What Storytelling is and is Not

As Annette Simmons once said “If you wish to influence an individual or a group to embrace a particular value in their daily lives, tell them a compelling story.”

Story telling is a powerful tool for marketing your business. However, be aware, I want to be crystal clear about what I am advocating and what I am not advocating. Marketing with stories is not license to lie, fabricate, or trick your audience. When you think of stories, instead of imagining fiction, or a used car salesman try to imagine instead the stories your Mom, Dad, or favorite uncle told you about their young life. Sure, most of the time the story was designed to keep you from making their mistakes, but they were true, honest, and actually did the job.

Marketing with stories isn’t that different. It’s about crafting realistic stories that impart the knowledge on your audience that they need to make a decision to solve their problems. It’s also about creating relatable content, surprising and delighting your audience, all while being realistic and truthful. It’s about letting your audience get to know you on a whole new level, breaking down boundaries, and creating brand loyalty with your audience that cannot be matched with other marketing methods.

You want your audience to laugh, cry or jump for joy that they’ve finally found what they need and your story should easily accomplish that. Your marketing stories can be the difference between your brand and other brand that promises two for one if you buy widget A. Your story can compel your audience to take the leap to solve their problems without any false sales tactics or emotional blackmail.

At its core, marketing with stories is about making a connection with your audience. After all, the stories you create are about them. That’s right, the stories you write will be about your audience and will address their concerns, their needs, their pain points, and how your product or service will fix those issues. Remember nothing has changed about basic marketing. It’s still about your audience, and it’s still benefits over features. As harsh as it may sound to you, no one cares about anything other than what’s in it for them, and how your product or service solves their problem. Price is far down on the list, as are the many features you are excited to tell them about.

Marketing with stories gives you a good way to make it about your audience, focusing on benefits over features by telling your audience’s story in a new, interesting and compelling way. By telling stories about your audience and customers you tell your audience exactly what they want to hear, and don’t make the mistake of telling them things they don’t want to hear. Think about it, when Uncle Bob tells the story about TPing his arch enemies house and getting arrested for vandalism remember, it’s wasn’t really about that.

It was about telling you what not to do, and teaching you about the consequences that actions carry by sharing his story in hopes you could learn from his mistakes. But, the only way to get you to listen was to try to make the story humorous and exciting so you could listen to the end and get the moral of the story. Did you still get the message? Yes. Of course.

Every story you tell has to include some very specific elements for it to work. Next post I’m going to tell you what your stories need to include, and what they always need to have in order to get the results you want when marketing with stories.




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