Your New 3-Step Guide to Storytelling

Storytellers. It’s not just a show on VH1 in which Phil Collins debunks all the myths about what “In the Air Tonight” REALLY means.

It’s now also a euphemistic title so many of us marketing professionals give ourselves in lieu of a tired “ad person” moniker. Though some may roll their eyes, “storyteller” has become a more accurate description of what marketing people are doing these days, certainly much more than simply “ad woman” or “PR guy,” especially when you appreciate the step that content marketing has taken into the digital limelight. After all, a brand’s story is infinitely more interesting than the product or service it provides. Consumers know that, and marketers are beginning to catch on.

But how do you turn your organization’s message into a story? Start with a blog and focus on these three steps:

1. Tell YOUR Story

The key to this concept is not the story. It’s you. It’s almost comically simple, but what sets you and your organization apart from your competition is that the product or service you offer is not theirs. Your organization is different and, more importantly, so are the individuals within it. But don’t stop there; don’t simply lean on what sets you apart. All companies are different. Instead, lean on what makes yours compelling and your content will be just that.

2. Write for People

Always remember that you’re talking to a person. As marketers, we love using the terms B2B and B2C. In a certain sense, it helps us think about the mindset of the person reading it. But even though that individual may have more decision-making power or is more interested in some in-depth, expert-level information, he or she still wants to read something interesting, compelling and (at least a little bit) entertaining. Whether you are working with a client or writing blogs for your own organization, ask yourself: Who is this for and what story might they want to hear?

3. Put a Promise in the Lead

Andrew Stanton is an American screenwriter and film director, and he has had a hand in telling some of the most iconic stories in the last 20 years of American cinema. He has worked on titles like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Up, John Carter and more. In a riveting TED Talk about story, he tells us to make our audience a promise. Not that they’ll win more sales overnight or that they’ll cut costs in half by the end of the quarter, but simply that what they’re about to embark upon will be worth it. Promise your reader right away that relevant information lies ahead and they’ll be engaged until the last punctuation mark.

You and your brand have a story. It’s up to you to tell it.

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