Story telling is one of our oldest forms of communication. From the days when cavemen would draw on cave walls, our brains are wired to respond to stories.
Before we had a written language to communicate with, illustrated story telling was a way to pass on valuable information like where to find food, what threats were nearby or information about other tribes.
The science bit
Studies have shown that when we get involved in a good story, our bodies release oxytocin, a feel good chemical also known as the “love drug”, because it’s also released in close, loving situations like when we hug, or when a mother’s breast feeding her child.
It’s why we all love a good movie, why story telling is so powerful, and why it can help us build trust and closeness with our audience.
Ways to use Storytelling in your content
Using case studies are a great way to develop trust with your audience, and are a great opportunity to use a creative, interesting story that tells of the struggle your client faced, the way you guided them through it and portrays them as the hero at the end.
Your audience want to be the hero, help them paint a picture and see themselves as just that. They are also looking for a guide to help them get from where they are now to where they want to be, which is the character you have shown yourself to be in the story.
Many businesses are so focussed on sounding like an authority in their industry, they forget that their content needs to be easy to read, and enjoyable if they’re going to encourage more people to read it and take on board their message.
You can still use quotes and statistics in a supporting role, to appeal to the logical side of the brain, but appealing to the emotional side will encourage your reader to get to the end of your article.
Putting out purely factual content is heavy reading, it’s mentally harder to wade through after a day at the office and is less memorable and sharable for your audience.
Put yourself in your audience’ shoes. If your story is relatable and they can see themselves in it, you target their struggles and share solutions in a voice that’s easy to read, you’re onto a winner.
If you don’t believe your own story, no one else will
Self belief is such an important part of sharing your own story in a way that will engage your audience. When we start our brand strategy workshop, the first thing we do is look at why you do what you do, and what impact you want to have.
Often it turns out that you were once the person who you now want to serve. Perhaps you experienced their struggles, you felt their frustration and you understand what needs to change. You tried different solutions until finally you had that aha moment, which led you to the solution you now share.
Is this you?
Most people don’t want to take the time to dig deep here, to really feel those emotions and get clear on that story of evolution, but once you do, it becomes a powerful tool for you and your audience.
It’s not that you’re going to share the whole thing every time, but you can break it down to share content that will inspire a real connection.
You can write from the heart, from a place of real authenticity, which is where the magic happens and your audience can really feel what you have to say.
But more than that, you’ll believe 100% in everything you put out there, you won’t wonder whether or not it’s going to hit the mark, whether it’s what they need to hear. You know how this story ends, because here you are, you know how that transformation feels, the change it brings to your life both directly and indirectly.
If you ever have a wobble, that moment of doubt in your ability, or if comparisonitis creeps in, you can turn back to that story, to the why that grew out of it and the impact you KNOW you can make, because you’ve experienced them first hand.
Taking the time to dig deep and craft a story others can believe in, will help you believe in yourself.
Story telling 101
So how do you go about structuring stories that make your audience want to become your client? Well, you need to break it down into three parts. The struggle, the process of trying to solve that struggle, and the final transformation.
Most people forget whey they are writing a story. Your audience don’t want your service or your product. They want the transformation that using your product or service will bring.
So to write a strong beginning, whether you’re basing it on yourself or writing about a client’s journey, remember to focus on where the character is in the beginning. Meet your audience where they are at right now. What are the issues your character faces, what does your character want to change? Get deep on the emotional side of this, not just the practical.
Then comes the process, but we want to see a journey here. No doubt your character had a plan to solve their problem, but it turned out that the problem wasn’t so easy to solve. Chances are they tried multiple solutions and each one failed.
During this process you can illustrate just how difficult the problem is to solve and why other solutions just won’t work.
And then for the transformation. The character finally finds the solution you offer, understands what’s needed, takes the relevant action, solves the problem they were facing and gets the result you know your audience craves. Their life is now better and they reach their happy ending.
Feeling inspired? Share your story with us, we’d love to read it.