As we’ve already discussed in one of our previous blog posts, having a sincere connection with your audience – as a brand – often poses a challenge. On top of that, social media only seem to worsen the process. How are they called “social” media, you may think, when the chance of connecting with your target audience keeps on diminishing?
Yes, there is an abundance of online platforms where you can proclaim your message. And yes, printed media might be a better choice if you want to truly connect with the crowd. However, the medium itself isn’t the wrongdoer in this scenario. It’s the way how you convey your story to others. In this fast-paced society, you no longer can afford to be a business without a compelling story. In this world, your company needs to tell an engaging story.
As the word itself indicates, storytelling is all about telling stories. They can be long. Or short. It doesn’t really matter. The only thing that’s essential is that you proclaim a story that engages. A story that tells why you, as a business, decided to go for a certain project or challenge. That story tells what you find most important, what you stand for and what makes you you. Celinne Da Costa, international brand story coach, underlines the importance of telling that story.
“Businesses need to start sharing the story behind their brand, why it exists, and why this matters, consistenly across all communication. Brand storytelling is no longer a nice to have. It is a need to have, and what will ultimately maximize your business’s visibility, profit, and impact.”Celinne Da Costa, Internatioal Brand Story Coach
So, in order to survive in the jungle of start-ups, big retailers and unforgettable brands, follow our tips. That way, your storytelling itself will become something worthy to remember!
Step 1: Get to know your target audience
The first step to telling a compelling story is that you have to know who your audience is. Who are you trying to touch with your story? And who will respond and take action once they’ve read your story?
So, in order to do just that, it’s of the utmost importance you closely investigate your target audience. Are you trying to connect with young mothers or mothers-to-be? Or is your preferred public businesses that are on the look-out for a solution to a technical problem?
Once you’ve set up who your target audience is, it’s necessary to define your buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional and generalized presentations of your target audience. To truly get a complete overview of who your audience is, you must have an answer to some essential questions. The most important one? What’s your biggest challenge at work? Another one might be: what’s your goal or what do you want to achieve at work?
“A persona can tell you where your demographic spends time online, what resources they trust and what pain points they’re facing. This makes the persona development process crucial to your marketing success.”Jon Simpson, Founder & Chief Strategist at Criterion B.
If you’ve gathered answers to these essential questions, you have a pretty good overview of your target audience and their wishes and needs. That’s the first step of good storytelling completed!
Step 2: Define your core message
Besides defining who your target audience is, you must also decide – together with your team of course – what you want your core message to be. It doesn’t matter whether you describe your company’s story in two or forty pages, it must have a core message.
Is your company’s story about selling a product to make people’s lives better? Or are you on a mission to fight for certain values? You must very clearly explain what the key message is of your business.
Vital for this approach? The K.I.S.S. principle! Your core message should be short and specific at the same time. If you can’t explain what your business is all about in one sentence, your message isn’t clear enough.
Step 3: Personalize your message
This step is one of the most important when you’re planning on rolling out a successful storytelling strategy. If the story you are proclaiming doesn’t contain personal elements, it will not trigger a reaction from your target audience.
Let’s say you are telling your target audience a story about the founders of the company. Will they pay attention if they don’t get to know what kind of people they are? Probably not, right? That’s why it’s essential you tell an honest story. A story that only includes the positive side won’t convince readers. And that’s exactly what John Bates, CEO and Founder of Executive Speaking Success, thinks too!
“As human beings, we relate to your failures because we are all flawed. People don’t connect with your successes, they connect with your messes. Your message is in your messes.”John Bates, CEO & Founder at Executive Speaking Success
If you thus include your personal story and share what you learned along the way, your audience is more likely to be inspired. They see that successful businesses once failed too. Not everyone’s story is outstanding from the get-go, it takes time. And a personal story like yours will convince your target audience to choose your company over your competitors!
Step 4: Continuously review and refresh
As we told you to do in the second step, you must define your core message. However, that doesn’t mean the key component of your story must be set in stone. Remember, your core message about your business is not static. Things change over time. So, why wouldn’t your company’s story, vision and its key messages?
To keep up with the times, make sure the stories you tell your target audience stay relevant and that they still reflect your core message. If you keep on adjusting your communication so it stays relevant, your audience will be glad to listen to you. Besides, this will establish you as a leader in your field, since continuously keeping up with the latest evolutions is an important aspect in any sector.
A captivating narrative
Implementing a successful storytelling in your strategy is relatively easy. Besides, it proves to have many benefits for your business. Firstly, a clearly communicated story serves as the basis for a strong marketing strategy. Besides, a story well-told captivates your audience and builds a relationship with them. And finally, a good story about the people working at your company can humanize your business.
It’s probably very obvious that we’re quite a fan of a storytelling strategy. On top of that, a killer storytelling strategy can only get better when combined with printed media, right? Let us know if you’ve given storytelling a try. If you have, make sure to share your experience in the comments. And last but not least, don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn if you want to transform the way you use print!