Storytelling is an invaluable means of communicating, setting vibrant brands apart from mundane businesses and developing loyal consumers from one-time stop-in shoppers. Storytelling also serves as the cornerstone of successful marketing campaigns.
Mastering the art of storytelling in business means translating complex information into captivating narratives that engage audiences and elicit action from them. Here are eight tips designed to assist with this process.
1. Identify Your Purpose
Today’s businesses must communicate more than the facts – they must tell a compelling narrative about why they do what they do.
By engaging your audience with an engaging tale, you can leave a lasting impression and inspire them to take action. The first step of successful storytelling in business lies in understanding your target market as well as their needs and expectations.
Narrative-driven PowerPoint presentations and bullet points are more engaging for audiences than data-driven ones, helping to explain complex ideas while drawing them in and prompting engagement with your brand.
2. Create a Story Map
As with any form of art, storytelling requires an intricate creative process. Painters, sculptors and dancers all follow a specific workflow when producing their works.
One of the best ways to organize information in a story is with a story map. This tool helps students keep track of all of the major elements within any literary work – fiction or nonfiction alike!
By creating a map, you can also see how different stories interact and prioritize them with full context in mind. This can help prevent you from building something without added value and thus saving both time and effort in development efforts.
3. Create a Storyline
To write an engaging narrative, it is crucial that your plot be carefully constructed. One way to do this is by outlining all of the events within your tale in their chronological order.
Your plot should also take into account the time period in which your story takes place, whether that means medieval Europe, America’s 1960s or somewhere in between. Your choice of time period will affect language and cultural choices as well as prop choices you use throughout.
Your story’s plot may include a MacGuffin, which is an inanimate object with no inherent value that drives conflict among characters in it – like the falcon statuette from The Maltese Falcon.
4. Create Characters
Storytelling is an effective business communication strategy. It helps break free of traditional corporate speak and reach customers on an intimate level while creating more believable brands and distinguishing yourself from competitors.
Characters are the cornerstone of a great story. In order to craft one successfully, it’s imperative that they’re relatable, interesting, and serve a clear purpose within the plot. Furthermore, it’s vital that their actions complement those in other parts of your tale.
5. Create a Call-To-Action
Call-to-action (CTA), is a call for action by which audiences are encouraged to take action on something you’ve advertised, on a website, or even via email. CTAs are particularly effective at engaging audiences who might otherwise remain passive in taking the next step. They’re effective ways of inviting them in for more than just advertising campaigns: use them when it comes to email campaigns too!
A strong call-to-action should be clear and direct. It should begin with an action verb and use emotionally charged language that provokes emotion from its audience. Furthermore, filler words like adverbs and adjectives should be avoided to create maximum impact for its message.
Esther Inman’s ad serves as an outstanding example of a powerful call-to-action, emphasizing not the product but instead emphasizing the experience created by purchasing it – since people don’t buy products, but experiences.
6. Create a Visual Storytelling Template
Visual storytelling can include videos, charts, graphs and images, with each approach depending on your business’s goals and brand voice. A more serious company might use aspirational narratives about how their products or services will change the world while lighter brands might prefer memes and GIFs to engage their audiences.
An effective way of planning visual storytelling is creating a story map and mood board. These tools will allow you to better understand your target audience, so you can craft stories that resonate with them.
7. Practice Your Story
As with any craft, storytelling requires practice. Rehearsing your story before sharing it will allow you to become more comfortable and confident when speaking in front of an audience.
As you practice, try including emotion into the story to keep audiences engaged and make it more relatable. Also practice altering voice, speed and volume to convey different emotions during each section – for instance speaking faster during exciting parts and slower at its conclusion.
By including visuals in your storytelling, visuals can provide depth to the narrative and increase memory retention among your target audience.