Feed Me a Story

Feed Me a Story

Stories are food. Feed everyone and be willing to let them feed you.

Remember humans love stories — it’s hardwired into how we learn and grow.

Why did you start your business? That’s a story.

Who are your best customers (and what makes them the best)? That’s another story.

How does your product work? That’s an entirely different story.

But in order for us to hear them as stories, you need to show us with a narrative. You’ve got to utilize characters – heroes and villains (hopefully, you’re the hero, not the villain!).

But most of all, you must touch our emotions.

Your story needs a plot

What’s the difference?

Consider these two narratives:

1. There once was a king and a queen. The king died and then the queen died.

2. There once was a king and a queen. The king died. And then the queen died of a broken heart.

Which one tells you a story that you actually care about?

Right. That’s the one with the plot.

But my marketing isn’t fiction!

It might be weird to think about plot development in your web copy, but I urge you to give it a try.

How do you add this sort of element to your business stories?

Begin with emotion.

Don’t just talk about features and benefits. Dig deeper and find the underlying emotion that connects to those benefits.

lipstick=hopeIf you’re selling lipstick, your product’s features might be things like its color, its price, or even that it contains a secret ingredient.

So what? Those are your characters. What do they do? And more importantly, why should we care?

That lipstick’s color might be an exclusive new shade of red developed for the Queen of England. It might be a longer-lasting red. Or it might be a red that magically matches your skin tone.

Still, I ask you – so what?

The woman who buys that lipstick and chooses it for its color is most likely doing so because she believes it will improve her appearance. Maybe even make her beautiful.

Why is it important to know this?

Because the emotion behind that purchase is hope. And if you include some of that in your marketing, you’ll be more likely to connect with your prospective customer – she’ll remember you.

Build up some tension

Every good story keeps us on the edge of our seats, wondering what happens next.

To be effective, your business stories need some of the same tension.

They need a little drama.

Emotion and drama usually go hand in hand.

In the king/queen example above, the drama centered around a lost love.

When you tell your business stories, they’ll need to revolve around a problem, too.

A problem that only you could solve.

The stories we tell literally create our businesses

Learn how to tell them.

Use them to describe how your product or service is different. Use them to teach your prospects something new.

There is an art to storytelling, and if you want to create a successful business, you’ve got to tell more stories.

But tell only true stories. Your audience knows the difference.

Have you used stories in your marketing? Share a link to one of yours in the comments. I’d love to read it.

  • http://simplystatedbusiness.com Cathy Miller

    Great post about storytelling, Tea. It is so much more interesting. I love how simply you demonstrate its power. I often use storytelling when I write articles. You’ll have to trust me on that since I ghostwrite them for clients. :-) Storytelling is one of the reasons I love doing case studies,. After all, that’s what they’re all about.

    Sharing this post. :-)

    • http://thewordchef.com Tea (the Chef)

      Thanks Cathy! ;-)

  • http://weblogbetter.com/2012/01/13/online-visibility-if-you-want-to-be-found-you-have-to-be-seen/ Melanie Kissell

    Haven’t met a fellow human being yet who doesn’t love a story!

    I think one of the most powerful aspects of storytelling in your business, Tea, is that people REMEMBER stories.

    If you share a juicy, compelling, humorous, sensational, or even outrageous story, people are not only likely to remember it, they’ll pass it along to their circle of influence — especially when it’s a story that resonates on a deep personal level.

    Wonderful post. :)

  • http://www.sellitlikeawoman.com alyse

    I love telling stories, love hearing good stories and love watching great stories. There are some terrific points here. When I was a kid my family would say I was SUCH a storyteller. The SUCH part meant I loved embellishing and my friends loved listening. But as I got to the business world I curtailed the use of stories in favor of facts. How cold. How silly. How wrong. Viva la stories!

    • http://thewordchef.com Tea (the Chef)

      Thanks for stopping by, Alyse. Yes! Tell your stories! And use all the delicious flavors, textures and aromas you can.

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