Have you ever been so immersed in a great movie or show that you lose track of time? That’s the power of great storytelling.
But how do you leverage the attention-grabbing power of great storytelling and apply it to drive more sales? Let’s discuss why you should use storytelling techniques in your marketing, even if you’re not a professional author.
What your brand can achieve by telling great stories
A lot of positive things happen when you tell a compelling story around your brand or offer:
- You keep people’s attention for a longer period of time.
- You separate yourself from competitors.
- Your audience retains more information.
- People will resonate with your mission or cause.
When you tell your story, not only will you be more memorable, you’ll sell even more products and services as a result.
It’s in our nature to love stories
We’re social beings, and even before the written word, humans told stories to transfer important information from one person or group to the next. Our brains are wired to listen because we may learn something valuable. In some cases, the information could be life-saving.
Research from Paul Zak, author and director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, discovered that when people engage in a compelling story with an emotional arc, their oxytocin levels rise.
What’s oxytocin? It’s a neurochemical responsible for empathy. Zak calls it the “moral molecule,” also known as the love hormone.
Stories are more persuasive than commands
Melanie Green, a communication professor at the University at Buffalo who studies the power of narrative, shares that stories strongly influence our attitudes and behavior.
For example, even if you share good advice with a friend, they may feel like you’re pushing them into a corner, even if it’s credible advice. And you’re more likely to get push back. Whereas telling a story (like about a time you had to end a bad relationship) will be seen less as nagging and more like telling your personal truth.
You don’t need to be the next Stephen King
There are quite a few proven frameworks for storytelling that are easy-to-follow. You don’t need exceptional creativity or pro writing skills to apply them to your brand.
Make your customer the hero
The hero’s journey framework is one of the most famous narratives ever used and is found across all media types like movies, books, and TV series. In its simplest form, it breaks down like this:
- Departure: The hero goes on an adventure.
- Initiation: The hero is victorious when it’s time to make a decision during a crisis.
- Return: The hero returns home transformed.
This framework is great for illustrating how your customers benefit from using your product or service. Make your customers the hero in your stories and your audience will
find more reasons to choose you over your competitors. This framework is also practical for testimonials and case studies.
Use this framework for founding stories or explainer videos
The Pixar story framework by Emma Coates is excellent for getting audiences emotionally invested in your mission and the success of your brand.
Here’s the framework in six steps:
- Once upon a time, there was __________.
- Every day, _____________.
- Then one day, __________.
- Because of that, _________.
- Because of that, __________.
- Until finally, ________________.
The first two steps can speak to the problems of your audience and the pain points they deal with every day. Then, in steps 3-5, you can introduce your product or service and how it helped your customers overcome the challenges mentioned earlier. Finally, highlight the new way of life your customers enjoy because of your business.
Try this short framework for video and social media marketing
The 3-act structure works well for short-form writing.
- The Setup: Where you set the scene and introduce the character(s).
- The Confrontation or “Rising action”: Presentation of a problem or build-up of tension.
- The Resolution: Blissful resolution of the problem presented.
Here’s an example of this framework in a Hyundai commercial:
The setup introduces a camping scene introducing people setting up camp. The presentation of the problem talks about how camping is typically an activity where you must pack light and can’t use any electronics. However, the scene changes and shows the characters using all types of electronics outdoors, where it isn’t easy to find power. The resolution reveals the Hyundai IONIQ 5 (an electric car) as the source of electricity.
The most straightforward formula for including stories in your content
Copywriter and founder of VeryGoodCopy.com, Eddie Shleyner, shares a refreshingly simple storytelling formula inspired by the late Anthony Bourdain. It goes like this:
- See stuff.
- Talk about how it made you feel.
- Be honest.
Sometimes it’s that simple to tell your story. If you’re honest and talk about how you’re feeling, you have a recipe for success.
Relatable stories is effective conversion copywriting
As you can see, as long as you care about your mission and can relate to your audience, there are plenty of methods to tell your story. You don’t need professional writing skills. As long as you follow any of the frameworks above, you’ll have an excellent narrative that will garner more attention for your brand than spitting out commands or facts.
Try these techniques in your next piece of content and make sure you have a solid marketing plan using tools like ActiveCampaign that can help get your message across to more people in less time. Try it now with a 14-day free trial.