Fun Fact Fridays: 16 Ways to Be a Better Storyteller

Posted on May 31st 2013

Fun Fact Fridays: 16 Ways to Be a Better Storyteller

Yesterday, I was interviewing one of my organization’s engineers for a case study piece. As we were discussing the challenges and opportunities for creating innovation for a mature product, our conversation strayed to the topic of storytelling. How could I resist the topic? I truly believe PR people are natural storytellers. And the reason is simple: Storytelling is PR; it essentially boils down to connecting organizations and people through a story.

As we were chatting, I realized that most people forget the basic tenets for telling a compelling story. Today’s fun fact Friday is all about how to tell a better story about your organization.

  1. People. You need to make your people apart of the storyline. Logos, Products, are secondary. Share who your people are and what they are about. This week, we shared on our corporate site, what our culture was about in terms of pictures.
  2. This is more than telling about your product. People will remember a story more than your products. Hello anecdote examples. Remember this, the most valued and shared stories reveal unfulfilled needs and desires.” Jon King, Managing Director, Story Worldwide Europe
  3. Your Customer is the Hero. Storytelling allows you to put your customer in the lime light. Share their successes and challenges. That is more compelling than your product sheets.
  4. Storytelling is engaging and entertaining. Love the idea of story trees from the Hoffman Agency, I added the SlideShare presentation below.
  5. Purpose. You need a plot. A beginning, middle, and end. Think about this in terms of setting the stage. Maybe it is a customer who was in crisis. Maybe it was a client who needed help achieving new goals. Whatever it is, you need to take the reader through the trials and tribulations.
  6. Understand the components of a good story.Content Marketers get this and you should too. There are six basic parts to any story:
    1. Setting – the location where your story takes place. T
    2. Characters
    3. An event to start things rolling
    4. Development
    5. The Climax
    6. The Ending
  7. People like to connect. It’s all about understanding the individual highlighted in the story and how we relate.
  8. Figure out what emotion you want to invoke. What do you want the reader to do next.
  9. Stories allow us to break through the noise. According to SAP’s Chief Storyteller, “to break through the clutter, meaningful, one to one conversations with our customer is now more important than ever.” Check out her video.
  10. Leave your marketing speak and your boilerplates at home.
  11. No jargon or buzzwords. Seriously.
  12. It is not always about you. Stories can have multiple actors but your company doesn’t allows need the lead role.
  13. Check your ego at the door. You should persuade not talk a the reader
  14. Before telling your story, listen to what is going on in your market today. Interview clients. Talk with your internal subject matter experts to find out what is going on.
  15. Think like a movie director. I watched Argo and was mesmerized. My favorite scene is when the embassy workers were shredding the “classified documents.” Where they going to make it? Would the “bad guys” going to get the documents? I was hooked for 2 hours. Not only was the movie compelling, but the director did a fantastic job of telling the story. Storytelling isn’t just for the movies. Just because you’re in a B2B market, doesn’t mean you cannot be compelling.

storytelling

RMetscher

Rachel DiCaro Metscher

Director, ICF International

Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. You can hear about her positions and thoughts on PR and social media on her blog, Metscher’s Musings.

See Full Profile >