Brand storytelling is big this year, from the blockbuster LEGO movie to Hello Flo’s hilarious, popular “First Moon Party” video. Brand storytelling is also present in quieter ways – from companies who use their blogs to talk about their history and values, to TED Talk speakers who draw on their personal experiences to engage audiences, to any content that recognizes the importance of the human element and uses storytelling as a tool.
If you’re ready to start becoming a storyteller with your content, incorporate these 10 steps into your storytelling and content marketing:
- Identify your unique perspective. Your business has a perspective that will give a unique voice to even the most basic of stories. Your company’s history, values, and style should all inform the way you tell stories.
- Use storytelling structure. From simple anecdotes used to frame information about your products to in-depth narratives about your company’s history, any story you tell should be structured. Stories should have characters (even if unnamed) with specific qualities and each story should have a beginning, middle, and end.
- Draw out the human element. One of the biggest advantages to using storytelling and content marketing is that it allows you to draw out the human element in topics related to your company. Sometimes, that means emphasizing the real-life people who shaped your brand. Other times, as in the case of the LEGO movie, it means creating fully fleshed, relatable characters. Smaller stories should still emphasize the human element by recognizing the struggles that your audience faces.
- Be surprising. Develop surprising, engaging stories that subvert what your audience expects. For example, you might draw a humorous connection between an everyday frustration and a key value of your business. Alterations from the expected outcome or structure can get your audience listening more closely.
- Develop a content plan. Once you have a basic idea of some of the stories you’d like to tell and what kind of voice you’d like to tell them in, the next step is to develop an actionable plan of the stories you’ll tell. Who will you be targeting with the content? How will the content be used? What content do you already have? Which areas need fleshed out more fully?
- Make a timeline. When becoming a storyteller with your content, having a timeline for different steps is important. This helps you to generate a consistent stream of high-quality content with accountability on all sides. It also helps you to pace the release of your ideas so that you continue to have story ideas for an extended period of time.
- Outsource talent. You might have the resources in-house to begin business storytelling on your own, but it might also be necessary to outsource some talent. Depending on the mediums you choose to use, writers, designers, or video experts may all be outsourced. Look for professionals who have experience with business storytelling.
- Establish standards and processes. In your company’s busy day-to-day operations, storytelling can get lost without established standards and processes. Develop and share best practice guidelines with everyone involved in the process of business storytelling. There should be an established method for content to be approved and released, as well as methods to track everything once it’s out in the world.
- Measure your success. Continually track which content your audience engages with the most. Look at metrics such as number of page clicks, number of downloads, and number of shares. Also consider more subjective measures, such as audience response in comments or reviews. Your metrics and feedback will help you determine which storytelling methods work well and which are less effective. Based on this information, you can amp up techniques that are effective and scale down methods that don’t have a good ROI.
- Invite audience comment and participation. Storytelling is a give-and-take process, so encourage your audience to participate by commenting with their thoughts or by sharing their own stories. When you successfully get your audience to comment on, share, and discuss your stories, you know that you’ve truly engaged them with your storytelling.
How have you used brand storytelling in your content marketing? Share in the comments!