Yesterday, I watched a Nollywood movie called Sista, where Kehinde Bankole was the lead actor. Even though I knew this was make-believe, even though I knew the storytelling formula they used from the get-go, even though I could tell to some degree of accuracy how the story would end… I couldn’t believe I caught myself crying more than once. At some point, I wailed, and the story brought back memories of some time in my childhood.
picture credit: freepic.diller
I know you also have that one book that made you stay up all night or that movie that made you cry, laugh, or wail. If you’ve caught yourself doing any of these, it shows you’re human, endowed with emotional intelligence.
Truth be told, stories have an uncanny ability to weave their way into our hearts and minds, leaving a lasting impact. And when it comes to your business, infusing storytelling will not only transform people’s lives but also improve your bottom line.
But while everyone talks about storytelling, very few people tell you HOW to start.
It’s tempting to dive headfirst into creating story-led messages you think your audience will love. You might be eager to share your vision, passion, and your journey without laying the foundation first. You could find yourself rushing into storytelling mode, believing that any story is a good story and your audience will eat it up.
But, the thing is…
Without laying the foundation, your messaging will fall flat. Your stories will get lost in the noise of countless others. Your audience would tune out, and your storytelling efforts could be like chasing shadows.
But with a concrete foundation, your stories resonate, engage, and drive the impact you desire.
Here are 3 things to do before you start creating your story…
3 Foundations for Impact Storytelling
- Know Your Audience
Before creating your story, know your audience inside and out. The more data you have on your customers, the more compelling your messaging will be. To understand their values, preferences, and pain points, ask them why your brand is their go-to for a specific product or service.
Another simple way to know them is to study your Google Analytics (if you have a website). This data will help you to understand your website’s audience by providing information on user demographics, interests, and behavior. It can reveal which pages are popular, where users come from, and more.
Google Forms is another way to create customized surveys and collect responses from your audience before crafting your story. This essential step helps you gain valuable insights to tailor your narrative to resonate deeply with their needs and desires.
2. Define Your Brand Values
Beyond profits, it’s vital to define your brand’s underlying purpose. Ask yourself, “What is the ‘why’ behind what I do?” This ‘why’ forms the bedrock of your brand’s values. Consider the emotions and experiences you want your customers to associate with your brand. Research shows that 71% of consumers purchase from businesses aligned with their values. When your brand’s values are clear and aligned with your customers, your storytelling becomes a powerful tool for forging deeper connections and loyalty.
3. Research the Competition
To stand out in a competitive landscape, it’s essential to research and analyze your competitors. Identify gaps, opportunities, and differentiation strategies you can leverage.
A great tool to use here is Hootsuite. You can use it to set up social media streams that monitor conversations related to your brand, industry, and competitors. There are a handful of YouTube videos on how to use Hootsuite to research the competition. Understanding what you do differently from others in your industry is a way to create unique messaging that highlights your strengths and appeals to your audience.
By laying a rock-solid foundation, you will create more impactful and tailored storytelling that resonates with your customers.
Download your storytelling Foundation exercise here to fill in the blanks before creating your next impact story:
Storytelling is a powerful way to improve your impact and bottom line. But if you don’t lay a solid foundation, your story will fall flat, and people will tune out mentally.
Lay a solid foundation by:
- Knowing your audience
- Defining your brand values
- Researching the competition
Do this fun exercise to lay the foundation for your next impact story:
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