Imagine that Kate cannot remember the date of the Baptism of Poland. However, she is able to associate that Mieszko I made 9 steps to a 6-meter high cross at 6 AM*. That's the art of storytelling.
*The Baptism of Poland took place in 966.
What is a storytelling?
Storytelling is about telling stories. It's about using the story to engage the audience or to clarify a point. All kinds of visual arts such as photography or film help to tell a story, so storytelling is not just a business or sales technique. It is something that surrounds us from everywhere.
Storytelling has always been a way to communicate. Before people learned to write, they were talking. Stories with a plot and characters are much easier to remember than simple facts or dates.
Exactly as in Kate’s example. Stories are simply more enjoyable than dry information; they trigger the imagination, make people think, and thus we remember them better. That's why parents tell their children stories, that's why we watch movies, and that's why we read books.
In a Polish book about narrative marketing, its author Eryk Mistewicz distinguishes nine Japanese phrases that are supposed to form the basis of good storytelling. You will find them all in this text.
Storytelling, as a marketing tool
Storytelling is one of the new assets of the marketing world. It is a marketing strategy that has reached everywhere - from meeting rooms to shops. Storytelling is even considered to be one of the most powerful business skills for the next decade.
Unfortunately, telling stories in business may seem more conceptual than used as a real tactic. This is especially important if you are not a Fortune 500 company with a multi-million dollar budget for television advertising. But does storytelling also apply to MyLead publishers? Can storytelling be practical in affiliate marketing too? Of course.
After all, telling a story is the oldest way to spread the word or explain the world. Ancient people used stories. The Bible uses storytelling. My uncle tells the story. You tell about yourself and your company or the products you promote as a publisher, even if you don't exactly call it "storytelling.
Storytelling may seem like a lofty, magical subject, but in fact, it is one of the simplest, oldest ways of promoting anything. Use it to your advantage.
Where to use a storytelling?
Now that you have an idea of what storytelling is and to what extent it serves us and others at every step of our daily life, check where you can use it.
1. Your blog
You can use your blog as a fragmented way to tell a long version of your story, or you can use any post on your blog as a mini-history.
For example, you can write a post about your father, who was in the same company as you, and present it as a story about something he did. It will be a part of your extended story. As a mini-story, you can post an entry about a customer who was struggling with an important problem, and how he dealt with it.
2. Video content
Any story in which you imagine yourself, your company, your industry, or your customers, can be improved by making a movie with it. There is even a new tool called PowToon, which allows for creating animations. With PowToon you can create whole movies, but you can also skip audio and in Canva create any image of you and anything else you want to communicate with your audience.
In the case of storytelling, advertising seems to be an obvious example that does not require a special explanation. Have you ever seen a slide showing a product on TV or the Internet, and all that was said was "buy it"? A product or a service requires a story to be told, which for the recipient will be like proof of its performance. One of the best examples of a company whose advertisements are an ideal use of storytelling is Allegro. The arousal of empathy and the possibility to refer to the characters of the story are presented here in a book-like manner.
4. Attracting customers
Whether as a publisher you attract new audiences or inspire existing ones, storytelling is a brilliant tool. Stories are a way to explain the world, right? How would you explain the worldview of your promoted products through a story?
Do you use a storytelling technique in your methods of promoting a particular product or service? If so, has it made a difference? Let us know in the comments!
How to create storytelling?
Remember, storytelling is telling a story. We all know how to do it, but in order to increase your chances of success, you should use this technique by following certain rules.
1. Protagonist and antagonist
Stories need a good and bad guy - also called a hero and an enemy. The enemy can be something like a desert or “the system”, or even fear in the hero. The result of this story should be a battle with victory on our hero’s side.
Questions and assumptions of storytelling marketing:
- What is the main enemy of my clients? Wasted money? Unfulfilled dreams? Unattractive body?
- My product must become a hero.
2. Use a conflict
A conflict is a battle between an enemy and a hero. Conflict also describes the barriers that the product you promote may have encountered on the road to success. If the hero doesn't fight, the story is poor, not so real.
3. Skip unnecessary details
Skip any detail that doesn’t move the story forward or develop the character. It's about getting your readers' attention. If they don't need to know about the blue car of Anna who is trying to lose weight to understand the idea behind your story, don't tell them about it. Develop characters and talk about the product. Strive to end the story. Remember that you promote, not write a book.
4. Tell the story in a way that you like it
Writing to write, just because you've read that it's going to boost sales, won't work that well. Feel that what you're creating is good. Imagine you're the potential customer. Write the way you'd like to read.
5. Use your imagination and visualization
There is a reason why there are so many pictures in children's books, and so many of the greatest written stories have become films. Images bring history to life. You can tell the story by simply standing up and talking, or sitting and writing, but try to add visual aspects. Showing a picture makes the power of the whole storytelling more effective. You can use it not only for promotion but also when making presentations at university or work.
6. Make your story personal and easy to relate to
Let's connect this to the last point: if you can, use pictures of what and where actually happened. It is known that storytelling marketing doesn't always, or even often, reflect reality. However, it's worth giving the impression of authenticity, so important for sales.
Show some personality. Show some of your characters' weaknesses and fears. Most of your audience has them too. It uses the subtle power of storytelling: when we tell our own story, we often also tell other people's stories. These people are your ideal recipients and customers. A great example of the use of storytelling in advertisements is dietary supplements. How many times have you heard about Damien, who lost 15 kilos in a short period thanks to pills from a well-known company and thus became a more self-confident, happier man? The story of a man who has managed to succeed and eliminate a problem affecting many people (your potential recipients) is much easier to accept than dry facts about how a given supplement actually works based on statistics.
7. Add an unexpected aspect
A history without surprises is boring. Whether we're talking about some sort of unexpected punchline (as in the example of the Allegro commercial given above), or the adversity that met the hero of the story, some form of surprise is necessary. For people to want to know what it's really about, it is essential. But you should know that already (because you're a storyteller, remember?). Whether it's a good or a bad surprise, every interesting story has one. It is especially important in case of conflict.
Promote and sell products with storytelling
Use the power of words, do not use empty banners or links. You can create fiction based on real problems. No one will say that you didn't have the 20 kilos of overweight that you managed to lose with the product you're just promoting, and no one will check that you don't have a friend who just did it. TV commercials are created on these principles; thanks to this, screenwriters and product copywriters have a job. With them, you can also achieve much better results as a publisher.
Storytelling is an extremely powerful tool that should be present in every publisher's ever-growing set of tools. The above guidelines should help you implement this technique in your campaigns and engage your audience effectively, which of course will be equal to the increase in your future profits.