Stories are selling like hot cakes…
If I started describing food to you, or even at the mere mention of the idea, something will move in the pit of your stomach. It may not be hunger, necessarily, but the suggestion will cause micro messengers from your mind to go and investigate the possibility. If they find any hint of a need when they get there, it will begin to grow, and with just a little more encouragement, you will soon be reaching for the snack jar.
It’s just the way we are made!
Likewise, when you read the word’ posture,’ you will shift in your chair, sit up straight, maybe stretch out your back and remember, for a few minutes at least, that you should not slouch. Sensitive words like these will cause a reaction, stimulate recognition and potentially change a mind.
This knowledge could make or break your business!
Words are powerful! Speeches have changed the course of history, stopped wars, started revolutions and reduced the hardest of hearts to tears. Single sales pitches have closed million-pound deals, turned prototypes into global brands and saved many a small business from sinking. But you can’t always be present to deliver a speech. That is why writing well is such a sought-after skill and why content (video and written) is so critical in today’s business world.
If a single word can create emotional reactions and sales copy convert browsers into buyers, how much more powerful are sentences and stories? The irresistible allure of a story which connects with its audience is perhaps the most potent force in sales. Stories tell a reader that you understand them and introduce them to a more personal version of you. Told well, a story can break down barriers, build up trust, share common ground and start a conversation.
If you only ever present your business as an entity, a logo, a range of products or a piece of marketing you limit the potential of building relationships. People buy people, and people love people stories.
If you are still not convinced switch on your TV, search YouTube, read a magazine or Google a celebrity… any celebrity. The whole world runs on stories!
Four secrets to powerful storytelling for business:
1: Connection Whatever your business or the message you want to share your audience will always matter more than what you want to say. Think about their hopes, fears, and values. Craft your story around issues that really matter to them, themes they will identify with and, most of all, values that they care about.
Unless there is a message or some sort of meaning your readers can connect with (on a human level) it will not have any impact at all. Think about the brands you love and the way their stories make you feel.
2: Intrigue A great place to start a story is often in the middle or at a moment of drama in the narrative. If you did a deal with Google, make that the hook and work backwards. Or could you namedrop a celebrity then retell the lead up to the endorsement? Maybe you came back from the brink, were inspired by a tragedy, changed the face of your marketplace, created a revolution or simply made a customer’s dream come true. These are all great stories to share…
We are curious by nature, it is in our DNA, and it is why stories have kept the world turning for millennia. See if you can create a sense of anticipation, layout a treasure map to follow or involve your audience in a ‘need to know’ scenario. Always finish with a strong conclusion, but subtly leave them wanting more…
3. Heroes Every good story needs a hero! It can be an underdog come good, a brave act that saves the day, the customer whose life was changed or an act of kindness from a passing stranger. No one is so self-secure, confident or obsessed with themselves that they don’t look for inspiration in others. So, a key element of engagement in storytelling is to introduce your reader to people they can identify with and actions they can aspire to, engage with, or emulate.
The most popular stories on the planet are driven by famous lives, extraordinary exploits, everyday human interest and tales of survival against the odds.
4: Attractive Make your story real and relevant by carefully crafting its content. Wherever possible, write ‘in the moment’ to make the reader feel like they were actually there, witnessing the event. Don’t use exponentially exorbitant expressions just for the sake of it (wink), but don’t use overly common and boring words either. Try to create a flowing, interesting narrative that matches your passion and enthusiasm for your story. And remember, the best way to portray honesty is simply by being honest!
A sneaky Ninja Trick for colouring your copy is to write it in full and then, as you read it back, right-click a few ordinary words and replace them with more creative synonyms. But don’t overdo it (or even overcook, exaggerate, overplay or spoil it).
And finally, because every good story must finish well (indeed many a well-penned novel or thrilling blockbuster of a movie has, in my humble opinion, been totally ruined by a poor last page), let me conclude.
This is an article about writing stories for your business, so your tale must have context. Relevance, in a business story, is the equivalent of the ‘call to action’ on a piece of marketing, although probably not quite as direct.
In other words, try and blend into your story the idea that what you’ve done for others you can also do for your reader. After all – It is all about them, so leave them feeling hungry for more!