Stories have been around for as long as humans have been on the planet. Tales have long been drawn and talked about to impart wisdom and entertain others. But Storytelling isn’t just for writers and authors of novels and films. Storytelling in business can (and should) be an essential part of your overall marketing strategy, too.
What is storytelling in business?
The art of storytelling in business is where you tell a story rather than just share the bare facts. This makes those facts you’re sharing more exciting and memorable to the recipient. Because we all love a good story!
Stories enable you to imagine yourself as the main character. Watch a good film or read a good book, and you emotionally connect with the hero. You get invested in their quest, and you want them to succeed. And that’s no different with the stories you share in your business - you want your listeners and readers to make that connection too. You want them to feel like the hero in your stories or at least connect emotionally to them.
The benefits of using storytelling in business communication
There are so many great reasons why you should share more stories within your content. As already mentioned, stories connect with the emotions - and when you add more sensory details, your readers and listeners are more likely to emotionally connect, engage and remember the things you’re sharing with them.
That’s why it’s so important to share stories with your audience. Stories help you to:
- Connect and engage on a deeper level.
- Help make complex information simple and easier to digest.
- Build rapport and empathy between you and your audience.
- Share what’s possible for your readers and listeners.
- Inspire your audience.
- Showcase your expertise and wisdom.
- Answer questions, and solve problems.
- Entertain and engage.
How a small business can use storytelling
Stories can be used in a variety of different ways within your business. In its basic form, storytelling tends to be limited to sharing case studies and your own back story. But there are so many opportunities to use storytelling in your business - I’ve listed the various categories below.
And remember, you can use stories in different formats too. Stories can be written down in emails and blog posts, as well as being spoken in your podcasts, videos and on the stage (when we’re allowed out again after this lockdown, of course!).
The stories you can (and should) share in your business content
I like to break down the potential stories you use into six main categories:
- Your business authority
- Your expertise
- Behind the scenes
- Personal stories
- Your client stories
- Other people and their business
I tend to get my clients to think about what stories come to mind when they think about these different categories - and that’s a good exercise you can do too. If you’d like to further explore these categories, check out my recent blog post: How to use storytelling in your business content.
The pitfalls to avoid with your business storytelling
But as with anything, when it comes to sharing stories, there are pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. As shared in my recent blog post: When business storytelling isn’t working for your business, there are several things you can improve if you want to get better at telling stories.
It’s also worth remembering, as the College of Public Speaking London mentions in this blog post: What makes a bad story? - bad stories aren’t always bad ideas:
"Bad stories aren’t necessarily bad ideas but are stories not well constructed, written or told. A good story should make us ‘feel’ sad or happy, awkward or tense, excited or happy, hopeful or disappointed, or a combination of any of those emotions. A bad story won’t do these things – or worse of all it will make an audience feel the ‘wrong’ emotion."
You need to ensure you’re sharing the right story with the right audience. The timing also needs to be right, and you need to have a reason for sharing that story - a reason that is relevant to your ideal paying customers. You don’t want to share stories on topics your audience doesn’t care about or have no interest in.
Know the stories that matter to you and your business
Because not every story is suitable for sharing in your business. Your stories need to align with you, your business and your customers. Business storytelling needs to enhance your online reputation, not destroy it!
That’s why you need to get clear on the stories that matter to you and your business. So many business owners think they have no interesting stories to share. Yet, when I take clients through my Soul Story Sales® program, we uncover a whole heap of stories they can confidently share with their ideal audience.
Know the basics of a good story
Once you know what stories you are going to share, you need to ensure you’re sharing them correctly. Whether you’re sharing a story verbally or in written format, it needs to follow a basic framework - the Three-Act structure.
Setup - conflict - resolution.
You also need to ensure you have the basics of good storytelling covered. This means you need to know:
- Your characters
- The setting
- What the conflict is, and
- The resolution
Business storytelling is a lot simpler than writing a novel - because your conflict is often the problem your ideal paying customer is facing, and the resolution is the end result they want!
Tips for telling a good business story
So when it comes to telling a good business story, there are some tips that will make it easier for you to do. The essential tips to remember are - keep it simple and make it relatable. If you’re writing your story down (such as in an email or blog post), remember to write as you talk - you can (thankfully!) drop the perfect grammatical rules of writing.
There are several essential tips you need to know about, if you want to share stories in your business. I’ve written another blog post to go into them in greater detail - you’ll find that list here: 10 essential tips for authentic business storytelling.
Storytelling has been around for as long as we have. It’s also something that will continue - for as long as we want to communicate with each other. That’s why storytelling in business is an essential skill to master and an essential strategy to add to your marketing and content creation strategies. The above advice gives you an overview to help get you started and on the way to connecting with your audience on a deeper, more authentic level.
Need some additional help with your stories?
For many female entrepreneurs, the biggest stumbling block is knowing what to talk about - and that’s why I created the Soul Story Sales® program. It helps female entrepreneurs uncover the stories in their life and business, so they can use them to create authentic marketing messages that resonate with their ideal clients.
By the time my clients have finished the 5-session program, they know exactly what makes them special and unique, and they have the confidence to put more of themselves and the passion they feel, into their business. So if you’d like to have some of that for yourself, you can learn more about the Soul Story Sales program here.
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