Hook your audience with marketing storytelling

I recently read an article in which a psychology professor explained how storytelling enhanced his teaching. He said stories are attention-getting and help build connections. I agree. And so does the marketing world. Run an Internet search for “storytelling in marketing” and you’ll find scads of articles. Storytelling may seem like a relatively new marketing buzzword, but our marketing agency has used stories for nearly 30 years to help clients promote their products. In that time, we’ve developed significant expertise. Here are tips for using storytelling to attract ‒ and hold ‒ audience attention.

Think of the last really engrossing book you read or spellbinding movie you saw. What was it that really captured your interest? Chances are, you can use many of the same qualities in your marketing.

  • Start off with a hook. Fiction writers know they need to snare readers’ interest right away. Your marketing should do the same thing. Whether you’re creating an ad or a website homepage, make sure it attracts attention. Like the first paragraph of a book, your marketing should make audiences want to find out more.
  • Appeal to emotion. The best stories are more than a logical series of events. They cause a gut reaction. They make audiences really feel something. Appealing to emotion helps people care about a story and identify with it. Think about what kinds of emotions your target audience may be experiencing. Acknowledge these feelings and show how you can make consumers feel better.
  • Provide interesting characters. Good stories have appealing, relatable characters. Audiences should care about these characters and want to see what happens to them. Your marketing needs characters, too. We often connect clients with subject matter experts who can appear for them in the media to tell their story. These key opinion leaders are personable and well-qualified, and feel comfortable in the media spotlight.
  • Create an “aha” moment. Surprises or plot reveals add so much to a story. They add a lot to marketing messages, as well. Build interest by describing a common issue or concern. Then show how your product solves it.

In addition to planning your story’s elements, you need to decide where your message will appear. Consider telling your story on these promotional channels:

  • Media coverage. Media coverage is eye-catching, credible and information-packed. Audiences are accustomed to learning about new products from the media. Publicity is a convincing ‒ yet underutilized ‒ promotional channel.
  • Website content. Your website can do more than provide information. Posting video can make your message more vibrant. Your About Us page can explain what makes you different. To make maximum impact with your site, work with writers who communicate clearly and understand how to write for the web.
  • Social media. This ever-evolving channel makes it enjoyable for consumers to learn what you offer. Provide a steady content stream to keep audiences interested. Post high-quality, fresh content that gives readers value.

We can help you weave an intriguing narrative and deliver it across the promotional channels. As a full-service hybrid agency, we can use social media listening to find out what topics interest your audience. We can then use these ideas to arrange media coverage and craft engaging content. Our web designers and digital marketers can help people discover your product online.

As an avid fan of psychology, I love to think of creative angles that interest consumers and the media. Most products have fascinating stories just waiting to be told. Let’s work together to promote your product with story.

Written by Heather Champine

Heather is a multi-faceted leader. She’s part marketing strategist, part consumer psychologist and part motivational cheerleader. “I love understanding what drives people to take action, especially when it involves getting the media to run stories about our clients,” she says. With more than 20 years of experience, she has the keen understanding and insight to know how to run an integrated campaign and what it takes for our clients’ stories to become the news. She enjoys leading campaigns for complex industries such as medical devices and technologies, as well as fun industries such as hair salons. She thrives on pursuing creative ways to educate consumers about clients’ products, and ultimately inspiring them to buy. “I appreciate becoming a part of each client’s marketing team. I cherish the long-lasting relationships, and successful marketing programs we have created together.” Heather also finds joy in her daily collaborations as part of our creative team. “I am grateful to work with publicists, writers, designers and other marketing experts, all enjoying what they do because they are using their God-given strengths. Our publicists have great instincts because they all have media backgrounds. When things get hectic, it’s often Heather who cracks the first joke. “We encourage people to be a little goofy and unique. Some of the best ideas and solutions emerge because we know how to have fun,” she grins. “I may say something like, “Remember this is PR not the ER. Now, lighten up and go book a great story idea with the media!”

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