I will be posing in this article.
How to avoid being obnoxious, braggish, or even spammy as you share your story:
The story of your brand ought to be engaging and relatable. You don’t need to resonate with everyone, but you do need to draw in the attention of your ideal audience.
Your dream client must feel emotionally connected to you if you want them to justify spending a significant sum for your offer. He or she must feel as though she’s gone through a journey of transformation as you share your story.
To accomplish that you need clarity, focus, and purpose.
You also need a roadmap that can help you craft something meaningful that touches on all the critical aspects. Here are seven questions to ask yourself as you perfect your story.
#1. How would you like the audience to feel as a result of hearing your story?
Be very clear on the emotions you wish to evoke from your audience with every story you share. The more emotional resonance you have with an audience, the more impactful your content will be, which will inevitably help you reach your objective.
#2. What is the primary objective of the story, and what action do you want the audience to take or what shift in thinking do you want to evoke by the end of it?
This question aligns perfectly with the first one. You must have a clearly defined objective that you wish to reach. Each piece of content you create, each story you tell online, whether it’s a personal story or business story for branding, must be deeply rooted in a purpose that serves your overall mission.
It’s time to stop doing things just because others are doing them too. Figure out what you want to accomplish with your storytelling, and set a clear intention of the actions you’d like the audience to take as a result.
#3. Why should your ideal audience pay attention to this story?
Most entrepreneurs and marketers continue to get this wrong. They focus too much on their own needs and answering the questions above, and spend little to no time thinking from the perspective of their audience. Don’t make the same mistake, because if you skip over this part, your story will simply come across as being salesy, hyperbolized, and self-serving.
#4. What is the context of your story? Give us a background understanding
This is where you include the where and when of your story. Context is everything in today’s noisy world. It helps your audience relate more to the story being told, and invites them to participate in the unfolding story.
Who is the hero of your story and what do they want? What was the problem or challenge they were facing, and where was the hidden opportunity in this?
#5. What was the struggle and who was the villain?
Without a good conflict, you have no good story. There was a time when I wasn’t too sure about this, but after extensive research and studying storytelling, I can assure you, conflict and struggle make the game of life and the act of storytelling more thrilling.
The eternal optimist in me would rather have stories without conflict, but I know better now. If I hadn’t been born in the heart of poverty in an African slum with no hope of a bright future, my story brand wouldn’t be as intriguing to those I serve.
When I present my services to rich businessmen here on the European Riviera and I align my values, ability to execute and produce results with the fact that I was born in chaos and know how to overcome great adversity, my story always seems to connect more deeply and become more memorable to my clients. You need to start digging through your messes and mistakes in life and business, because there’s a powerful message in there that will help your ideal audiences respond positively.
#6. How did it all end, and how are things different now as a result?
This is where you get to offer a resolution and demonstrate the transformation that took place as a result of going through that journey you just shared. Did the hero in your story transform? If so, share what the new world looks like, and make sure it helps your audience envision how much better their life will be too as a result of working with you.
#7. What are some worthy lessons that were learned?
In this part of your storytelling exercise, you want to plainly state out the lessons learned that you wish to impart to your audience. Be authoritative as you share the lessons and offer your suggestions on what their next step forward ought to be should they desire to experience the same results you’ve demonstrated through the story.
In other words, if they too want to rise above obstacles and succeed, what needs to happen next? For example. I usually finish off with the following statement.
Here’s what I think your next best step would be…
While storytelling is a useful technique, it does require some careful thought and structure for it to produce a desired reaction from the audience. Taking the time to figure out what you want the audience to get out of that experience, how you want them to feel, what emotions you want to evoke, the opportunity you wish them to embrace, as well as the next best step for them are some of the key ingredients necessary for success.
As a business owner, your storytelling isn’t just for entertainment; it’s meant to help you nurture your relationship with a potential client and elicit an action that benefits both of you. Before investing any more cash on social media marketing, Public Relations (PR), or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services, work on crafting a story that will resonate with your ideal audience.