Calling All Marketers: Picture Your Favorite Storytellers, Now Become Them

shutterstock_110537546Think of the last story you told. Was it about your recent vacation to St. Lucia? That embarrassing moment in a recent corporate meeting? Your kid’s game-winning shot during his soccer tournament? Chances are that no matter the story you told, it was rich with detail, emotion and descriptors.

That’s because when we tell our personal stories, we often speak from the heart—not pausing to consider the narrative, the flow and the descriptors. It just comes naturally. And what results are oftentimes some of the best, most engaging and truly organic stories that come from a place of honesty and from a desire to share our experiences with others.

So then why do we struggle so much when it comes to telling the stories of our own brands? Why are we constantly left staring at the screen and wishing that our blogs, white papers, case studies and product sheets would write themselves?

The truth is you are not alone when it comes to this road block. In fact, while 73 percent of B2B companies are producing more content then they did one year ago, 47 percent of marketers struggle with creating the kind of content that engages; 38 percent grapple with producing a variety of content; and 33 percent are unsure of how to measure content effectiveness. The numbers are nearly identical for B2C companies, according to Content Marketing Institute’s annual content marketing benchmark reports.

As marketers, we all too often struggle with telling our brand’s story. We don’t know where to begin, what facts we can use to substantiate our claims and what tone will effectively drive leads and engagement. We are completely lost when it comes to how long blogs should be and whether we can use quotes in our white papers. Simply put, we are over thinking the very nature of storytelling.

What makes our personal stories so powerful is the fact that they originate from a place of complete transparency and a desire to share. But as marketers, we are so tasked with focusing on spin, positioning and image that we very often lose sight of the fact that our stories have to be true—true to ourselves, our company and our value proposition.

So how can we take our experience with personal storytelling to tell the tales of our brands better? Let’s take a look:

  • Find The Story That Drives Emotion: The next time you tell a personal account, focus on your delivery. For example, does a big ole’ dopey smile spread across your face as you get closer to the punch line? Do you notice that your voice is characterized by inflections and exclamation? These hidden clues suggest that you find your story compelling and impactful. As a marketer, you need to search for the same type of story for your company. Find the narrative that gets you excited about blogging… the corporate chapter you know will get comments. Treat your brand stories like your personal ones, striving to find stories suitable for your audience and worthy of a positive reaction.
  • Prioritize Coloring and Detailing: We’ve all been there—in the presence of the poor storyteller who forgets to paint a picture and instead gives a hasty recap. Likewise, we’ve all been in the company of the incredible narrator, the individual who finds a way to marry creativity with substance for a truly compelling account. When it comes to storytelling about your brand, strive to emulate your favorite storyteller. Be the brand that emerges as the best storyteller. Keep your tales rich with color, detail and descriptors and remember to show, not tell.
  • Give Your Story Legs: Equipping customers with social currency—or things to talk about in regards to your brand—is the key to remaining relevant and differentiated. Today’s consumers are more likely to trust your brand if their friends recommend it than if they see a billboard advertisement. In fact, 64 percent of marketing professionals feel word-of-mouth marketing is more effective than traditional strategies. There is no better way to generate word of mouth than to have written assets worthy of sharing. So give your story legs. Ensure it has sufficient shelf life and arm your readers with social currency to evangelize on behalf of your brand.

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