How to Use Storytelling in Your Business
“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (2012)
As marketers, we know that storytelling is a key component of effective content marketing. But do we really understand how it works? Let’s take a look at some of the science behind why stories are such powerful tools.
You And Your Business Need A Storyteller
We all love a good story. There’s nothing that engages us and holds our attention quite like a well-told story.
We humans are empathic creatures. And as such, we respond to stories because they cultivate emotion and a sense of togetherness — a connection. They make us feel like we’re part of something bigger than ourselves. This is why you and your business need to get into a storytelling mindset to build your brand and support your communications. You should never forget the power of stories to engage audiences and drive action. By focusing in your website content and marketing copywriting on a drama or challenge that your audiences faces, you stand a chance of engaging with them in a way they will understand. They will want to learn more about what you have to offer.
I can help you to use this effect to supercharge your marketing efforts by creating more engaging and educational content through storytelling, rather than simply stating the features and benefits of a product or a service.
The Storyteller’s Secret Weapon: The Power of Narrative
I can help you write a narrative of your company’s history. Storytelling can reveal when and why your company started.
- It can allow you to talk about the founder’s vision
- It can explain the evolution of your company from inception to the present
- It can outline the company’s values and ultimate goal
The Storyteller’s Toolkit: How to Create a Successful Brand Story
I can tell your stories through the following media:
- Articles & Blog Posts
- Social Media Copy
- Book & eBook Writing
- Business Profiles/ Bios
- Technical Manuals
- Video tutorial scripts
- YouTube product review scripts
- Podcast scripts
- eLearning modules
- eLearning Content Development
- Podcast writing
- Technical Writing
- Website Copy
- Website Content Writing
- Press Releases
Stories Are One of Humanity’s Greatest Inventions
My storytelling will engage your customers and help you become a storytelling brand.
“Those who tell the stories rule society.”Plato
I remember my early school years in England, for instance, and how much I used to look forward to classes in my form room on Friday afternoon with my favourite teacher. She’d set aside the late Friday afternoon class for stories: sometimes she’d read chapters from a novel or episodes from classical Greek myths or from Malory’s Morte d’Arthur to us. And then there were the other times when she’d play for us BBC Radio broadcasts produced especially for schools; there were filled with songs, storytelling, poems, and the sounds and textures of distant places and times.
One broadcast in particular that stayed in my mind was the dramatized story of a sailor named Lieutenant Cockatoo. Cockatoo was an arrogant dandy who killed an albatross and thereby doomed his ship’s entire crew. I remember a wistful sort of sea shanty from the tale:
Cockatoo! Cockatoo! Come aboard Cockatoo, We’re expecting you now Cockatoo, Cockatoo, Come aboard Cockatoo…
And there was a jaunty narrative song called “The Albatross”:
No, no! said the Captain, This won’t do, When he first clapped eyes On Lieutenant Cockatoo, With the ribbons in his hair, And his easy chair, The only ropes he’ll pull Are at the Admiralty!”
Of course, I would later recognise the story of the ill-fated Cockatoo as a spirited update of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. But regardless of the provenance of this children’s opera, the memory of it remains significant for me because of its evocation, in my childhood imagination, of a distant historical period and of characters that seemed exotic and yet strangely familiar to me. The programme, just like the stories that my favourite teacher told, had fed my appetite for history, stories, and music, but more importantly perhaps, it had stoked within me an awareness of a strange and much wider world of experiences out there beyond the confines of school. And beneath the strangeness of this world I could also recognise aspects of my own foibles within the figure of the extravagant and unthinking Lieutenant Cockatoo.
Why are we so compelled to tell stories?
Stories are the anecdotes we tell our friends, the poems we read, songs, movements, pictures, plays, marketing copy, and even dad jokes. People who create stories use many different mediums – movies, dance, animation, sign language, and braille to share their stories with others.
Stories are very powerful. They can make us laugh. They can make us cry. They change the way we think and act. We use nursery rhymes and fairy tales to teach our children. Religions and philosophical systems are based on allegories contained in stories. And thanks to stories, governments have been overthrown, revolutions have taken place, and movements have been born.
Stories are one of the most powerful ways to communicate. They engage us emotionally, intellectually, and even physically. But what makes them so special? Read on to discover why stories work so well.
How to Craft an Effective Story
A group of neuroscientists at Princeton University recently studied this question.
When we hear facts, they noticed, the data processing centres in our brains are activated, but when we hear stories, the stories activate the sensory centres in our brains. The neuroscientists found that when people listen to a well-told story, the exact same areas of the brain light up on an MRI in both the storyteller and listener. Your brain, as the listener, mirrors the brain of the storyteller.
Put simply, when you hear a great story, your brain lights up as if you are experiencing the story yourself. Your brain puts you inside the story. We humans are biologically and neurologically wired to connect with stories.
And that’s why marketing copy that uses the basic elements of storytelling – a narrative plot, characters, points of view, and distinctive themes – has the power to connect with people and make an impact.
There are seven basic plots of storytelling. In an upcoming blog post, I’m going to discuss these narrative patterns in much more detail. But here I’ve listed the seven basic plots:
- Overcoming the Monster
- Rags to Riches
- The Quest or Hero’s Journey
- voyage and Return
- Rebirth or Redemption
7 BASIC BASIC PLOTS = 7 KEYS TO CONTENT MARKETING
So, what do these seven basic story patterns mean to you and your business? Well, they represent seven powerful keys to help unlock opportunities in your content marketing. They’re seven keys that tap into the universal experiences that all humans can relate to at some level.
With a skilled storyteller like myself to guide you, you can identify which one of these basic plot lines will speak most persuasively to your clients’ pain-points or your team’s needs. I can help you strengthen the role you’re supposed to play in their lives and further define how you can help them along their journey.
And you’ll be able to tell your own story in the most empathetic and meaningful way. To make an impact and connect.
YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS NEED A STORYTELLER