I know why you haven’t started using a storytelling approach to your marketing and communications. You’ve been hearing about it everywhere – from your industry organization, in your social media feed, at training events. You’re sold on its power to connect, persuade and motivate people. You just haven’t taken that first step. Here’s why. You don’t know how to find the stories you need to tell.
Start looking in the obvious places
Are you already collecting client comments and reviews or employee feedback? Are people giving you online reviews or testimonials? These are folks who are signaling that they are pleased with what you’re doing for them, but there’s definitely more to their story. There’s not only more to their story, you will be able to get a better story if you help them tell theirs.
If there’s no distress, there is no story
Many of the reviews and testimonials that people volunteer sound very generic because they don’t know how to put a story together. I think you can prove this to yourself. Read some of the testimonials you have and ask yourself if there is any distress in them? If there is distress, you have some elements of a good story. If there isn’t any distress (no sign of the problem you solved) then the blurb probably isn’t just flat, it’s generic, too.
Dig into the story with an open-ended conversation
Approach a few of the people who have already provided you with some feedback and ask if you can have a conversation about their experience with your company. Find out what their situation was like before you met and what happened to make them decide to do something about their problem. (People usually live with a situation for awhile before deciding that they have to do something about it.) In an open-ended conversation you can also learn what outcomes they were looking for and tie it to the overriding goals they had for their business.
Dig around for story ideas
Just start talking to people. Make it a habit. Ask your staff about what’s going on in their world. Have they been a part of a great customer experience lately? Did they observe one? Don’t leave anyone out. Go to the executives and management, as well as the people who are on the front line working directly with customers. Make it easy for people to give you story ideas. Don’t make them have to turn in a form or flesh out the story in any way. Let them know that their job is just to spot a potential story.
Related: Get the Case Study Guide: How to Use Case Studies to Build Credibility, Grow Trust and Close Sales
Have some non-transactional conversations with customers
We so often think that we’re communicating with our customers enough when we are doing business with them. The truth is, if we limit our communications to only when we’re transacting business, we’re missing a great opportunity to build the relationship. When you approach a customer with the intent to get the story of their experience with you, you’re going to get more than a client story. You’re going to get insights that will help you serve them better.
When the story machine winds up
Here’s the great news about putting some effort into finding stories. It will get easier. Once you make it a habit to talk to people to uncover stories, your whole organization will start to recognize a potential story when they see or hear one.
Need some help getting started with storytelling? Schedule a meeting.