Debunking 6 myths about storytelling
I get it. It might sound like a totally wrong strategy. Companies that are used to communicating news, prices and products might have a hard time making the switch to storytelling. But it really isn’t as difficult as it may seem. It’s about seeing the bigger picture and not getting stuck in the compelling messages of your latest sales campaign. And the one doesn’t exclude the other. You don’t have to rework your entire content strategy. It’s enough to add good storytelling – which is timeless and can do its work while you are sleeping!
Which stories do you remember most?
As a journalist, I’ve written articles based on true stories for over 25 years. From my experience, a good story is one that people remember. When you meet your close friends over dinner, you probably won’t tell them about a pricing campaign you remember. We’ve told stories all through human history, and we'll never stop doing it. It brings us together. The companies that manage to communicate their stories are the ones that are usually remembered and have the most fans and followers.
As much as I love good storytelling, I’m also fed up with reading this kind of article, where a content marketing specialist shares their “Best tips for successful storytelling”. But I see it as my responsibility to share my knowledge – which is always a good storytelling principle. So, below I’ve collected a few myths that I’m more than happy to bust.
Six common storytelling myths:
1. “Our business is so complex that storytelling doesn’t work for us”
Many companies think it won’t work to create stories based on their advanced, technical, complicated, or even dull business. However, a skilled content marketing expert knows that often it isn’t the innovation itself or the company’s production or best-selling products that are at the centre of the story. So, what if your products or services are complicated? An experienced editor can dig in to find the stories that catch your target group's attention and get them interested in your business.
2. “Storytelling is expensive”
No, it doesn’t have to be – unless you hire a famous writer or have someone from Hollywood direct your videos. For compelling storytelling, you need to put in the time to discover the core story. It's worth your while, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. And then comes the next step – how do we get the story out there? Where and how will it be published and spread? It’s often an additional cost, but nothing that will break the bank.
3. “We already have an About Us page on our website where we tell our story”
Nice one! Many companies forget to tell the founders’ story and the early days. But storytelling is so much more than “how we got started”. For example, there’s the story about how your products or services simplify life for your customers. And the stories about your unique raw materials or how you collaborate with the users to develop your products. There are loads of stories just waiting to be told that can strengthen your brand and client relations.
4. “Storytelling isn’t true”
It’s essential to dispel this myth. At the same time, I understand that it may arise as some associate storytelling with fairy tales. But for content marketing to work, you need to base your stories on real life. Why, you may ask. Because it gets so much better, edgier and more likely to hit the bullseye. At Spoon Agency, we always work with true stories. We know that our clients, and in turn, their customers, appreciate that we have both feet firmly on the ground.
5. “Our customers don’t care about stories – they want low prices”
In some markets with downward pressure on prices, the price will always be decisive for many customers. But what happens if you use captivating customer case stories to describe the use of your products and services? Or tell inspiring stories about situations where what you offer plays a critical part? No customer will look down on you for wanting to create a close relationship with them. The trick is to keep the story relevant and adjust the message to the right stage of the customer journey. Or why not to the aftermarket, when your client might need support? Your relationship doesn't end when you close the sale.
6. “We don’t have any good channels to communicate our stories”
You don’t need your own website or social media channels to house your stories. Good stories can live in temporary, bought channels, such as in a native advertising campaign, or procured in one of your partners’ channels. The best alternative is earned channels, where others post stories about you on their own initiative, and which help you get a wider reach. These stories generally have high credibility and a better chance of sticking in people’s memory. (Of course, we can help you with a strategy to achieve that!)
Hannah Sjöström , content strategist at Spoon