Great marketing relies on telling great stories – stories that educate, engage and impact stakeholders. Well-crafted stories help stakeholders deepen their connection to a company or cause, which can help bolster client retention, improve donor relations and even increase conversions. With a wide array of communication channels through which organizations can tell their stories, pairing the right content with the right medium is key to success. As you hone your marketing strategy, keep these actionable tips top-of-mind for improving your brand’s storytelling.
Go straight to the source
Sure, you can craft a case study with compelling data points and demonstrate how your company helped a client achieve many successes, but who better to hear that from than the client themselves? Whether you collect written testimonials, opt for video testimonials or engage clients to co-present with you at industry conferences and events, connecting your audiences with an authentic perspective can help to amplify both resonance and impact.
Vary the format
As noted above, written stories can make an impact – but audio and visual stories have their place in a well-rounded marketing program, too. It all comes back to understanding your target audiences and how they like to be communicated with. If your hard-copy newsletter is your nonprofit’s most effective fundraising tool, then well-written stories showcasing organizational impact are an absolute must. If you seek to reach a younger demographic and have been successful cultivating an audience on Instagram, it may be time to evaluate how you can bring your brand’s story to life through Instagram Stories.
With a clear understanding of target audiences and communication preferences in place, identifying which stories lend themselves to which format(s) is the next step. Then, it’s on to crafting and editing the story to make a strong first impression and lasting impact.
Shake up the storylines
By the time year-end rolls around, you’ve talked about everything from strategy to execution, onboarding to upselling, new developments and milestones, and just about everything in between. As you teeter on the brink of content creation fatigue, ask yourself: what haven’t we talked about?
Oftentimes, overlooked storylines can lead to great content. And, taking a new perspective on an often popular but frequently discussed topic can help to reengage existing and cultivate new audiences for both this and future stories.
Make it short and sweet
Human attention spans are short and the competition to capture them is stiff. Finding ways to tell your stories in short-format, without compromising clarity or impact, has become mission-critical for businesses and nonprofits alike. Whether you develop a series of :30 second videos for social sharing – which can also be included in email marketing, of course – or develop a collection of short stories to highlight in your radio advertising, identify ways to embrace a “less is more” mindset.
While it may take a few attempts to nail down the best channel for sharing your short stories, or which audiences engage most frequently or actively with the content, figuring out the formula for success will equip you with a powerful marketing tool that can showcase the key attributes and impact of your organization on an ongoing basis.
Ask the audience
Unsure what stories audiences crave? Just ask. Whether you use your monthly educational events to collect feedback, deploy a short electronic survey or invest in holding focus groups as part of a larger research effort, soliciting feedback from stakeholders can help to ensure your marketing resources are being allocated to the activities which will yield the greatest returns. Stakeholder insights can also play an important role in informing the channels through which you share your organization’s stories.
Storytelling helps organizations connect with stakeholders and showcasing the many facets of their missions, visions and brands. With a clearly defined storyline and the right messaging in place, stories can evolve into recruitment and retention tools that support the sales and development cycle. As you cull through your organization’s treasure trove of stories, focus on identifying those that are engaging, impactful, unexpected and showcase the depth and breadth of what your organization has to offer. Remember, every organization has great stories to tell. And, maximizing their value is just a matter of finding the right medium through which to showcase them and the best mechanisms for getting them in front of the right audiences.