A Story is a Journey

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“Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories. “A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different and the result is persuasion and sometimes action.”

Jennifer Aaker, a marketing professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business

That action is exactly what marketers work so hard to achieve. If you struggle to write narrative content, these six tips will help you incorporate sophisticated storytelling into your digital marketing efforts:

Following are interesting excerpts from an article by Brianne Carlon Rush, content director at Kuno Creative.

1. Develop a true understanding of your target audience. This goes deeper than a one-page “buyer persona”. You must speak to your customers and ask why they bought from you. What drove them to start searching for a solution? How did they find your brand? What questions did they ask your sales team? Once you understand their answers, you will be able to create material that truly speaks to your audience.

2. Through your conversations, identify emotional drivers your buyer’s experience. This emotional analysis will help determine what your customers truly care about and how to tap into that passion.

3. Prioritize authenticity as much as possible. Highlight stories from employees, customers and other industry folk. Don’t shy away from using details like names, settings and positive outcomes. The more relatable your story is, the more your audience will respond.

4. Whether you are using Facebook, a blog, Twitter, direct mail or even a billboard, use the strengths of your channel to tell your story appropriately. From two words to 140 characters, create a story that’s shareable across your channel of choice.

5. Give your stories credibility. “No one says facts and figures should be completely eliminated from your storytelling,” Aaker says. “When data and story are used together, audiences are moved both emotionally and intellectually.”

6. Encourage user-generated content to share different perspectives of your overarching story. Try hosting a contest, managing a hashtag or interviewing industry leaders to create third-party content with storytelling flair.

If, as marketers, we continue to use neutral words and phrases that lack narrative, the minds of our buyers will continue to simply process and forget them. Stories stimulate the mind; it is now in our job descriptions to send consumers on journeys that lead them to solutions that solve their problems and, hopefully, boost our bottom lines.

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