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4 Tips to Successful Business Storytelling

This story originally appeared on PR Newswire's Small Business PR Toolkit

Storytelling is one of the oldest and most powerful ways to embed a message into the memory of an individual. Also one of the most influential means of marketing, storytelling allows a business to make personal connections with its audience and increases customer retention as people identify with the brand. By incorporating storytelling into their content marketing strategy effectively, companies are able to enhance revenue as well as brand loyalty.

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For efficient storytelling for your business, follow these steps:

  • Ensure the topic is relevant to your target audience.
  • Follow story structure properly.
  • Stimulate an emotional response.
  • Present stories through various means and platforms.

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In addition, it’s important to maintain brand consistency and honesty so that your audience will trust your business and feel confident in your product or services. To achieve all of these objectives, first break down each goal:

Create Content on a Pertinent Topic

Through storytelling, you are making the product unique to your brand and specifically targeting your consumers, which is critical given the shift toward personalized marketing. Customers want to feel as though products and messages were created specifically for them. In fact, according to The Content Council, 61 percent of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content.

Include All Components of the Story

While stories can be expressed through different mediums, they should always contain key elements that follow classic storytelling structure so the story and its underlying message are delivered properly. Your narrative should have a beginning, event or problem and then a conclusion. Additionally, include at least one likeable character who the audience can identify with in order to increase their investment in the outcome of the story.

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Trigger Emotion

Creating content that provokes an emotional response, whether positive or negative, will raise the likeliness that your consumers will both remember the story and your company as well as spread the story to others. For example, recently a variety of businesses tugged at the emotions of viewers during the Super Bowl – from Coca-Cola’s “#MakeItHappy” to Nationwide Insurance’s “Make Safe Happen,” these brand commercials proved to be memorable and continue to be a topic of discussion. Ideally by building an emotional connection with your audience, it becomes easier to motivate them to achieve your goal.

Ensure Story Visibility

For the most effective storytelling, utilize a variety mediums and platforms, and present the content multiple ways. You can promote your stories across social media, your business website, blogs and more. Using a mix of video, images and text will provide the most dynamic user experience and encourage interactive responses from your audience. Ultimately, the goal is to reach as many target viewers as possible through your storytelling.

As you complete the process of formulating and introducing your story, make you sure determine:

  • Your intended brand image.
  • The end goal of your storytelling, whether the intent is for viewers to buy a product or service, research a topic or simply view your business as a trusted source.
  • The emotion you want to trigger, from happiness or humor to worry.
  • The ways in which you are going to present the story to your audience.

Psychology Today explains that neuro-imagery shows consumers primarily use emotions, not facts and information, when evaluating brands, which is why it’s critical for businesses to use storytelling throughout their content marketing. From posting a simple image that tells a story to creating a narrative text, you can connect with your target audience and create a positive image for your brand.

Written by Phillip Thune, CEO of Textbroker, which he joined in 2010.

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