Feelings have a critical role in the way customers are influenced.
- David Freemantle
Do you use stories to convey your marketing messages? How about your business? Are you interested in how to create a better story for your marketing messages? If so, you will want to check out these tips.
Stories are a very integral part of being persuasive. If you want to persuade your customers and create a memorable experience at the same time, you must master storytelling. We noted this key fact, in our earlier blog:
Remarkable Stories Connect Emotionally.
The reason that stories (when told well) are so appealing is that you can transport customers into the story and give your message more meaning. Here are nine ways to create a better story:
Engage the audience
Stories, when properly practiced, pull people into a dialogue. It’s about engagement and interaction. The audience is just as an active a participant as the storyteller.
Make the audience care
Whenever I am fortunate enough to see and listen to remarkable stories being told “live” in action, I am struck by their power to pull listeners in, much like a gravitational force that’s impossible to resist.
The best way to pull your audience in is to make them care … emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically. But how do you make the audience care? This is the most fundamental question of all.
There is no single answer. One important answer is having empathy for your audience and trying to craft your story and design your content always with the audience in mind.
Stories in all their many forms are never just about transferring information alone. We are emotional beings, like it or not, and to make the audience care enough to listen to you, you have to evoke in them some emotion.
Make a promise
Very early on you need to get the audience to believe that this story is going to go somewhere, that it will be worth their time. The secret is a well-told promise about the upcoming story.
Create some curiosity
You don’t have to beat people over the head with your message, nor do you need always to make your message painfully obvious. This is not about being vague or unclear, but it is about letting the audience work on their own a little to figure things out … creating some curiosity.
That’s one of your jobs as a storyteller. We’re born problem solvers. We’re compelled to deduce and to deduct because that’s what we do in real life. It’s this well-organized absence of information that draws us in.
The story is about change
We’re all learning all the time. And that’s why change is fundamental in story… life is never static. Think of change in two ways.
First, the content of every good presentation or story addresses a change or some kind.
Second, an effective presentation or a story told well will create a change in the audience. Don’t let the only change you create be in your audience the change from wakefulness to sleep.
In a great story, the audience wants to know what happens next and most of all how it all concludes. In an explanatory narrative, a series of actions can establish a narrative flow and the sense of journey that is created is one form of anticipation of what comes next.
Have a clear theme
A strong theme is always running through a well-told story, The theme is often not stated directly in the story, but it is the essence or the core idea at the root of the story.
A clear sense of your theme or controlling idea keeps you from trying to throw too many ideas into one story.
Stimulate a sense of wonder
A good story is a mix of logic, data, emotion, and inspiration. We usually do fine with the logic and data part, but fail on the emotional and inspirational end. Certainly leaders and educators need to infuse a bit of wonder into their talks that inspire people to make a change. Most importantly, a good story should not end when the speaker sits down, or the class comes to an end.
Draw on your experiences
Where do you find material for storytelling? Draw from your experiences and look inside yourself. Rely on what you know… draw from it. Capture a thought, a truth from your experience, and express values from deep down in your core.
Stories are a great means for sharing and interpreting experiences, and great experiences have this innate ability to change the way in which we view our world.
Mike Schoultz is a digital marketing and customer service expert. With 48 years of business experience, he consults on and writes about topics to help improve the performance of small business. Find him on G+, Facebook, Twitter, Digital Spark Marketing, and LinkedIn.