Imagine the first time you told a story. What was that like?

  • What were the challenges you faced when you told it?
  • How did people respond to it?
  • What did you change about it when you told it the next time?

A story changes based on a number of influences because it has to. You don’t tell a story just to tell it – you tell a story to make an impact.

This is transformational storytelling, and Jordan Bower, Chief Storyteller at Transformational Storytelling, took the stage at Content Jam to talk all about it.

If you take away one thing about transformational storytelling it’s this (it’s sort of 3 things, but they’re short and easy to remember):

  1. Everybody had a story
  2. Everyone is living in other stories
  3. You can change your story

Communication is different for every person, which means a story has to be transformed for different people as well.

What is storytelling?

As Jordan Bower puts it, “leadership is storytelling, and leaders are storytellers.

Storytelling helps to define the value of our work. Every campaign and every project has a story behind it. Stories are how we can relate to the world – and how customers can relate to your business
Why is transformational storytelling important for content marketing?

Everyone tells stories about themselves and about others. When we are aware of those stories, we overcome the barriers to creating more human connections. When we transform stories for different people, it unlocks new potential for the way we organize, lead and work.

Through this, we learn how to work with the emotions and perspectives of other people, and act accordingly. This is essential in content marketing.

Transformational storytelling is designed to inspire change by “updating” our stories to our current realities – which especially includes the people who hear them.

Transformational storytelling:

  • Improves persuasion, motivation, and influence
  • Develops creative thinking skills
  • Helps you connect authentically with customers
  • Helps you connect to people in-the-moment

Transformational stories influence customer behavior by showing new perspectives and exposing unexpected solutions. A story includes your audience in the dialogue and makes the experience about them, not you.

And that’s exactly how you want it to be in your marketing. After all, you’re not trying to convince yourself to invest time and money in your company.

It may seem silly to think that you need to practice storytelling and learn how to do it, but as Jordan showed attendees during Content Jam, it’s a much more thoughtful process than simply sharing a funny anecdote.

The 4 stages of transformational storytelling

Wait, isn’t storytelling just Beginning, Middle, End?

Nope.

Here are the 4 stages of transformational storytelling according to  Jordan Bower:

  1. Develop storytelling source material
  2. Empathize with ideal audiences
  3. Build a storytelling prototype
  4. Integrate the story across multiple touchpoints

Basically what the steps come down to are:

  1. Create the “stuff” of your story: the main points, the people involved, the setting. as a mechanism for teasing out the Story beneath the story.
  2. Use different types of qualitative research to better understand your audience’s perspective. It shows you the areas where your shared views overlap.
  3. Build a prototype story designed to verify our the purpose of the story and reveal its hidden depth.
  4. Integrate this knowledge across different audience perspectives.

“The goal of transformational storytelling is to reveal the powerful emotional resonance that connects all stories together.” – Transformational Storytelling

Why is transformational storytelling important to a bunch of content marketers?

Well, the easy answer to that is because we are inherently storytellers by trade.

  • We tell the story of our products, and why they are helpful, or the better choice for a given setting.
  • We tell the story of our companies, and how they make an impact in a given industry.

But simply telling stories is not enough. We have to tell stories in more ways than one if they are going to reach more than one person.

In Transformational Storytelling, a narrative is retold as a multi-faceted and always-changing emotional relationship between an internal organization and an external audience.