storytelling techniques

5 Storytelling Techniques You Should Use For Your Marketing Efforts

When it comes to any type of marketing effort, engaging your audience is of utmost importance. Keeping your audience interested is probably the biggest challenge. If they lose interest, they’ll become difficult to convert. To ensure that your audience remains engaged, you need to use the power of brand storytelling.

Why is Storytelling Crucial to Marketing?

Consuming information without context is rarely interesting or engaging. Think about how it felt to go to school and study for tests. Few students actually enjoy doing this. On the other hand, almost everyone enjoys watching TV shows or going to the movies. The reason is simple: if information is presented using storytelling, it becomes more enjoyable and easier to retain.

Think about it this way: let’s say you’re talking to a friend. Your friend is explaining how they just bought a new blender and they’re going over all of its features. Sounds boring, right? That’s because it is. However, what if they explained how they had to go on a diet because their doctor told them they were on the brink of having a heart attack? What if a friend recommended that they begin making healthy juices and smoothies? What if their original blender exploded everywhere the first time they tried to use it?

At this point, you’re invested in their story and you’re interested in how their new blender solved their problem. This is because they kept you engaged using storytelling instead of just dumping information with no context into your lap. And that’s how marketing works as well.

5 Storytelling Techniques to Keep in Mind

digital storytelling

There are many different storytelling techniques you can use to boost your marketing efforts. Here are five techniques that you should be sure to implement to boost your storytelling capabilities:

1. Always put your audience first

To truly engage your audience, you need to make sure that you understand their perspective. If they don’t feel like your content is tailored specifically to them, they’ll feel disinterested and tune out. As such, the protagonist in your story needs to either be them or represent them. Your story should revolve around their pain points. To ensure that you create content using their perspective, you’ll need to develop buyer personas.

2. Use traditional story structure

If you want to build a better story, consider doing what Hollywood films do: they stick to traditional storytelling structures. Such stories include a beginning, middle, and end. In the beginning, the character is introduced along with the inciting incident (the problem that needs to be solved). Their journey towards solving the problem and the struggles they face in doing so is detailed in the middle. In the end, there’s a climax and resolution.

Using traditional story structure is smart because people are familiar with it — and most importantly, they’re comfortable with it.

3. Make sure the conflict is clear

Any good story needs to have conflict. This is especially true for your marketing stories. The best way to ensure that there’s enough conflict is by making sure that the stakes are high enough. The protagonist must be facing a seemingly impossible challenge, and only with hard work will they be able to triumph at the end. For example, let’s say that one of your buyer personas wants to lose weight. They’ve been told by their doctor that they have to lose weight immediately or they risk health issues, making the stakes high.

4. Keep the format in mind

Writing for the page is much different than writing for video. People read things differently than they say them. Don’t write your content the way you speak as it will likely come off as unprofessional. On the other hand, don’t write the dialogue for a video the way you’d write a blog post because it won’t sound natural.

Effective storytelling is dependent on the voice and one being used, so be sure to keep the format you’re using in mind.

5. Pacing is essential

Pacing is arguably the most important element of a successful story. Poor pacing can make your story uninteresting even if it contains all the elements of a traditional story structure.

Make sure your story is always moving at a steady pace. For example, if you’re writing a 1,000-word case study about one of your products, then the inciting incident should be explained in the first paragraph. If it doesn’t show up until halfway through, odds are you’ll have lost a substantial number of readers because they’ve lost patience and nothing has happened story-wise until that point.

Use Storytelling Techniques to Engage Your Audience storytelling

To deliver your brand’s message to your target audience, you will need to be able to engage them on a personal level and keep them interested. The best way to do this is by using these five tried and true storytelling techniques.

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user generated content

Sourcing User Generated Content

One source of content generation you may not have tapped into yet is user-generated content. Content marketing is a critical component of any successful marketing strategy. However, it can take a lot of resources to produce your own content on a regular basis. Even if you’ve managed to regularly generate high-quality content, you should look for other ways to create new content for variety’s sake, such as high quality user generated content.

What Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content refers to content created by consumers and not brands. Such content includes videos, pictures, reviews, articles, and more. For instance, if a consumer takes a picture of themselves using your product and posts it on Instagram, that’s user-generated content. The following are just a few of the benefits of user-generated content:

  • Free publicity

Your audience is essentially promoting your brand on your behalf. As a result, user-generated content can help increase brand awareness.

  • Free content

Creating your own content requires a lot of resources. User-generated content requires none — your audience is creating the content for you. While you don’t own it, you can share it and reap the benefits of it.

  • Positive word of mouth

Customers trust other customers more than they trust brands. Positive user-generated content can, therefore, help to boost your brand reputation by creating trust.

How To Source Usable Generated-Content

Considering how beneficial this free content can be, you’ll want to do everything you can to encourage it. However, the biggest challenge lies in the lack of control you have over the content. You can’t control the message, format, or quality, after all. But there are a few ways that you can guide your audience to create the content that will benefit you most. The following are a few tips on how to source high-quality user-generated content:

  • Encourage 

Don’t just wait for your audience to create content relevant to your brand. You need to encourage it. For instance, hold a contest on social media in which users vote on the best submission. You can then give the winner a prize. There are many ways that you can encourage content generation.

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  • Provide clear guidelines

If you’re looking for a specific type of content, then you need to provide guidelines. For example, if you want user reviews, consider providing a basic review format. Such a format could list three broad questions that users can answer in order to generate a review.

  • Provide content creation tips

Your audience does not consist of professional content creators. As such, provide tips that they can use to create higher quality content. For instance, if you’re holding a video creation contest on YouTube or on Instagram, provide your users with a list of basic filming tips. Such tips can help cut down on the amount of poor quality content that you might receive.

  • Offer an example

If you’re looking for a specific type of content, then provide an example. When users see what you’re looking for, it will help them create the kind of content you want. For instance, if you’re hosting a picture taking contest, upload a few pictures of your own that would be considered exceptional examples. By providing an example, you also make sure that users understand your instructions more clearly.

  • Identify the channel

Make sure that your audience knows where to send it. The last thing you want is users posting their content on different platforms or sending it to you via different channels. If you’re promoting a contest, specify what platform they should post to or what hashtag they should use. Provide detailed instructions on how to submit content. By making it clear what channel you’re using, it will be easier for you to track and organize user-generated content.

  • Open a line of communication

Provide a channel through which your audience can contact you. This channel should be specifically for users who are creating content. You can do this by providing a specific support email address, a phone number, or a page they can DM on social media.

  • Monitor performance

Track how the content users create for your brand is performing. By doing so, you can identify what types are the most effective. You can then adjust your guidelines and instructions to encourage the creation of that type of content.

Enhance your Strategy Today

User-generated content can go a long way towards boosting brand trust. Not to mention that it’s a great way to expand your content marketing strategy. As such, make sure that you encourage the creation of high-quality user content. You can do this by providing your audience with general guidance and encouragement to drive effective user-generated content creation.

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