- discusses the question whether storytelling can be learned
- shows how your company can communicate coherently
- and introduces you to a 4 step program to tell your story.
Can Storytelling be learned?
You might have guessed the answer already: Yes and no.
First of all: No. Everybody can already tell a story! But this is not what we mean by learning to tell a story right. And especially for your business, telling a story does contain a few more aspects.
Second: Yes. We have to learn it. It doesn’t make any sense to publish just one story and expect this to be it. Maybe to repeat it over and over again, on different channels. We have to tell it in every color possible and let it vary a bit over time: Let it grow and evolve.
Different people telling one story
Since your company consists of various people who have different characters and roles, you might ask yourself: Who should tell what – and when?
Letting different people speak, you can either target various recipients. Or you orchestrate them and create a multifaceted, rich voice (like a choir, if you will). This way you will reach your chosen audience in a diverse way.
If you are self-employed, you can organize your business accordingly by taking into account your inner team, or the different roles you have to cover.
The richness of a voluminous voice
Showing different aspects of your business makes the user experience meaningful and valuable – provided it is orchestrated in a good way.
As mentioned in the “The power of YOUR story: Discover your narrative uniqueness”, you should determine a position which I call “the story manager”. This can be one person or a little group of people, but they should be in charge of your storytelling. In charge doesn’t mean to be responsible for coming up with new content directly, but making sure it is a) in time and b) consistent.
Who should tell your business story?
There are different types of content which add up to a story. Certain voices work well with certain media channels, every step of the way has its own approach. Here are some examples:
Insiders who know your product by heart
Let people know about your vision and how you got there. I recommend you watch this video to see how former Google SVP Amit Singhal tells his version of Google’s (search) story. Use channels like YouTube or Vimeo to produce and spread some emotional, authentic content. Let your audience follow and comment. You can share the videos on your website, blog or in social media channels as well.
Developers with an in-depth knowledge
To tell your audience about the future of your products or the industry – let someone talk who is able to look beyond what has happened so far. This works best in the form of an interview or blog post, which you can promote on Pinterest, for example.
Your customers or clients
Who could tell your story better than your clients themselves? Let them give out details about their first hand experiences. Be prepared that there might be mixed reviews in the comment sections, though. But this is what makes it all the more real – and can be a great start for a lively discussion or even the next piece of content for you. You can use Facebook or Twitter, for example.
Experts or peers from your industry
This one is not so much about your own services or products, but more about showing the overall knowledge of your business. You can provide added value for your users using external links to “authoritative” (well-known) sites. This shows your brand is in good company. Also, your clients learn more about the overall nature of your business – or about specific details you wouldn’t or couldn’t cover anyway.
You can also use your own blog, promoting a guest posting – or comment on other sites or in (social media) forums.
When should they tell their version of the story?
Start with what you have, let whoever is willing to speak first, speak. Write it down (or make a short video). You don’t have to publish everything your company produces. Once you have collected some pieces of content, you can think about your strategy. Let the story evolve naturally first.
The best storytelling technique – 4 steps to develop your own strategy
These four steps can guide you in creating your individual content strategy. Following it, you will be motivated enough to do this not only for marketing reasons, but also because you truly believe in your service or product and enjoy interacting with your clients.
In my opinion, a good content strategy needs some thorough planning (1), good implementation (2,3) and constant review (4).
Step 1: Define your vision.
Which people are you approaching? What do you want them to experience? How do you want to improve their lives? Be as specific as possible. Write down a short user story, like you are watching a person for a certain amount of time while he or she experiences a difference through your service or product. What has changed – and how?
Step 2: Find the best media channels for your target audience.
Start slowly and on a medium- to long-term basis. It is more important to be consistent than to be omnipresent (and inactive). But once you have established your routine, you can benefit from using various media by re-using content (wisely).
A content writer can help you with the research and recommend suitable media channels for your target audience.
Step 3: Find your balance – how to present your product on a specific medium and stay true to your own voice.
Every channel has its own “language”. On Instagram for example, there are many people and businesses presenting their pictures in a checkered pattern which I think is a very elegant way to provide content. (You can check my own Instagram account to see that I still have to work on that.)
Creating a certain adjusted image, it might feel like you are losing your individual voice at first. But presenting something in a way that fits into the environment doesn’t mean you don’t have to work on your content – so it will still be just as good or bad as you create it.
And don’t worry – social media channels are generous. You can develop over time and update anything within seconds, which is the great online advantage.
Step 4: Get some feedback to make sure you and your recipients are on the same page.
Invite your target audience to comment on or share your content, using simple and clear call-to-actions. You will soon learn in which cases you reached them in the intended way, and in which you have to adjust your content.
In this article I answered the question whether storytelling can be learned with a no and a yes, because whereas everybody can of course tell a story, you should develop a good content strategy for your business that suits your clients. A content writer can help you developing and evolving this strategy.
We also discussed how your company can communicate coherently by choosing the right people for the right purpose (and type of media).
Finally, you were introduced to a 4-step-program to tell your story. This covers the whole process including planning, implementation and review.
Follow this blog to learn more about Storytelling for your business.