You’ve probably heard about the value of storytelling. With the right kind of story, you can engage your listeners and readers, create memorable content, and communicate a message that resonates emotionally.
So how can you go wrong?
(1) Telling a story with a fuzzy message.
Your story needs to support your marketing objective in some way: building your brand, giving you more credibility, demonstrating why you’re the best resource, or simply illustrating a concept that’s hard to explain. Yet many people hear, “You need a story,” so they take what they’ve got.
A famous marketing guru I’ll call “Louise” posted a story about her tough childhood on the streets, running away from home, with some graphic detail. Now, she points out, she’s made the transition to being a successful businesswoman.
Louise was a business coach. She might tell this story to show she’s human, but her audience probably was more interested in how she could help them make money. If she’d been a life coach, working with traumatized people, the story would have set her up as a role model.
Louise has coached many clients to success. She can use storytelling to illustrate how well she helps others. (Louise was no dummy. She eventually removed that story from her website.)
(2) Telling a time-worn rags to riches story.
“Harry” tried to present a before and after contrast.
“I was really broke about three years ago,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I’d been working to grow my business and was just bringing in a few hundred dollars a month. Then somebody taught me the Grow Big system. Within six months…
Alas, many of Harry’s listeners remembered him from three years ago. (I certainly did!) Far from being broke, Harry had just sold a business at a substantial profit and his new business was taking off — fast!
Harry left out a few facts. For example, his good friend Sam had promoted Harry to a list with 20,000 responsive subscribers.
More importantly, rags to riches stories are becoming all too common. As a reader, you’re like the teacher who hears, “My grandmother died” over and over during exam week.
Harry might say something like, “I was doing fabulously well. The only problem is, I got married and had a child and a dog. Now I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t even work long hours (my wife felt I should share dog-walking duty).
“So I found a new way to transform my business so I work fewer hours and still enjoy a great lifestyle. It took a while because I wasn’t known. I couldn’t leverage my fame from my former businesses… “
(3) Thinking you need a BIG story.
You can introduce storylines anywhere in your content; you can even have multiple stories. For instance, here’s a story I heard on a teleseminar from a good guy “Steve” a few months ago:
“I had just introduced a new product. Nobody was buying. Now, I’m a good copywriter and this doesn’t usually happen. So I started tweaking, beginning with the headline. Sure enough, once I changed the headline… “
I haven’t forgotten that story. I was reassured that Steve had the same challenges I do. He made his point: Your headline can be a game-changer and he knows how to make them win.
Learn more about storytelling with this free download: 3 Steps To Brand Successfully With Stories.