In the second installment of our The Art of StorySelling series, we’re digging into what makes a good brand story and exploring tips and techniques for creating stories that sell.

You’ve done the work. You’ve crafted relevant, insightful blog posts. You have topic clusters packaged for easy access. And you’ve poured countless hours into finding and refining your keywords. So, where is all the traffic?

If you’ve put in the time and effort to your content marketing and are still scratching your head wondering why you’re not reaching your ranking potential or folks still aren’t engaging, then your marketing may be missing a key ingredient: storyselling.

If you caught part one in our series, you already know that storyselling combines the art of storytelling with the process of selling. When planned and executed well, it helps you strategically deliver stories that move your audience to action or change their behavior thus generating leads, increasing conversions, boosting your brand, and your bottom line.

Knowing what storyselling is and understanding how to do it are two completely different things. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn how to write content that sells.

What Makes a Good Story?

When it comes to crafting a good story in marketing, there are a few specific elements that can help you create a message that resonates with your audience and drives action. These elements include:

A clear message: Your story should have a clear and compelling message that speaks to your audience’s needs and desires. What problem are you solving? What value are you offering? Make sure your message is communicated clearly and consistently throughout your marketing story.

Emotional resonance: Just like in any good story, your marketing message should tap into your audience’s emotions. Whether you’re aiming for humor, empathy, or inspiration, make sure your story connects with your audience on a deep, emotional level.

A relatable protagonist: Your audience should be able to see themselves in the protagonist of your marketing story. This could be a customer who has faced the same challenges as your target audience, or a spokesperson who embodies your brand’s values and personality.

A compelling plot: Your marketing story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, with a plot that keeps your audience engaged from start to finish. This could be a customer success story, a product demonstration, or a brand origin story, among other possibilities.

Visual and auditory elements: To truly bring your marketing story to life, it’s important to incorporate visual and auditory elements that capture your audience’s attention and create a memorable experience. This could include videos, images, infographics, and other multimedia elements that help convey your message in a dynamic and engaging way.

A good story is something that can be easy to read and easy to relate to. When done right, an authentic brand story:

  • Makes you memorable
  • Differentiates you as desirable
  • Brings your brand to life
  • Gives you a distinct competitive advantage
  • Creates a responsive target market
  • Positions you as a visionary in your field

Your Customer is the Hero

The hero’s journey is a storytelling framework that has been used in literature and film for centuries. It involves a hero embarking on a journey of transformation, facing challenges, and ultimately emerging victorious, having learned something important along the way.

In marketing, the hero’s journey can be used to create compelling brand stories that engage and inspire audiences. The hero of the story is the customer, who is on a journey to solve a problem or overcome a challenge. The brand serves as the guide or mentor, helping the customer on their journey and providing the tools and resources they need to succeed.

It typically follows a structure that includes the following stages:

  1. The call to adventure: The customer realizes they have a problem that needs solving and begins their journey.
  2. Meeting the mentor: The customer meets the brand, which serves as the mentor and provides guidance and resources.
  3. Crossing the threshold: The customer takes action and enters a new world, facing challenges and obstacles along the way.
  4. The road of trials: The customer faces a series of challenges and setbacks that test their resolve and determination.
  5. The ultimate challenge: The customer faces their biggest challenge yet and must overcome it to achieve their goal.
  6. Transformation: The customer emerges from their journey transformed, having learned something important and achieved their goal.
  7. Return: The customer returns to their original world, now armed with the knowledge and resources to continue their journey.

By following the hero’s journey framework, brands can create marketing stories that not only engage and inspire audiences but also position the brand as a trusted and helpful guide in the customer’s journey.

6 Tips for Stories That Sell

Benefits of storyselling are clear, but where do you start in creating your own winning content? Here are 6 simple yet effective keys to content marketing that will help you build your business with content that resonates with your audience.

  1. Pique your audience’s curiosity. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. Think about your own habits of scrolling through social media. What makes you stop and click on a post to learn more? Your story will also need a catchy, memorable title or tagline that attracts the interest of your audience, pulling them in to read the rest of your story.
  2. Be open and honest. Just like with face-to-face conversations, honesty and transparency go a long way in effective storyselling. People need to be heard and have their feelings, concerns, and convictions validated. So goes with storyselling. Being transparent and real with your audience will build trust and credibility.
  3. Go for that personal connection. Transparency and a personal connection go hand in hand. The third pillar of effective storyselling is to establish a personal connection with your audience through your story. Position your brand as a way to fix a problem your audience faces or how it relates to their struggles.
  4. Celebrate the wins. Utilize a ‘before and after’ strategy to demonstrate how your brand will make people’s lives easier, and provide solutions to their challenges after they engage with you. This tactic creates an itch with your audience that they need your help—the “selling” of storyselling.
  5. Be empathetic. Walk a mile in your audience’s shoes and include these fears or moments that matter in your story. Writing with empathy relates to tip 2 on honesty and transparency. People relate more strongly to brands who echo the same values, opinions, and feelings they have. Assure your audience through your writing that you’ve been where they’ve been, and you know what they are going through.
  6. Go out on a high note. Conclude your story with a positive outlook, so your audience will feel good about your brand and what you’re asking them to do. Be confident, and assure your audience that they’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief because of the solutions you’re offering.

The End

Storyselling is the secret sauce that can transform your content marketing from blah to boom. By telling stories that resonate with your target audience, you can build strong emotional connections with them, establish trust and credibility, and ultimately drive more sales.

If you’re ready to learn more about storytelling in marketing, check out the next part of our series, which gives tips for adding storyselling to your marketing strategy, then download our whitepaper, Building Blocks for Telling Stories that Sell. And if you’re looking for more personalized guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us – we’d be happy to help!

Remember, great stories have the power to captivate, inspire, and move people to action. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to tell your brand’s story and connect with your target audience on a deeper level. Start crafting your brand’s story today and watch your marketing results soar!

FREE DOWNLOAD: Tips and Strategies to Supercharge Your Sales with Content Marketing

Now that you understand the basics, download Building Blocks for Telling Stories that Sell. It’s the ultimate guide to incorporating storytelling into your marketing strategy and boosting results!

This post was originally posted in 2017 under the title StorySelling: The Secret Weapon that will Transform Your Marketing. Content and title have been updated to reflect current content marketing trends.