Making waves with words

Storytelling has been a buzzword in business circles for some time. You might think we are all suffering from information overload, but the reality is our brains are wired for good stories. Large amounts of information become more digestible in narrative form.

In my last two blogs I talked about why storytelling content is on the rise and shared a few tips on how to turn your idea into something that will have traction. But once your story has been formed, it can be tricky to know how to get it out there. Should you focus on social media alone, or write a blog? Is video content important? What about PR? How can you tell if it has worked?

As with most marketing-related topics, the answers are varied and most people will give you a different insight. Everyone has an opinion on what works and what doesn’t, so figuring out what fits with your business, your personality (and your budget) is far from straight forward. The following is not an exhaustive list, but these are all things that freelance creatives and entrepreneurs can easily do to engage further with prospective clients.

1. Think ‘storytelling’ on social media:

We’re all on social media, for hours every day, but sometimes we can struggle to come up with a theme or point of difference. The feeds I enjoy and have continued to follow are the ones that are honest, genuine, inspiring and that ultimately tell a story of personal challenge and triumph. 

2. Write a blog:

I am a big fan of blogs and think all business owners should have one one! Unlike the mindless scrolling of an Instagram feed, reading a blog requires a bit more engagement and, if it’s well written, will inspire your customers to act. India Knight wrote a lovely piece in the Sunday Times about how the demise of personal blog writing has made the internet a lot less fun. She writes: “What we have lost is intimacy. We have lost the sense that it is OK to live a flawed, ordinary life, and that such a life can also be rich an interesting.” So get blogging, folks!

3. Create video content:

This can be expensive when done professionally, but it’s a hugely popular and successful way to tell your story. Instagram Stories are a great place to experiment with video, but if you have the budget I would work with a professional video editor to create some compelling storytelling content. It doesn’t have to be long – a couple of minutes maximum.

4. Start a podcast:

According to research released by regulator Ofcom late last year, Podcasts are booming in the UK, with nearly 6 million adults now tuning in each week. The increase is across all age groups, but the steepest growth is amongst young adults aged between 15 – 24. If this is your target market, think about ways you could either create your own podcast or be featured in someone else’s.

5. Invest in PR:

Getting to know journalists is something that can be overlooked but is another very effective way to share your story: a piece published in a newspaper or magazine will carry so much more gravitas than anything you might put out on your own channels simply because it has been given the stamp of approval by a trusted source. When was the last time you bought something, went somewhere or employed a service without reading a review or getting a recommendation from someone you trust – a friend, colleague, journalist, blogger or celebrity? This is the power of good PR. 

Remember, storytelling should be seen as more than just another marketing tool. You can use stories to explain your company’s work, to connect employees to one another and to give a voice to those who don’t have one.

The final of a three-part series of blogs I wrote for The Collective, my local business networking group based in Chichester.