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Using Storytelling as a Marketing Strategy

It used to be that a great visual image was the key to attracting attention to your brand.  It still is, but with the number of great visuals out there in social media (think Instagram and Pinterest), there has to be more than that.  It’s just as important – if not more – to have a great story to go with that great image.

Using stories drives a deeper connection with your audience.  A compelling story will linger in the minds of your audience much longer than a witty tagline or clever advertisement.  It can create an emotional response that will cement positive feelings about your brand. 

Here are four elements of successful marketing using storytelling.

Capture your audience’s attention quickly

In this age of information overload, it can be difficult to stand out.  Start with an eye-catching image and a short caption that drives people to read more.

Writers know that a successful story has three acts – an introduction to the situation or problem, the challenges, and a resolution.  In marketing, the resolution should always have a happy ending and a call to action. 

Make the story about the customer

If your story is about your product, customers will tune it out as just more noise.  But if the customer plays a key role in the story, they can personally relate to it. 

That’s not to say that your brand isn’t part of the story.  In fact, it should be part of or facilitate the happy ending.

Make an emotional connection

Present your story in a way that will create an emotional response in your audience.  Shock, amazement, surprise, concern, even anger are all emotions that can cement your story in the mind of your customer.

The emotional connection helps to engage your audience.  Once they are engaged, they are more likely to respond to your call to action.

Include your call to action

Don’t forget to make your story work for you by including a call to action.  The call to action might be to buy your product, join your organization, donate to your cause, or follow your social media account; whatever your marketing goal is.

Make sure your call to action is unambiguous and easy for your audience to respond.  A big, obvious button with “Learn More,” “How to Register,” or “How to Donate” link or an easy-to-remember web landing page URL can help your audience connect immediately.

Storytelling is one of the oldest ways to connect with people, and it’s still one of the best.  Technology makes it easier than ever to share stories today.  Brands that have good stories to tell, and tell them well, can use that to their advantage in the marketplace.

Diana Fraser is the founder of Blue Wren Communications.

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