How storytelling helps your business

If you’re like me, your passion didn’t come from pursuing a degree in business. It started with a passion for something else — design, a cause, a craft.

That’s why I’m often in the library, poring through the business book section. It’s where I found my latest inspiring read, “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.”

In a chapter on strategy, it discusses the importance of having a story. It’s important for businesses pursuing investors and businesses hoping to connect with customers.

The authors, Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead and Kevin Maney nail it here:

A quote from "Playing Bigger" by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead and Kevin Maney.
A quote from “Playing Bigger” by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead and Kevin Maney (Harper Business)

“Stories alter perspectives and exert influence. … Raw information reaches us on an intellectual level, but stories reach into our hearts and our pants.”

Yep.

The research supports it:

The book cites two studies. One is a Stanford study, “Narrative Stories as Mediators for Serial Learning” showed a link between stories and memory.

A more recent study by a Claremont Graduate University found a connection between strong storytelling and an increase in oxytocin.

“Oxytocin is an empathy chemical, and it motivates cooperation and understanding–quite important when trying to convince someone to, as Apple used to say, think different,” the book says.

So what does that mean for your business?

Content strategy should be a central part of your marketing and advertising efforts. You can hope that your work speaks for itself, but there’s an economy to making your passion sustainable.

And content strategy is another opportunity to authentically talk about why you do what you do, build empathy and loyalty with existing and potential customers.

How to start with content marketing strategy?

Here are a few easy prompts to start thinking about your story:

  • Is there a project that you can show the behind-the-scenes process on? What might make it more human? A note from the project lead, artist or director?
  • What was the genesis of your business or organization? Is there a retelling of that story that expresses vulnerability and authenticity? What emotion does it express? Is there something that you can tie in that’s an action point to leverage that emotion?
  • Was there a time you learned something or felt connection to the community you’re trying to serve? What happened? Write out what that story might look like, with words and visuals.

Without a distribution strategy, your content will live on its own little lonely island.

Think through these questions on what’s right for you: How will you get it in front of your ideal audience? Think about platform-specific storytelling, not “pushing” out the same version connecting Instagram and Facebook. How can you be consistent?

This is just the beginning of a content strategy that leverages storytelling for connection with the people you hope to reach.

Looking for more? Sign up for the Minerva Media Co. newsletter or contact minervamediaco@gmail.com for help on creating your own modern storytelling strategies.

Author: Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen

Founder, Minerva Media Co., Publisher & Editor of the Raleigh Convergence.