The art of storytelling is part of human nature. Whether it’s through prehistoric cave drawings, fireside folk songs or 140 Twitter characters — how we do it might have changed a bit over the years but that desire to tell the world our story is as strong now as it ever was.
The big challenge for businesses in the digital age is how to make their story stand out, with so many different ones being told in so many different places. Most of us see hundreds if not thousands of marketing messages every day – on the bus, on TV and on our smartphones.
Book sales might be falling but storytelling through advertising and news stories is as important as ever. Developing your ability to do it well is vital. Here are five quick tips to bear in mind:
Know your audience
Who are you trying to talk to? If your answer to that question is ‘everyone’ then you need to think again. Socially, we are less homogenous now than ever – our relationships with the brands and businesses we buy from are complex and differ from person to person.
Identify your audience and research what they enjoy reading already. Then, if needs be, adapt your own writing style to suit.
Get to the point
Be clear in your own mind about the purpose of your writing and make sure it’s clear to the people reading it. Work out the important points you want to say before you start and include them early on – don’t make readers have to work for it.
The genuine article
No one likes a tall tale so make sure everything you write is authentic. You should believe in what you’re writing in the same way that a salesperson should believe in the product or service they’re selling
Keep it simple and write in the same way you would talk. A good way to check you’re doing this is to read what you’ve written out loud to someone else and ask them whether it makes sense. It sounds obvious but don’t overlook it.
Like any good spoken story, a written one engages and entertains through the way it’s told. Bring your business’s personality into your writing. Ask yourself: ‘Would I want to read this?’ Make sure the answer is yes before you expect someone else to.
I’m always interested to hear new stories. You can get in touch with me on Twitter @robtomkinson or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.