Storytelling has been around for thousands of years, since the days our ancestors would carve visuals on the walls of caves.
We can all relate to a good story.
They help put complicated thoughts or abstract concepts into context, so anyone can understand.
Storytelling can be a powerful tool, and it’s why these days, many businesses use storytelling to better engage, educate and attract new audiences.
It’s used heavily in content marketing to help customers understand exactly how brands, products and services can fit into their lives.
With stories, you have a unique opportunity to communicate the benefits of your offer through real life examples.
It taps into your customer’s emotions; it humanises businesses and helps pet parents better connect with you.
So let’s dig into what storytelling really is and how you can use it for your pet business.
What is storytelling?
You may be thinking, ‘well that’s great, but isn’t all content storytelling?’
But no, it’s not.
Storytelling isn’t advertisements about your brand.
It’s not a sales pitch.
It’s not some random event that happened in your business.
And it’s not even a story about your brand.
Storytelling goes much deeper than that.
It should spark passion and imagination in your audience. It should create a connection and sense of community between you and your readers.
A good story communicates what your brand stands for. It’s stories about your customers. It’s about what motivates your team. They’re engaging and emotional. They offer a beginning, a crisis and a resolution. It’s an interaction between your customer and your brand. And they offer a narrative with useful information.
Why use storytelling in your blog posts?
Stories are told between friends and family all the time. Think about the last time you had a good natter with the people you’re closest to. How did it make you feel? The important part is that it did make you feel.
Stories can make us laugh or cry, they can make us angry, make us feel inspired, or make us want to take action.
Telling a good story with an appropriate call to action can inspire someone to book your services or buy your product.
It can build an online community that hangs off your every word. Because stories bring people together, regardless of whether you’re a best friend or the friendly local dog trainer.
You can use the power of storytelling within all the content you create for your business. Not just your blog content. Your social media posts, videos, emails etc are all opportunities to tell a story.
The 5 pillars of a good story
Not everyone is a good storyteller.
And I hate to shine a light on my Dad’s poor efforts to bring you an example, but he’s a terrible storyteller. No matter how much he likes to share, he fails to hold anyone’s interest for longer than a couple of minutes. He goes off on tangents, he mumbles, and his stories are rarely relatable (At least to me!) So my eyes glaze over, I do my best to show interest but he’s already lost me when he starts mumbling to himself under his breath. Sorry Dad!
But there is a right way to do it. And whether you’re telling stories in blog posts for your website, content for social media or videos on Youtube, the advice is the same.
Good stories are:
Universal – A good story will relate to all readers and tap into the experiences and emotions many people go through.
Entertaining – A good story will hold your reader’s attention and make them excited about what happens next.
Educational – A good story teaches your reader something they didn’t already know and sparks curiosity to find out more.
Structured – A good story is organised in a logical way, gets the message across and is easy to absorb.
Memorable – A good story will leave a lasting impression and stick in your reader’s mind.
How to tell a good story
There’s a simple three step rule to telling a great story.
Beginning – All good stories start with characters. This helps your audience put themselves in your character’s shoes and bridges the gap between you and your reader.
Middle – That character then faces a conflict of sorts and overcomes a particular problem or challenge. Conflicts help stir emotions and connect your audience through relatable experiences.
End – Your story should come to a resolution and close the ideas around your characters and conflicts. It doesn’t always have to be a good ending, but it should wrap up your thoughts and follow with a call to action.
Key considerations for storytelling in marketing
Know your customer
Before you tell a story for your business, you should always know who you’re talking to.
Think about who would want to hear your story and who would benefit the most from what you have to say.
If you haven’t done so already, do some research around your target market and ideal customers.
Inside the Pet Biz Thrive Online Club, we do a lot of work around identifying your ideal customer, your messaging and positioning. It’s one of the very first lessons members learn. It’s so important to pin down the basics first, because if you don’t know who you want to attract and what will make you the number one choice in their eyes, your business is already on shaky ground.
Pin down your objective
Then, when you know who you’re talking to, you need to consider your objective.
What is the core message of your story and how will this story serve your business?
For example, do you want to sell a particular product or service, raise funds for a social enterprise, or foster a community around your brand? Keep this front and center, and summarise the point of your story in a sentence or two.
Consider story type
Next you want to consider the type of story your telling.
For example, your story could inspire action by sharing examples of previous customer successes. You could then explain how your reader can experience those same results.
Do you want your audience to relate to you through your struggles, successes and failures? This is a great way to bring authenticity to your brand and foster deeper connections with your readers.
Perhaps you want to share your values and opinions. This is a great way to bring brand and reader closer by conveying experiences, characters and emotions your readers understand, and can relate to their own lives.
What do you want your reader to do?
Next you want to think about the action you’d like your reader to take after reading.
This should line up closely with the objective of your story. If your objective is to create a greater sense of community around your brand, your call to action might be ‘share this post with your friends.’
Or perhaps you want to sell a product or service. Your call to action might be, ‘Click here to learn more about XYZ.’
Then all that’s left to do is write your story and share it with the world. Don’t forget to share it as far and wide as possible. Fire an email to your list and share on all your social platforms. Now go get ‘em!