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The Power of a Story

Katy Miller

You will often hear us say that content is king when it comes to marketing and SEO. And it is, but storytelling is its mistress, the one behind it, the one getting sh*t done, turning audiences into believers, bystanders into converts and activists.

Narrative sticks in our brain, it can move us (literally), and it increases empathy. For those who think storytelling is just another flyby marketing buzzword, let me tell you that stories connect us to one another and we are hard-wired to respond to them and there iscold, hard scienceto back it up. 

The magical science of storytelling | David JP Phillips | TEDxStockholm TEDx Talks


But I hear you, writing content can be difficult. We can stare at a black page for hours and not know how to start. You are certainly not alone. Let’s face it, not many of us are natural-born writers; and to add to that, the pressure of getting something out coherently is hard enough - let alone being captivating, inspiring and life-changing.

So, I am going to give you a helping hand, here are some questions & activities to get you started:

ACTIVITY 1 - What are you talking about?

What are you wanting to communicate? What is the topic? Identify what you are trying to achieve, fill in the blanks:

“I need to tell a story about ______________(noun), so that I can _________ (action)”

Example:
“I need to tell a story about my new product so that I can help people understand the benefits

ACTIVITY 2 - Who are you talking to?

Now that you have a topic, Who is your audience? If you are expecting them to empathise with you, you first need to know more about them and understand why they should care. Identify your audience and what is important to them, fill in the blanks (do one for each audience type and be descriptive):

"_______(person), a ______ (role) is_________(need), because ________(reason), but____ (criteria/restriction)" 

Example:
"Jason, a business manager is looking for a gifts for his staff because they did an incredible job this year and he wants to show his appreciation, but he is the worst at buying gifts, last year he gave poorly chosen slogan mug"

ACTIVITY 3 - What is the challenge and How might you help?

Bring the problem to life and consider how could you (or your product/service) help? How can you help this audience, What have you done in the past? What do they need to know? 

Write about your experience, where you previously solved a similar issue? How did you do it? fill in the blanks:

"A few ____ (time) ago, we helped_____ (person) with a similar problem. They like you, needed help with_______(problem/challenge). Fortunately, ________ (our product/service) was able to ___________________________ (how it helped). _______ (add a sign off) 

Exmape:
"A few months ago, we helped Firebrand with a similar problem. They like you, needed help with finding christmas gifts for their team. Fortunately, our Gift Match App was able to help them pair their team with customised gifts, Don't tell the team they are all getting new hoodies for christmas. 

ACTIVITY 4 - Bring it all together

Now that you have the bones of a captivating story, it is time to bring it all together, First set the scene

1) Set the Scene, by asking a simple question, Fill in the blanks: 

"Imagine if_______
"Have you ever wondered______
"Remember when_______

Example: 
"Imagine if you could perfectly match everyone to the right gift"

2) Explain the problem and what the resolution was, how you (or your product) were able to help. 

Refine your answers to the previous activities.  

3) Sign off with an invitation and offer the audience something to do in follow up. What do you want the audience to do? Fill in the blanks:

"Why don't we  ____
"Wouldn't it be great ______
"I'd Like to Invite you _____
"Would you like to ___ 
Example:
"Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to think about who got what at christmas".


ACTIVITY 4 - Proof it!

Now that you have all of that down, its time to refine, expand, proof, review, share and repeat. 
Bonus, Try saying it another way, shout it, whisper it, cover it in glitter. Could you inspire them through a personal story? Is there scientific proof? Would a video do it better? 

Give it a go and next time someone asks you about what you do, share a story rather than a list of services even.