The fact is stories are fundamental to how we communicate as human beings. Since we were knee high, we have been learning through stories.
In business if you tell the right story and you can capture attention, entertain, enlighten, and persuade all in just a few minutes.
The reason stories work so well is because they are memorable and shareable — and those are two of the most important aspects of great content marketing piece.
I think we can agree stories matter, but the question is how do you tell them effectively in business?
What, specifically, makes for a good marketing story?
There are five critical components to using when storytelling in business.
Let’s explore the components needed to build a compelling content marketing piece, for your business.
To help I’ve created a FREE download that will help you create your Business Story Framework you can grab it HERE
The first thing a great story needs is a hero so let’s start there…
1). The Hero
Good stories are about someone, but the common mistake made by entrepreneurs is make their business the hero of the story.
You often see this approach in mainstream advertising, (“purchase our mouthwash or you’ll become a social outcast and die alone”), however, this type of self centred approach is typically ignored by most people.
If you want to create a compelling content marketing story, the key is to make your customer the hero.
Let’s define what a hero is?
The hero is the person who is transformed, the one who moves from struggle to success, from an ordinary person into someone extraordinary as the story progresses.
For a hero to be created you need movement, that means you need a goal for them to achieve.
2). The Goal
The role of a good entrepreneur is to solve your customer’s problem. In other words, you are in the business of customer transformation.
To do this successful you first need to understand your customer’s current state and then recognise what their desired state is.
The idea of current to desired state is something I refer to frequently with members of the Marketers Club. This principle can be applied by almost any business owner to any prospect or situation.
If you look at your prospects or customers what type of transformation are they seeking?
Do they want to experience a health transformation?
A relationship transformation?
A wealth transformation?
A personal growth transformation?
Or something else?
You need to consider…
- What will they physically look like after the transformation?
- What will they be able to do that they can’t do currently?
- What will they have that they don’t have now?
- What new belief structure will they hold?
- What new connections or relationships will they have?
- Who will they become?
Until you walk in your customer’s shoes and truly understand their goals and dreams you won’t have a marketing story.
Instead you’ll have just have lists of features and benefits.
Download your free Cheat Sheet to map your customer Current to Desired State.
3). The Roadblock
If it was easy for your customers to transform the part of their life they want to improve they wouldn’t need you. But the fact is it’s not easy.
Roadblocks are what make stories interesting. As I pointed out in the Current to Desired State model, there is a gap between the two points.
This is the gap between where your client IS and where they want to BE.
A vital component of any hero’s journey is how they overcame the obstacles and moved from point A to point B.
This is what makes it a compelling story.
Invariably your customers will face two types of roadblocks along the journey to their goal.
There are external and internal factors they may encounter and it is usually the internal ones that are more interesting and impactful.
What are the roadblocks for your customers?
What is getting in the way of them attaining their desired outcome?
Even more importantly is the question of what emotional and psychological roadblocks they have created for themselves?
What inner limitations must they overcome if they are to reach their goal?
4). The Mentor
You may be wondering if your customer is the hero where does that leave you?
If your customer is Luke Skywalker, you’re Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re the wise mentor who simply provides the essential information and tools necessary to allow the customer (the hero) to attain his or her goal.
The key to empowering marketing message is one that emphasises that your customer’s journey to success was a result of their own effort and work.
Attempting to position your business as one that can solve all your customer’s ills without them making any effort is a mistake.
This approach only results in you attracting the wrong type of clients.
If you end up with a group of customers who think you have magic powers or can wave a wand and fix everything for them. You will ultimately have a client base that blames you for their short comings instead of looking in the mirror and taking personal responsibility for the implementation of a product or service.
Your role is to guide, coach, mentor, support and help.
5). The Moral
When you’re telling a marketing story, make sure you spell out the moral of your story.
You’re not in the story telling business, you’re in the marketing business, so that means your story needs a clear moral.
Your stories will…
- Shine a light on your hero customer who bravely overcame obstacles and attained their goal.
- Prove your business can help customers to become better versions of themselves.
- Demonstrate how customers can overcome external and internal roadblocks to gain what they want.
You still must complete the story by coming back to clearly spell out what your audience should do next, or what their main takeaway should be.
Sophisticated story tellers may choice to let the audience figure out the moral of the story for themselves, content marketers understand this is a mistake.
In a world filled with noise and distraction, such subtleties are fraught with danger.
As a marketer, you can’t be afraid to explicitly spell out, LOUD AND CLEAR the next step or direction to be taken. In the world of the marketer Clarity is King.
To start designing your Business Story be sure to download the Free Framework we use to design all our stories. GRAB IT HERE.
Bonus Tip: The truth
While there are many important components to a good marketing story there is none more so than the truth. The importance of the truth was best summed up by 19th century copywriter John Powers when he said, “Be interesting. Tell the truth. And if you can’t tell the truth, change what you’re doing so you can.”
In other words, live the truth.
The fact is the more honest you are willing to be about your business, the people you serve and the problems you help solve, the more loyalty you will find you create.
For a story to be remembered and shared it needs a touch of the remarkable, and in the world we live in today, honesty can be one of the most remarkable story elements of all.
P.S. The secret to attracting clients, quality clients is to share a story that will inspire them, provide a pathway and position your experts without ever needing to get salesy or pushy. It truly works like magic.
Download your FREE template to start building your story today.