Story is a powerful tool in the content marketer’s arsenal. Why? Because it not only draws us in and gives us something to relate to. It also shows us why we should care and pushes us to engage with a brand’s message in a more active and lasting way.
This brings to mind the oft-repeated adage of creative writers: show don’t tell.
Don’t say, “Mildred is cold.” Say, “Mildred is shivering.” Why? Because in the latter example, you’ve not only shown me that Mildred is, indeed, experiencing a chill. You’ve also brought me into her world, helped me see her standing in the snow somewhere with her arms crossed tight into her body, teeth chattering. Yes, from one simple word change, you’ve helped me imagine all that – asked me to engage with Mildred’s story, to participate in understanding. And so I’m more invested. I’m more empathetic. And I’ve started to care.
Such is the marketing power of a story.
Watch journalists for constant examples of this: Do they open with facts and figures when developing a piece on, say, a contaminated drug? Not likely. Again and again, they begin with a story – an example of real, live people effected by that drug. These stories will help us engage and evoke our emotions – all while elucidating the necessary details.
In just the same way, you can use this tool to infuse your company with life, to help people engage with your brand in a deeper and more lasting way. When used properly, stories can provide context for your marketing content, bringing your message meaning and making it sticky.
But what am I doing? I’m supposed to show rather than tell. So I’ll just pipe down and show you one great example of a brand engaging us through storytelling, this one from Children Incorporated and the talented folks at Flux Creative Marketing: