No matter what type of content you’re creating or why, the messaging has to be on point – or you’re wasting your time. This year, harness the power of telling the right story.
Storytelling is the new marketing, and by now, most business owners and professionals have caught on.
But it’s time to level up.
Just because you’re telling a story doesn’t mean you’re telling the right story.
In fact, creating content for the sake of creating content isn’t actually helping you meet your marketing goals.
If you want content that gets results, you have to stop and ask yourself a few basic questions before you decide which story to tell.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our crash course in story-driven marketing – plus five steps to finding the right story for your brand.
Why Storytelling Works
First it’s crucial to understand why storytelling works. (Hint: It’s not something you can understand with your mind.)
“As much as we’d like to think of ourselves as logical decision-makers, that typically isn’t the case,” explains Forbes contributor Pia Silva. “While we might use logic when doing research about a product or service, the final decision is often largely based on our emotions.”
We can do all the research in the world, but when it comes time to spend money, our final decisions are usually made off gut, especially in service-based industries.
“The good news is that with strong storytelling, you can form positive emotional associations with you and your brand,” Silva continues. “The emotions you evoke with your stories go a long way in defining how people perceive you, creating a stronger connection in your audience’s mind between you and the problem you solve for them.”
People aren’t going to remember every detail of what you say in your marketing, but they will remember the way a powerful, emotion-based story can make them feel. And that feeling sticks with them until they’re ready to buy.
“Using storytelling to foster emotional connections is key to improving brand awareness and conversions,” Silva concludes.
The results are in: Good storytelling makes you feel things that a sales pitch simply can’t.
How To Tell The Right Story
So how do you tell a story – and the right story – in your marketing?
Well, it’s easier than you think, as long as you answer a few crucial questions before you start creating your marketing content.
Here are five steps to telling the right story in your marketing:
1. Remember It’s Not For You
The first step to creating story-driven content is to get your mindset dialed in.
You see, we all have stories to tell all day long. We have stories about how our day is going, what the competition is doing wrong, why our jobs are difficult, or even what we ate for dinner.
Oftentimes, the most emotional stories are the ones that affect us deeply and immediately. And those stories deserve to be heard. But when it comes to marketing, the question is …
Should this story be heard by your target audience?
Because, love it or hate it, here’s the truth. Your brand stories should serve one person and one person only: your ideal client. Otherwise, it’s a waste of your marketing efforts.
For example, let’s say you’re a photographer, and you want to post a TikTok video about the cameras you use. Rather than describing the lens using industry-related jargon, try telling a story about how your camera choice affects your clients.
Why? Your client doesn’t know (or care about) the difference between a 24-70 mm lens and a 70-200 mm lens – because they’re not photographers! That’s why they need you. All they really care about is how that lens will make them look in pictures. So instead, tell them why your lens is the most flattering choice for a woman’s figure. And skip the jargon!
If you want results, your content shouldn’t be based on how you feel. It should be based on how you can make your clients feel.
Scroll through your recent posts, blogs, etc. Take note of which posts serve your emotions and which posts serve your client’s emotions.
2. Know Your Audience
Once you’ve got your mindset dialed in, you can focus on the real MVP: your ideal customer.
You see, you’re not just going after stories that are emotional for you; you’re looking for stories that will strike the right emotional cord with your audience. That means you need to know a thing or two about how your audience feels.
Since you can’t know how an entire audience of people are going to feel, it’s best to choose an ideal customer persona, or two, and go from there. (Don’t have ideal customer personas? Think of your best customer. It should be someone you enjoy working with who also hits your revenue target.)
Now go way past basic demographics. What are their values? What do they care about? What do they believe in? What are their problems and pain points? How do you help them? Why do they keep coming back? These simple questions will unlock a wealth of emotion-based stories that speak to the right person.
Make a list of topic/story ideas based on the questions above.
3. Define Your Goal
Hopefully by now you have a list of potential story and topic ideas that speak to your ideal customer on an emotional level. Next, you want to consider what your goal is and how you’re going to use these stories. Otherwise, you’ve fallen into the trap of creating content for the sake of creating content.
That’s why, at SchlickArt, we believe each piece of content should serve one of your specific marketing goals. These goals could include: developing brand awareness, increasing engagement, converting warm leads to customers, promoting a specific product/service, and so on.
Regardless of what you choose, remember that you have to know what you’re working toward if you want your content to get you anywhere.
Write down your top three marketing goals this year. Try to be as specific as possible. Then choose one goal to work on first, and decide what action(s) you need your audience to take. For example, if you want to increase engagement, then the actions could be liking, commenting or sharing your post. If you want more people to book a specific service, then the action might be to reach out for a consultation or inquiry. List all the actions a client has to take in order for them to arrive at your goal.
4. Find The Right Story
By this point, the hard work is done. You have a list of powerful stories that will resonate with your audience. You have a targeted goal, as well as the action steps you want your audience to take to meet that goal.
All you have to do now is choose the right story.
For example, let’s say your goal is to get people booked in for a new service you’re offering. The desired action you want people to take is to click the “Free Consultation” button in your email. For this goal, you might want to share the story of how this new service came about. What inspired you to create this new offer? You could also share any client success stories you might have already, as well as testimonials.
Think about the action you want people to take, and then decide what story will give your audience the biggest push to act.
Look at your list of the desired actions you want your audience to take. For each action, write 1-3 story ideas that would inspire them to take that step.
5. Share It The Right Way
You did it! You found the right story for your audience and for your goal. Now all you have to do is share it!
This is when you choose your content type. Consider your audience, how they like to consume content, and where they hang out (online or in person). Make sure all these elements align, and then you can start creating.
For example, let’s say you want more engagement from the Millennial and Gen Z market, which means you want them to like, comment or share your posts. Well, that audience demographic typically likes to watch short-form video on Instagram, TikTok and other up-and-coming platforms. So, for you, that might mean the best way to tell your story is through short, entertaining videos on Instagram. Now, you have your story, content type and platform.
All there’s left to do is create!
Choose the content type (i.e. video, photo, blog, podcast, etc.) and platform (i.e. email, social media, etc.) that are best to capture your ideal audience. Then start creating!
Visual Marketing In Santa Clarita
At SchlickArt, we offer more than photography and video services to the Santa Clarita area and beyond. We do our best to provide our clients with marketing expertise and direction every chance we get. We know you need your images and video to help grow your business — that’s why you invest in them, and that’s why we do, too. Please take a minute to search through our blogs to find the visual marketing information that will help your business, or give us a call. We’re happy to help!
About Our Santa Clarita Business Videos
SchlickArt Business Video Sessions are story-driven films about your business, non-profit, product or service. Our goal is to discover your ‘why’ — the true reason you do what you do. Our specialty is telling stories, and we believe communicating your story is the best way to build your brand. We can’t wait for you to see how the world notices when you take the time to tell your authentic story.
About SchlickArt Photography and Video
SchlickArt, a boutique photo and video studio in Santa Clarita, started in March 2012 with the simple idea that empowerment creates a kind of beauty and authenticity that shines through every camera lens. Built on a philosophy — rather than a product, service or person — SchlickArt has rapidly evolved, meeting professional portraiture, business photo and business video needs as diverse as the community we capture. It’s the desire to take care of you, the client, that drives us at SchlickArt.