Becoming a great corporate storyteller allows you to avoid the trap of simply churning out content stuffed with keywords to fill a space on your blog. If you don’t care about what you are publishing, how can you expect your readers to engage with it?
People who come to your blog do not want to read a thinly veiled advertisement for your products. They don’t believe advertisements. According to Forrester Research, only 23 percent of consumers trust ads on TV and 20 percent trust ads in magazines or on the radio. Instead, consumers want you to share your knowledge and expertise with them.
What is a corporate storyteller?
When we hear the word “storytelling,” it is natural to think of narrative fiction rather than online content. The elements are the same whether you are writing your magnum opus or crafting a piece of quality content for your website. The distinction between a bestselling author and a corporate storyteller is becoming blurred. All successful stories have five common features:
- The Hero – The key player of your story.
- Rising Action – These are the small events that happen along the way leading to the climax.
- Climax – This is the big, final event. The hero makes a decision in response to an action.
- Falling Action – This is the action after the climax.
- A Great Ending – Every story needs a conclusion. It often includes the reflection of the hero about what he/she has learned from the events in the story.
How does this apply to using stories to market your business?
If you look at a great blog post, you will find the same elements. Think about your own content – who is the hero? It could be you, your company or your customer. Think about the stories in your life and what you have learned from them – whether they come from your employees, your children, or your pets.
The difference between narrative storytelling and business storytelling is the intent. Business or corporate storytelling has a “point” to the story that the teller is weaving into the telling for his/her own purposes beyond entertainment.
Perhaps you are using an anecdote about your child’s recent tantrums to make a point about office politics. Or, you can see parallels in your dog’s resistance to getting bathed to many humans’ reluctance for change, even though it is for the good of the animal/humans. Weave your experiences into stories that lead your audience to a conclusion you want to draw.
One of the six ways that Hubspot suggests for using stories to market your business is to make your content personal. Try being your own hero! If you are fully engaged with your topic it will come through in your writing, and your reader will feel the connection. Think about how the topic affects you personally and write about why it is important to you. Your reader wants to be engaged, and if you are passionate about your story, then she will be, too.
When you insert yourself in the role of the hero, you will find that everything else falls into place. The rising action will become the events that led you to discussing the topic, and the climax will be the action you took to resolve the issue. Just be sure to connect the dots with a conclusion that ties your point to the purpose of the story.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when using stories to market your business is pretending to be perfect. Nobody is perfect, and your potential clients know that. They will have a great deal more respect for you if you can admit to your own mistakes. In fact, the best stories are about mistakes you have made in your life or business and what you have learned from them. Showing your vulnerability will bring you a natural credibility that will earn the trust of your reader.
Social media and the corporate storyteller
While blogging IS social media, it includes more than blogging. Content marketing is not all about blogging, so being a great corporate storyteller is also important when it comes to using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Of course you can (and should) repost links from your blog to these sites, but you can do more on these sites to tell stories, too. Images and video are excellent tools to use that allow you to post content in an abbreviated format. With YouTube, you can upload short videos of customers or employees – or even yourself – telling great stories. Then repost the links to other social media sites.
Use Instagram to take and show photos directly to Facebook or Twitter. Pinterest was made for showcasing photos that tell your business story.
Stories are at the heart of human relationships, and they bring people and ideas together. If you are (or can hire) a great corporate storyteller, you can create a successful content marketing plan with storytelling at its heart.