by Angela Kambarian, Essential Communications
Dear savvy business professional,
While storytelling is one of the most important marketing strategies, it is not always easy to implement. Inundating your audience with facts, figures and statistical data may bore them to tears. And if you think dry chronology or hyped language will save the day, think again.
But here is the great news. You can win your readers over with a captivating well-thought-out story and win more trust, more business and more fans. In fact, storytelling is an ideal tool for Public Relations and marketing and serves as a better and more reliable alternative to dry data, charts and statistics.
Winning the battle for attention is no easy feat. Let’s face it: there is a myriad of entertainment options available and crafting a business story to promote a product or service doesn’t always measure up. Besides, most people are swamped, overwhelmed or cynical and highly reluctant to peruse your tale, no matter how intriguing.
To help you overcome creative setbacks, I came up with a few tactics to sidestep common storytelling pitfalls and get noticed in a crowded marketplace.
1. It is NOT always about YOU
Here is what I know for a fact: mediocre “run-of-the-mill” stories are focused on businesses while great stories are about people. Every story needs a hero. This may come as a big surprise, but oftentimes the most interesting hero could be a low-level employee or even a customer. Intuit and Hubspot both do a great job celebrating their core customers (i.e. small businesses) in their storytelling. Also, there is Slack’s Variety Pack podcast championing the workers themselves who happen to be the end users of its product.
2. Don’t confuse emotion with hype.
When a writer is facing the dreaded writer’s block and struggles to come up with a fascinating narrative, he/she may eventually resort to a bunch of empty adjectives or chest-beating messages to spice it up a bit. Sadly, the writer ends up with very little substance and a mediocre story that may undermine trust and deter some prospects. Mark Twaine famously wrote: “When you catch an adjective, kill it”. Therefore, when it comes to adjectives and “action verbs”, don’t get carried away. Keep in mind that less is more and a more precise word will beat a vague one anytime.
3. Thinking about incorporating chronology? Forget about it.
A lot of people have the urge to start at the very beginning and present a chronological narrative. The only problem is, it can be so insanely boring, lengthy and complex. Let me assure you, there is a better way to get your message across. When promoting a business, pretend you are making a 30-second video. Lead off with a pivotal moment. For example, you may tell about the founder of your company trying to solve a common problem, such as how to dress well without breaking the bank (Rent The Runway). You can also describe a “new” idea” providing instant 24/7 availability to software (Saleforce.com). In other words, everything should revolve around those intense moments that become obvious in retrospect. You can start in the middle, then fill in the blanks.
4. Don’t leave out the rough edges
There is a tendency in business storytelling to sugarcoat anything negative or embarrassing. Guess what: some high-growth tech entrepreneurs tend to be more transparent about their setbacks, obstacles or failures. That’s something most large companies try to avoid and choose NOT to dwell on their weaknesses, mistakes or miscalculations. Contrary to what you might think, these are the very developments that make a narrative more real, and thus, more compelling. There is power in admitting you are not perfect – something everyone can relate to.
5. Steer clear of tired old cliches
When it comes to effective storytelling, you should break the cliche habit and focus on high-stakes moments. I am talking about early failures, internal or external conflicts, business threats or challenges. But what if those moments are already well-known or simply don’t exist? Here is what I recommend. Why don’t you alter the point of view or try an analogy? Take software testing. It’s a commodity but there is an art to it.
If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.