Storytelling Tips for Every Marketing Channel

Storytelling is an art, data is the science, and together they deliver powerful marketing. The best part is stories can be integrated in all marketing channels to engage your audience. In this blog, we’re going to focus on storytelling tips that can be used for every channel, so you can try them out and see what resonates within your communities.

Storytelling Tips for Marketing Channels

Storytelling Tip 1: Create an Emotional Connection.

Think about the most recent time you experienced an emotional connection with a brand or business. How did it affect the way you perceived the brand? Did you feel more or less compelled to interact with the company?

Storytelling is a powerful way to tap into the emotions of your audience. It allows them to better relate to you and see your business as more of a helpful solution rather than a faceless entity selling products or services. It helps your messaging feel like a natural part of their world — whether it’s sentimental, moves you to action, or is straight-up humorous.

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For example, Patagonia uses real-life stories from its own community of customers to engage readers, establish emotional connections, and draw them closer to the brand. 

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Storytelling Tip 2: Be Inspirational.

Now, think about a time when you were inspired by a business to take a next step, whether it was making a purchase or applying the inspiration to something you did on your own. If the inspiration helped you in some way, then you may have even re-visited the company for even more of those experiences. And that’s the powerful thing about being inspirational — it makes people want more. 

How can you inspire your audience through storytelling? You can interview people in your industry, share experiences on a podcast, or repurpose user-generated content in your email marketing. Consider all the spaces where you can capture stories from your employees and customers and thought leaders and difference-makers, and then determine which marketing channels have an audience that could be influenced by those stories.

Storytelling Tip 3: Use Compelling Imagery or Video Whenever Possible.

Stories are often linked to words, but remember visuals provide a lot of support for your messaging. In fact, photos and videos can establish emotional connections just as effectively as written words. 

For example, how effective do you think this story from home furnishings brand Rejuvenation would be without the visuals?

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Storytelling Tip 4: Leverage User-Generated Content.

You don’t have to approach storytelling alone. In fact, some of the most powerful content you can leverage comes from your users. Are your customers sharing their experiences with your company on social media? Does your business have positive reviews from people who have interacted with you? The stories your customers, readers, users, or followers tell (in other words, user-generated content) can be repurposed for your own storytelling, in a way that feels natural and honest.

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Storytelling Tip 5: Be Authentic.

It seems like this goes without saying, but an important tip when storytelling is to keep it genuine. Be true to your brand, including its values, beliefs, and purpose. Pretending to be something you’re not feels off-putting to people who already know you and will confuse and disappoint people who eventually see the real you.

Airbnb keeps it authentic with detailed stories about its hosts and customers (with permission, of course) who are an integral part of the company:

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Try Your Hand at Storytelling

Whether you incorporate emotions, inspiration, visual assets, user-generated content, or authenticity into your storytelling — or try all at once — these tips can help you connect with your audience in ways that feel organic and engaging. Try using stories in any of your marketing channels and see if it results in different behaviors from your communities.  

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About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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