What's Your Storytelling Style?



If you’re a freelancer that thinks this only works for bloggers, writers, and creative marketers...you may be depriving your small business of future revenue.  Telling stories isn’t just essential to blogging or writing but can also be used to help close the deal with a future prospect.  These days, you can’t just tell someone that they need your goods or services - you have to paint a picture as to why.

More than an Elevator Pitch

You may be asking ‘Isn’t this what my introductory pitch is about?.  An elevator (or introductory) pitch more or less tests the waters of engagement.  When in live situations, you can often tell by body language whether an individual wants you to proceed.  In the viral world, it’s not as easy to gauge but you can use storytelling on your site or social media profile to draw interest from visitors.

Converting Visitors into People of Interest

The first step in this process is to know your audience, followed by crafting a voice they can relate to.  Since storytelling is interactive, you don’t want to be left hanging by using the wrong choice of words or tone.  The nice thing is there’s no singular voice or style that applies to a particular industry unless it has a specific demographic.

A good example is a foodie who uses social media to promote and sell their books and services.  While their online presence may interest those with an advanced culinary art degree, a foodie’s target audience are usually kitchen chefs, people who like to try diverse cuisine, or anyone with a general interest in food.  The language and scope of knowledge should be consistent with the communication used on social media properties.

What Kind of Stories Do You enjoy?

Do you like a dramatic ending, cliffhanger (where viewers wait for the conclusion), or a tale of redemption?  Think about how this may help your business and how you can create an interesting narrative.  The trick is to not give too many details or as if you’re only interested in the sale.  If you’re using storytelling for engagement, this is where freebies (such as a whitepaper or other digital upload) can help you close faster.

Maybe you appreciate stories that predict the future and you can work actual data into why people should buy your offerings.  Creating a sense of concern (or fear, but I hate that term) that intrigues visitors to learn more is one way to create a story based on real-life possibilities.  

5 Types of Stories that Grab Attention

  • Case studies - using data and relevant information from solid sources, along with your own findings
  • Comparison - when presented in a visual, like an infographic, this can be very effective in showing visitors why your product is better than the competition
  • Teaching - this is great for those who get to the point in their storytelling, often works with a cliffhanger as a way to close the sale quickly
  • Testimonials - these are great but story contents should support the claims by presenting immediate benefits without being repetitive.  Notice those long landing pages that were popular in the early 2000s are pretty much a thing of the past...that’s because these were so full of dribble that they seldom worked.
  • Visual - Micro-articles, short posts, and other social media tools can be great for establishing a connection.  Attractive images that leave something to the imagination should convey a direct message that’s congruent with the text.  Often I see things that are so abstract (and sometimes illegal), such as using licensed Pixar images to sell copywriting lessons on Facebook.

The nice thing about the storytelling process is there’s no set template on what will work.  If you’re familiar with copywriting basics, you can get a feel of what’s overkill and where you may need more details.  You can also try A/B testing with different story types of the same length (hopefully your online version is shorter than the live, or presentation-ready version) and compare the numbers.  After a while, you may find this promotional process to be fun.