7 things SMEs should know about good stories

Recently, I had the opportunity to run a session for a group of small charities and community groups in my local area, which I called: Tell Engaging Stories.

The topic is huge, and I only had an hour and a half! I decided to go back to the basics of age-old storytelling traditions – including the West African griots.

Digital storytelling is definitely in, with the advent of social media. But, although digital media has had a great impact on the way stories are told, the principles of good storytelling remain as powerful today as they did back then.

So, what’s so great about a good story?

I’ve put together a list of 7 things to help small businesses and charities looking to articulate their brands:

1.       Good stories aren’t just good stories.

They can change the world. Your story is about more than the veneer of marketing. They can drive and shape your values, your vision and your purpose, and can inspire your audiences.

2.       Good stories are the best way to connect your audience with your brand.

Most brand strategists will tell you that the only way to distinguish your service or product from the hundreds of others out there is to focus on your story. That’s because stories can engage your audience’s emotions, imaginations, and aspirations and link them with who you are.  Getting this right is essential for your success.

3.       Good stories have a structure – a beginning, a middle and an arrival point.

Although the story may continue you have to know when to bring it home.

4.       Good stories involve a twist or turning point.

Don’t be afraid to take your reader on a journey.

5.       Good stories have a human voice.
Use active words and short sentences. Use plain English. Make it personal. Avoid jargon.

6.       Good stories aren’t just about you.

They’re inclusive. Make your audience your hero. Tune into what they’re listening to.

7.       Good stories have a purpose.

Gaining clarity on your story’s purpose – whether it’s to raise awareness of an issue, educate, attract a new market, generate sales, build brand loyalty etc – will help you understand when and how to share it.

 

If you’d like help with storytelling for your business or charity get in touch for a 15-minute Skype chat.

Photo credit: Kevin Erdvig

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