Remember the days of sitting cross-legged on the classroom floor, completely absorbed as your grade school teacher read a story aloud? Storytelling is a powerful tool of engagement—for all ages—and it’s the basis for good business communications, too. Each of your communications is an opportunity to engage your audience like that cross-legged child who just can’t wait to hear the end of the story.
Stop informing, start compelling.
Our ability to empathize with the people we hear about in stories is what keeps us turning pages—or scrolling down pages, for that matter. From fairy tales to soap operas to Facebook, people have been hungry for a good story line since the dawn of time. It’s how we’re programmed. So, rather than presenting consumers with a wash of information about your business, framing communications with good storytelling tactics helps consumers see how your company is different.
This doesn’t mean resurrecting your eighth grade composition class with every communication. Rather, if you can think of longer communications – like blog posts and speeches – simply in terms of having a beginning, middle and end, they’ll instantly become more compelling.
Here are some basic storytelling and good communication tips:
Simplify your message with a beginning, middle and end:
I once had a great English teacher who told her students “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell ‘em what you told them” as advice for how to structure a good essay. Modern day communications are not much different, if you think about it. A headline is the basic way we “tell ‘em what we’re going to tell them,” and the body copy tells them the story. The closing, or wrap-up, is where we “tell ‘em what we told them.” Easy, right?
Make sure your story has a climax:
Just like any good novel, good business communication helps solve a problem your audience has. What is your promise? To make their life easier? To sell something cheaper? Whatever it is, make sure your communication includes a solution to a well-known problem.
Before you write one word, be sure to ask yourself the following question: “If I were the target audience, what’s in it for me (WIIFM)?” In other words, why should your audience care about the message you are trying to communicate? If you’re telling your audience about features (this widget is made of steel, the car has automatic air bags, etc.), you’re not communicating something they’ll necessary connect with. Think about why they should care – e.g. the car has automatic air bags so your life can be saved in a head-on collision. This is far more compelling than simply talking about air bags and quite honestly adds a visual that will stick with them for a bit.
Using your communications to tell a story about your business can engage your consumers and help them see the value of your products and services. Information without context is forgettable, whereas a team of skilled writers can use narrative to paint a more human picture of your business, a story your consumers will take home with them after the bell rings.
Need help giving your communications beginnings, middles and ends? Learn more about our ghost writing services in this post.