How to use storytelling to market your business

Marketing your business

In this presentation, learn some useful tips and strategies to use storytelling to market your business.

Key learning outcomes:

  • Storytelling 101
  • How to use storytelling in your business
  • What is core messaging in storytelling
  • 8 storytelling techniques

How to use story telling to market your business

How to use story telling to market your business

Hey everybody. It's Andrea Anderson here from Your Marketing Machines. Thank you for joining us here to talk all about communication and marketing. Today we're actually going to be talking about how to use storytelling to market your business.

But first and foremost, I just like to pay our respects. We'd like to acknowledge traditional custodians of this land and pay our respects to the elders past, present and emerging for they hold the memories, traditions, culture, and hope of Indigenous Australians. Thank you for allowing me to do that.

What are our goals for this presentation?

Why are we here today? And I guess there's going to be a number of reasons for you as to why you've decided to plug into this particular webinar today.

  • You love to read or hear other people’s stories
  • Curious about the value of your own stories
  • Heard it was a great way to build credibility
  • All of the above

Whichever it may be for you and you're wanting to use your stories as a way to share your experience, your knowledge, or even the information you have inside of you, storytelling inside your business as a great way to do that.

But one of the first things we need to understand is where to storytelling actually set inside your marketing. This is so important for you to understand. The first thing I want you to acknowledge is the marketing blueprint.

There's four key components I want you to resonate on and they are:

  • Lead generation
  • Nurture journey
  • Prospect experience
  • Sales conversion

When you're looking at storytelling and curious about where it actually sits inside your business, it is actually sitting in every single part of your business.

You use storytelling when you're lead generating. You use storytelling once you've got that lead’s contact information and you're wanting to build a relationship. You use storytelling as part of the prospect experience, where you are allowing the individual to select whether they are hot or not for you. Finally, you're using storytelling as part of that conversion process, allowing somebody to become compelled about what it is that you have to say and more importantly, get to know, like, and trust you.

Storytelling 101

In today's little presentation, we're going to cover off three key components of storytelling 101. The first one we're going to talk about is how she use storytelling in business. It's real important that we understand where storytelling can best fit for you and the way that you want to deliver your business.

The second key component for us today is going to be your core message. Because we want to make sure that the story you're sharing is actually going to be impactful at the right moment, and, more importantly, to the right kind of audience that you're wanting to develop relationship with.

Then the third key component, and the final component, is we're going to share with you some storytelling techniques that hopefully you'll be able to resonate with and over time, build confidence to be able to use in your own business. And I'll be really excited to see how you go with that.

How to use storytelling in your business

Let's get into the first one, and that is how to use storytelling in your business.

I want to start with this. Once upon a time, there was a princess who lived in a far, far away land and a beautiful castle with her father. We've all heard those stories, right? But here's the interesting thing. This is how storytelling actually began for us. These are those fables, those nursery rhymes, those old wives tales. They all start with a “once upon a time”, or “I remember when I was young”, and that's where storytelling became so important in our families. Before we could learn to read and write we shared our stories of our ancestors. That's how we learned and that's how we kept our history going.

So how do we now apply storytelling in today's business environment or in today's environment in general? It's really interesting because fundamentally it hasn't changed. We're still wanting to compel. We're still wanting to share. We're still wanting to engage and create emotion. And what's really interesting is that when a story enthralls us, we are inside of it, feeling what the author feels, experiencing it as if it were happening to us. That's the power of story for us.

One of the first things I want you to consider, and that is what is its purpose for you? How is it that you wish to use the storytelling components inside your business? There's a number of key aspects here that I'm going to encourage for you to resonate on.

  • Business Development: It’s the story behind the idea, behind the concept, behind the potential solution that you’re bringing to market
  • Competitive Advantage: Sharing stories can help distinguish you from your competitors. It can actually help you to be able to develop a stronger relationship
  • Maintain Attention: Stories are engaging and people are likely to stay with you on the journey.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Engages and connects your audience.
  • Humanize your brand: People buy on emotion and then they justify logic on what they've decided to do.

Communication Platforms

There are so many different ways that you can share your message. You can do it through:

  • Blogs and articles: Use stories to support key points
  • Newsletters: Opportunity to expand on your experiences e.g. client support
  • Presentations: ‘Moral of the Story’ to prove a key point
  • Guest speaking: Engage and capture the interest of the audience
  • Lead Generations: Follow up information on social media platforms, websites etc.

I'm just going to ask you to take a moment and resonate on the following questions:

  1. What kind of storytelling do I want to share in my business?
  2. Where do I actually want it to sit inside my business?
  3. What kind of platforms could I potentially use right now for me to share those stories across

What is core messaging in storytelling?

We're going to go into section number two, which is all about your core messages. In this instance, we're really going to be talking about what is that big idea that you want to share with the world? What is it that's going to capture the emotional core for who you are and what you stand for?

Remember it isn't what you do that matters - it's why you do it. Remember we buy on emotion and then we justify on logic. It’s important that we understand the ‘why’, and when you are sharing your stories that they all resonate and work around that big ‘why’ for you.

Core messaging (Four R’s)

When we're talking about core messaging, there are four key aspects to remember I want you to remember.

Relevance: Story is relevant to the points you are making

Relatable: Aligns and relates to the listener’s situation

Relational: Ability to establish relationship with the listener

Realistic: Simple to digest and represents things in an accurate and true manner

It's really interesting. Have you ever heard somebody try and tell a story and you know the story isn't real, you can't put your finger on it. There's just something there that doesn't ring true.

It's real important that when you are sharing your stories, they need to be realistic. They need to be something that you've actually experienced. Because when you share a story, it's not just about the words, it's actually about your body language. You'll notice that I've been moving a lot (during this presentation) I've been coming in. I've been moving out. I've been using my arms a lot. The reason being is I want you to feel as much as you can about my story. Why? Because I want to draw you in. I want you to come on the journey with me. So you need to make sure that your story is realistic. You need to make sure that it aligns with those key points, and you want to be relatable along the way.

I’m going to ask you to take a few moments and I'm going to ask you to think about:

  1. What kind of stories could I really tell?
  2. What is the moral of the story?

So just take a few seconds now, write it down on a piece of paper, because you'll need these to come back to you in a few moments.

Well, I hope you've actually done your homework. I hope you've actually written that down, because you will find that that'll be very beneficial for the next and third part of our storytelling for marketing today, and that is your storytelling techniques.

8 Storytelling Techniques

This is where we dive into and I'm going to cover off eight storytelling techniques that you can use. What you'll find is that a couple of these may actually work for you, and you'll also identify when is the right time to be using these particular techniques.

Why do we talk about storytelling techniques? Because I've used quite a few of them already on you today and you didn’t even realise. As we're going through these techniques, you may find you recognise some techniques from today’s presentation.

Storytelling techniques help you to capture, engage and compel your audience to like you. Because a good storyteller asks or takes their audience on a journey, leaving them feeling inspired and motivated. Learn to structure your story, to get your ideas across and keep your audience engaged.

So are you ready to take this part of the journey with me? This is the fun part.

1.Monomyth aka. The Hero’s journey

Technique number one is the Monomyth, also known as the hero's journey. This is used quite often. It's a structure that is used in folktales, myths, and Bible stories believe it or not. In this instance, the hero is called to leave home and sets out on a big journey into the real world. They move from this safety net into a threatening unknowingness. After overcoming a great trial, they return home with a reward or newfound wisdom, something which will help their community.

Now, this is a great storytelling technique for taking an audience on a nice gentle journey. It's great for showing the benefits of taking risks. The third key component of this one is that it's demonstrating how you learn wisdom. It's really incredible because if you stop and actually think back with your own stories from your history, or from your past, you'll find that actually the hero's journey is very, very commonly used even in today's environment.

Useful for:

  • Taking the audience on a journey
  • Showing the benefits of taking risks
  • Demonstrating how you learn wisdom

2.The Mountain

This structure is a way of mapping the tension and drama in a story. This is what movies use. You see the hero, he's going up the hill and then something happens and he falls back. And then he's going again, and then he falls back. And you’re screaming “get up, get up!”. This is the Rocky movie. These are the Terminator movies. Then suddenly he reaches the pinnacle of the mountain.

It's similar to the hero journey, because it helps to plot where certain events occur in a story. However, it can differ because it doesn't always have a happy ending. The first part of the story is given to setting the scene. It follows just a series of small challenges and rising action before a climactic conclusion.

Useful for:

  • Showing how to overcome a series of challenges
  • Slowly building tension
  • Delivering a satisfying conclusion

3.Nested Loops

This technique is used where you layer three, or more, narratives within each other. You place your most important story - the core of your message - in the centre, and you use other stories around it to elaborate and explain any sort of centered principles about you. The first story you begin is the last story you finished with, because it always comes back to the moral of the story. The second story you start, finishes second to last. The third story you start finishes third to last and so on.

Nested loops work a bit like a friend telling you a story in their life who tells you a story about a wise person in their life who taught them something really amazing. And then they took those lessons and they did something else with those lessons and they shared those lessons with someone else. And then that person did something great. Then you end each story as you're coming back to the centre point.

Useful for:

  • Explaining the process of how you were inspired
  • Using analogies to explain a central concept
  • Showing how wisdom is passed along to you

4.Sparklines

This unique technique is a way of mapping presentation structures where you contrast our ordinary world with an ideal, improved world – comparing what is with what could be. By doing this the storyteller draws attention to the problems we have in our society, our personal lives, our business, creating and fuelling a desire for change in the audience. There stories normally start with “Imagine if…” It's a highly emotional technique that is sure to motivate your audience to support you.

Useful for:

  • Inspiring your audience to take action
  • Creating hope and excitement
  • Creating a following

5.In Media Res

This is when you being the story in the heat of the action, before starting over at the beginning to explain how you got there. You drop your audience right into the most exciting part of the story – the action – where they’ll be gripped from the beginning and will stay engaged to find out what happens. But you need to be careful not to give too much away. Try hinting at something bizarre or unexpected – something that needs more explanation, give just enough to keep them hooked, as you go back and set the scene of the story.

Useful for:

  • Grabbing attention from the start
  • Keep an audience craving resolution
  • Focusing attention on a pivotal moment of the story

6.Converging ideas

Converging ideas is a speech structure that shows the audience how different strands of thinking came together for form one product or idea. It can be used to show the birth of a movement or explain how a single idea was the culmination of several great minds working towards one goal. Similar to Nested Loops, the uniqueness is that here you can show how several equally important stories came to a single strong conclusion.

An example of this is Larry Page and Sergey Brin who didn’t like each other when they first met in 1995 at Stanford’s PhD program. However they found themselves working on a project together which became the basis of Google.

Useful for:

  • Showing how great minds come together
  • Demonstrating how a development occurred at a certain point in history
  • Showing how symbiotic relationships have formed

7.False Start

This story is when you begin to tell a seemingly predictable story, before unexpectedly disrupting it and beginning all over again. You lure your audience into a false sense of security and then shock them by turning the tables.

This format is great for talking about a time that you failed in something and were forced to ‘go back to the start’ and reassess. It’s ideal for talking about the things that you learnt from that experience, or the innovating way that solved that problem. Best of all, it’s a quick attention hack which will disrupt your audience’s expectations and surprise them into paying closer attention to your message.

Useful for:

  • Disrupting audience expectations
  • Showing the benefits of a flexible story
  • Keeping the audience engaged

8.Petal Structure

Here you tell your stories one by one before retuning back to the centre. The petals can overlap as one story introduces the next, but each should be a complete narrative in itself. In doing so, you can weave a rich tapestry of evidence around your central theory, or strong emotional impressions around your idea. By showing your audience how all these key stories are related to one another, you leave them feeling the true importance and weight of your message.

Useful for:

  • Demonstrating how strands of a story or process are interconnected
  • Show how several scenarios relate back to one idea
  • Letting multiple speakers talk around a central theme

Those are the eight different technique structures that I encourage you to take some time now to sit back, relax and resonate on which of these could work for you.

New chapter – Your Turn

I hope you had a chance to go back and review your notes, and to also start making a list of the kind of stories that you want to share and how you wish to share them. Because now we begin a new chapter and this is where it's your turn. This is where it's now on you to actually take action and to review this particular webinar. Look at all the information that's available for you and start to make notes. Start to look at those stories.

As I said before:

  1. What kind of messages do you wish to share?
  2. Who do you wish to share those with?
  3. How do you plan to share that particular story?

Because remember there were three key aspects to storytelling 101:

  1. How to use storytelling in your business
  2. Core messages
  3. 8 Storytelling techniques

Remember that storytelling is an integral part of marketing your business. It creates emotion. It compells the listener or the reader to build that connection with you. It creates interest. It peaks desire. It gives an opportunity for people to come back, ask you questions and communicate with you, not at a structured, cold level, but rather at an emotional humanistic level, which is the key here.

Remember the marketing blueprint which takes on all of those areas. Lead generation nurture journey, prospect experience, and sales conversion all require an element of storytelling, which is going to be important for building your business success.

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