The best way to speak to your reader is by telling stories. Storytelling is universal to human beings of all ages and cultures. And we all know how stories are able to affect us on a personal level.
In marketing communications stories are commonly used when demonstrating a company’s competences in success stories. Case studies are another area where story telling is often used. But would personal stories also work on the “About Us” page or in a user manual? They do, if you tell your story in a succinct way.
Writing or telling a story is more than describing something that happens to someone somewhere.
It is not just a sequence of events with a beginning – middle part – and ending that makes a good story; above all, there needs to be a purpose: the underlying message of the story. You may want to make a point, give an insight or a learning experience. Remember the times when it was all about the moral of the story?
The following quick exercise sums up stories in the shortest possible way. Imagine the situations and find out the purpose of the stories described.
1. You show the boss what you were able to achieve under difficult circumstances.
2. Your friend explains at length how to best get to the concert on time.
3. Your trainee tells you how difficult it was to get a job and how she/he is now very happy to be here working with you.
A very simple story pattern to follow is:
Someone … a real character
Wants … is motivated to do something, has a mission, works towards a goal
But … has difficulties, faces problems
So … finds a way, a solution, a successful ending
Always keep your purpose and message in mind:
What message do you intend to convey by telling a particular story? Before you even start, make sure you know what the purpose of the story is. There’s an endless amount of reasons why a story needs to be told.
You want to grip the reader, so leave out any irrelevant details.
By focusing on the reason why you are telling your story will help you make the point you want to make. The reader will appreciate being entertained or even excited and will keep you and your message in good memory.
In marketing this means, you have successfully convinced someone by winning their sympathy with your story.
Keep practicing storytelling as an effective means to get your written message heard!