A story, by definition, has a beginning, middle, and end. It has characters – protagonists, antagonists, and supporting characters. It has a setting or multiple settings. A story has drama, action, dialogue. It has themes. Most importantly, a story provokes emotion. That’s the English teacher definition of a story. I should know. I’ve taught it many, many times.
There’s a different kind of story, though, one you hear bandied about in marketing circles. It sounds like this: Want to create great digital content? Tell your story.
What does that even mean, though? What kind of a story can you tell about your business? If you’re not a writer (or an English teacher,) the concept of your business having a story might be a little difficult to wrap your head around. So how do you define what your story is, and how do you magically turn it into digital marketing content (website copy, social media posts, blogs, emails, articles, white papers, photos, videos, etc.)?
Your Business Has Many Stories
Strange as it may seem, if we take the definition above as a guideline, the concept of your business’s story becomes a little clearer. Your business has a beginning, you’re probably in the middle of your journey now, hopefully you don’t have an end yet. You have characters. You have drama, action, and dialogue. You even have emotion. Let’s be honest, running a business is an emotional whirlwind.
Communicating the emotional side of your story is the whole point of telling it at all. Truly effective digital marketing content requires you to evoke an emotional reaction in your readers. Telling a story is a beautiful way to create that emotional reaction – which is why so many marketers insist upon it.
Truth be told, your business has many stories. It has an ongoing story – the story of how your business started, how it has changed over time, how it operates now. It also generates new stories all the time, stories created every day, every time you help a customer or make an impact in the community. It has characters – your staff, your customers, you. It has a setting – your place of business, your town, your favorite meeting places. Use these elements to tell your story, and your audience will get to know you better, grow more loyal, and get more emotionally invested in your success.
But how do you turn these stories into digital marketing content? Let’s go back to the definition above for a couple of examples.
Your origin story
Every business has a story of how it began. D. Cohn Communications grew out of a humorous conversation with a plumber. You have a story too. How did you get started? What was your motivation? What problem did you hope to solve for your customers? How did it go? What ups and downs did you have? Who helped you? Where is the company now? How have you grown? What are your values? How do you demonstrate them? How do you feel about your business? All of these questions can be turned into great stories.
But how can you use these stories? You can create an “About Us” page on your website. You can blog about starting a business. You can create an origins video that showcases where you began and how far you’ve come. These are just a few examples. Get creative.
Every business has a madcap cast of characters, and you are the star. Your supporting cast includes your employees, your customers, and other folks who interact with your business: the UPS delivery man, the barista at the café where you get your morning coffee, the owner of the business next door. All of these people are stories waiting to be told. What’s daily life like? What makes these people important to you? Why should your audience care about who these people are and why they’re important to your business? What makes them interesting, funny, noteworthy?
Use these stories in blogs or social media posts. Take live video of your company party. Show how one employee went above and beyond for a customer. Talk about how someone makes your day easier and better. These stories are great because your audience will love learning more about the people behind the magic of your business, and human interest stories always provoke an emotional response – generally a favorable one.
The Daily Drama
Your business has its day-to-day operations, which you may not think would be interesting to your followers. But there are plenty of events, even ones which seem insignificant, which can be turned into good stories.
If you solve a problem for a customer, that can make a great blog. If you have a staff meeting, snap a picture for Instagram. If you’re completing a large order, show your staff working hard. If you have a process down pat and can offer advice to others, again, blog that.
These are just a couple of examples to get you going. All of the elements of a good story make for engaging digital marketing. The prevailing point, however, always has to be emotion. When you tell your stories, tell them with an emotional purpose in mind. What do you want to make your followers feel? You must make an emotional impact.
If telling stories isn’t your forte, we at D. Cohn Communications can certainly help. We’ve been telling stories for our clients for years. Give us a call and let us know how we can help you!