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The Art of Storytelling

In a world now built around social media, quick video clips, and even shorter articles, getting – and holding – people’s attention is trickier than ever. Attention spans are short and if you want to connect with audiences, have them stop scrolling, and read up on your products and services, then you have to find a way to not only be relevant to their needs, but also relatable.


Cue storytelling. Strong storytelling skills are not unlike developing a strong brand, and if creating narratives to showcase your products or services may seem like a psychological trick to acquire new clients, that’s because it is. People often make choices – or purchases! – based on feelings and the most effective marketing strategies find ways to not only emotionally connect with a specific customer base, but also relate to it.


For example, Subaru commercials underscore the durability of their cars by creating stories that revolve around the growth of a family; dad’s car suddenly becomes the teenager’s car, not only because the Subaru has lasted that long, but because it’s also a safe vehicle he can trust his kid to drive. The Billie shaving brand has done away with the shiny, polished shaving ads of yester-year. Instead, they showcase women with real body hair using their razors in places not often shown in traditional ads. The result? Bigger shaving brands have followed suit, adopting bolder commercials tactics that celebrate women’s real bodies using their products in a way that feels authentic.


Making your customer base feel seen and understood is a key component to keeping them for life.


Think About Your Sales Funnel

To sell to your audience, you have to know your audience. Think about where you’d meet your ideal customer on their buyer’s journey; what challenge of theirs you’d need to resolve with your product or service. Use that to begin crafting the story that is most likely to grab – and hold onto – their attention. The goal is to tell a story that will turn a casual observer into a customer.


Focus on the Audience

Effective storytelling isn’t necessarily about you and your company; it’s about your customer. Developing a loyal customer base begins with that initial spark and telling the right story many times over will result in viewers associating your brand with a feeling, and perhaps also a cause. Today more than ever, consumers like knowing that their dollars are being used to support positive efforts and companies that inspire positive change. Subaru not only hangs its hat on the humans that make up a family, but also the pets that are viewed to be just as valuable. As a result, they have partnered with the ASPCA for the past 13 years for their annual Share the Love Event® –  a national charity that helps thousands of animals across the country.


Creating a loyal customer base means you’re making them a part of your story, perhaps even the hero of that story. Buy a Subaru and you might be saving the lives of our beloved four-legged friends. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with that effort?
Another great example of knowing one’s audience? Washington County, Maryland’s local government – in conjunction with the Washington County Health Department – launched their Threads of Hope campaign to increase awareness for behavioral health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a multi-pronged marketing approach that spanned digital ads, video, and billboard advertisements, Washington County was able to connect with its community and encourage safe practices among its residents.


Use Images and Videos

The adage goes that a picture is worth a thousand words; in marketing, it might be worth thousands of dollars. Using images and videos in your brand’s storytelling can enhance a potential customer’s emotional journey and could, again, turn them into a lifelong customer.


Visuals are processed more quickly by the brain, and they often leave a lasting impression that can’t always be achieved through simple text. When posting content, whether on your website or social media platforms, consider using images and videos to break up the text. Not only does it make the content more digestible (and scrollable), but it also encourages audiences to keep reading, keep exploring.


Set Yourself Apart from Others

Find something that can set your company apart from the competition. When your audience is done learning about your brand, what do you want them to remember? Often, it’s the way a message is delivered that sticks with people long after they’ve closed out of a site. There are many well-known shaving brands out there, but Billie’s subscription services have exploded since its launch, in great part due to its powerful advertising. So much so that Venus has followed suit in their televised ads.
Find what that secret ingredient is for your company’s story and then execute it in a way that feels authentic, consistent, and honest.


Get the Most Out of Your Content Marketing with Effective Storytelling and SEO

Part of effective storytelling in content marketing is making sure that you get in front of as many eyes as possible. Maximizing SEO efforts is critical to ensuring your company’s message and brand don’t fall to the wayside. It’s the last piece of the puzzle but it might be the most important one. After all, what good is a strong brand when no one is familiar with it?

Nikoletta Gjoni

by Nikoletta Gjoni, Project Manager

As a graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) with a degree in English Literature and Journalism, Niki's passion has always been storytelling and all the forms it can take. As such, her professional experience has ranged from working in cable news to holding communications and marketing director roles in the nonprofit sector. She enjoys connecting with audiences through strategic branding and marketing approaches and believes a good story will almost always win someone over for a new product or experience.

Outside of work, Niki is an award-nominated fiction and creative nonfiction writer, as well as a manuscript editor and creative writing coach for new and young writers. She enjoys traveling, eating good food, supporting indie bookstores, and combatting writer's block, among other things.

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