If you have been around Bourbon & Honey for a while, you'll notice that I talk about stories a lot. In fact, the entire mission of my company is to help small businesses and creative entrepreneurs tell better stories through simple and beautiful content. And likely by now, you understand what I mean by simple and beautiful content. But what about telling better stories? Where does that come from?
Well, it comes from many places. One of which is very personal. If we ever meet in person, the one thing I will impress upon you (whether you like it or not!) is that I have a deep love for stories. In the moment I wrote my first word, I was hooked. I was entranced with stories. I loved reading them, hearing them and telling them.
When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming a fiction writer. As I grew older, this dreamed took on a non-fiction slant - I wanted to become a journalist. (Actually, I wanted to be a White House correspondent.) And after a brief stint aspiring to be a nurse (what??), I'm back to stories.
The truth is there is something special about stories. I don't say that because I think it makes a good tagline. I truly believe that there is power in how we connect and behave through stories.
In this blog post, I want to share with you the importance of telling a story in your marketing and give you some of my top tips to incorporate more story into your content.
It's Science, Baby
We are wired to be more receptive to stories. Our brains crave the story. When we consume straight data, we engage the language processing part of our brains. But when we add in those other elements of the story, we use other parts of our brain including the language processing center. It's as if we are experiencing the story as it's happening. This releases dopamine, which also our brains to recollect an emotionally-charged event with great intensity later.
What's even crazier is that we spend nearly 1/3 of our lives daydreaming. It's where our mind naturally goes. However stories cut through the distraction and pull our attention to it. When we get absorbed in a good story, our minds go still and pay full attention.
It's How We Communicate
Think about how we communicate every day. We talk with each other using stories. We talk about what happened to us at work, the funny thing we saw on the train, what we are doing on the weekend - the list goes on. Humans have been using stories to pass information for years. Brands are just starting to use this ancient form of communication to connect with their audiences.
Show Your Personality
One of most powerful reasons stories have overtaken our marketing landscape is that as consumers demand more authenticity from brands, stories become opportunities to share their personalities with audiences.
One of my favorite brands is quite cheeky, witty and sassy - and they show it! Their Instagram content and blog posts show their personality. It makes them personable, authentic and available - and it's one of the reasons I support them.
Even if you aren't in the most glamorous of industries, you can make storytelling work. A local plumbing company has found a way to make their work funny. They play on words like "potty" to add some fun and humour to their content - and it works.
Whether your brand is professional, creative, inspiring, sassy, vibrant, use stories to capture your personality.
Capture The Emotion
Humans are emotional creatures. And as we learned above, we remember events better and with more intensity if there is a distinct emotion attached to it - whether that is positive or negative.
If you understand your audience, you should have a handle on their needs and challenges. Knowing this, you can fulfill the emotional needs of your audience. You can use words they use and let them feel the things they want to feel.
This emotional connection is powerful to create those valuable relationships. If you can create a story that someone genuinely connects with, you have the potential to nurture a beautiful relationship that breeds long-term brand loyalty. #winning
Here are just a few tips to elevate your storytelling in your marketing.
- We consume thousands of digital words every day, so use short sentences to grab the reader's attention.
- Write content that is linear and delivers a narrative.
- We process images much faster than words, so include compelling images in your content.
- Be real. Be honest. Write true stories - and never claim a story is true when is it isn't. (It happens.)
- Write your story into the fabric of your company. It shouldn't just be your marketing strategy. It just be a part of everything you do.
- Make the customer the hero of your story. How do they win? How do you give them their happy ending?
So if you want to connect with your audience and increase those sales, give storytelling a try. And if you have no idea where to start, give me a call.