What’s The Scoop? How To Incorporate Stories Into Your Marketing Content

I remember writing a speech for an oratorical many years ago, about my experiences as a child. I followed the “hamburger method” to begin with an introduction of who I was, three main points of what made my experiences unique, and ended with a summary of how my experiences made me who I was.

After reading my own speech a couple times over, I realized that there was a critical flaw in my work – it was downright boring.

No matter how I delivered my story, I ultimately felt that my story wasn’t compelling enough. Why was that? Was I just a boring person overall? I really couldn’t understand why, but continued to work on my speech anyways.

No-one wants to read an essay. Tell a story, not a summary, in order to deliver a message that elicits reaction. Click To Tweet

Several days had passed, to the day of the oratorial. I delivered my speech clearly and precisely – I was happy with my performance, but something didn’t seem to “click.” It wasn’t until I heard the speeches from the other performers, that I realized what I had understood as a “story” wasn’t really a story at all – it was an essay.

Have you ever had a “mental block” where you felt unable to deliver a sentiment to your audience? Even if it’s a feeling that you truly believe in, if you don’t deliver your message properly, even your die-hard fans won’t appreciate your work.

Key Components To A Story

Turns out that the “hamburger method” is great in writing reports and academic summaries, but is horrible in delivering a message that aims to elicit a reaction.

Storytelling has been a key cultural component of humankind for thousands of years. Excellent storytelling has the ability to trigger emotion, generating reactions and – yes – eliciting a response to act.

There’s a difference between “telling a story” and “recounting an event” – which can be confusing for some. Use these guidelines to help you draft a compelling story to describe your business, service or product:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. How does your life, or their life, suck?
  3. What is your “big change” or revelation?
  4. How does life rock after your “big change” or revelation?

Stories are built on the back of change. Kings that lose it all, beggars that become rich through hard work, these are stories that are genuinely interesting because you’ve shown a change in a character over time.

This is the reason why the “Hero Cycle” works – why stories like Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker’s journey to discover who they are and overthrow the Dark Lord, are timeless.

Tell A Story To Improve User Engagement

Storytelling takes place in the business world as well as in pop culture and literature. You should be able to tell the story of your customer’s life before, and after, discovering your brand.

“Evelynn used to toil for hours scrubbing dishes for her family of four. Now, she throws everything in our dishwasher, pops in a packet, clicks “Run” and how she finally has the opportunity to spend time with her family instead of working for them.”

“Beatrice hated contacting three different people at the beginning of each month in order to get the right statements for her business. Now, she simply calls our number, once, to get everything she needs in one place. After using our service for three months, she’s been able to triple her profits.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2C or B2B business – we’re all in the business of marketing to people. In order to convince anyone – from your clients, to your boss, you need to be able to write a compelling story to communicate your point.

Personas Don’t Buy Products

One last piece of storytelling advice. Don’t market to personas.

Don't market to personas. A 'persona' will not buy your product. Click To Tweet

Have you ever used a “persona” to qualify your target audience? You might be familiar with using a qualifier such as this one:

“Our target audience are female millennials ages 17-23, located in the Lower Mainland, who work a part time job and don’t have time to spend time with their pet.”

It’s great that you’ve spent so much time identifying your core audience – but unfortunately, this statement won’t help you sell any products to your audience. Instead, use a story to help qualify your product’s benefits:

“Molly works a part-time at RC Burger and never gets time to spend with her pet, Doug. She feels really bad that she’s always late to come home, and Doug gets a little hungry and sad while she’s gone. Luckily for her, we’re a dog food delivery service that’s been helping to feed Doug and take him out for walks for the last two months. Now, not only is Molly able to focus on her job, but Doug is once again a happy dog!”

Storytelling Is Rough

It can be difficult to write a compelling story – which is why our copywriters often spread out blog articles and campaign copy throughout the month in order to bring a fresh perspective into each piece of content we deliver.

Do you agree with our storytelling tips? Or, do you need help crafting a compelling brand story of your own? Contact our marketing agency in downtown Vancouver, we’d be happy to help provide guidance.