Since pre-history, humans have been using the art of storytelling in order to communicate. Cavemen drew pictures on cave walls depicting great hunts and deeds. As language developed, oral tradition started, and individuals would tell and retell the same stories over and over again to communicate their history and values. To supplement our forgetful minds, we found ways to preserve these stories on stone, on paper and, eventually, electronically.
There are lots of stories that provide pure entertainment value, but most stories strive to teach us something, whether it’s a lesson, our history or perhaps an insight into the human condition. If you think about some of the movies that you’ve seen that you can still recall and enjoy years later, they likely contained a lesson that stuck with you.
Do you remember, “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”? Sure you do — it’s from The Wizard of OZ! Dorothy has an amazing encounter after her home is struck by a tornado, and the journey teaches her to love and value the individuals that she has in her life.
Ok, how about, “Houston, we have a problem”? Of course you remember Tom Hanks delivering that classic line as Jim Lovell in Apollo 13. The simple understatement contained in the line is even more profound considering that most individuals who watched the film were familiar with the story it was telling and knew that the astronaut’s troubles were just beginning. We love that story and film because of the fantastic triumph of the human spirit that they portray.
What about, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”? You know that one: the Godfather, right? What’s the lesson there? I don’t know — maybe, don’t mess with the mafia?
The point is, these lines were embedded within great stories that touched us and taught us something. We enjoyed them and could relate to them, and we remember them to this day.
What if you could do that for your clients?
One of the most effective strategies for a business blog is storytelling. You can tell stories about your clients and your products or services. One of the best ideas, however, is to tell stories about your actual business. What do those stories look like? Here are six different kinds of stories you can tell along with some general tips on great storytelling.
Stories About How You Got Started
Some of the most classic stories are posts about a business’s history. You probably already have a summary of how you got started on your About page, but taking the time to delve into some specific stories will be fun for you and really interesting for some of your fans and followers.
Stories About How You Work
If you are in the consulting business or are providing some other kind of service, potential customers are always going to be wondering what it’s like to work with you. You can address those concerns early on by providing rich, authentic stories.
Stories That Teach
Some of the best stories are ones that include a lesson. Aesop was a master at weaving simple stories with lessons that the reader should take to heart, like the dangers of lying. Use a story to help your readers understand something.
Stories That Communicate Vision
It’s been said that the leader of a company should have three conversations with employees every day, and that one of those conversations should be about vision. Why are you in business? What do you hope to accomplish? The same three-conversation principle holds true for your blog.
Share stories with your clients about decisions you’ve made or partnerships you’ve fostered that have helped to move your vision forward.
Stories That Demonstrate Values
It’s important that, as a business, you communicate what your values are. Your values may include integrity or honesty or several others, but those values do not mean the same thing to everyone. It is your job to communicate what your values are and what they mean, both for your employees and your clients.
Stories That Overcome Objections
Finally, use stories to address common objections head-on. In every business, your customers will have reoccurring objections to your products or services that you will often need to discuss with them. Maybe it’s the price or a concern that a product or service won’t be right for them. Businesses will often offer guarantees to help assuage such fears, but a story or two about how you made good on such a guarantee can be even more powerful.
Use stories to demonstrate how you empower customers. You will go a long way in communicating your brand’s expertise. Do so one blog post at time. Spread stories out and mix them in with news stories, guides and other kinds of content to produce a well-rounded content marketing strategy.