Storytelling Made Simple: How You Can Get Started
My thing for storytelling started pretty early. An avid reader and TV watcher as a kid, I became so fascinated by how writers crafted plots, developed characters, and decorated even the most mundane concepts with transformative details -- turning them into something bigger that entertained, resonated, and truly meant something. As a digital journalist, I’ve tapped into an almost innate knack for sharing the stories of others -- highlighting the moments, memories, people, places, and unique things that make each of us different yet one in the same.
Storytelling may be uncharted territory for you and your small business, but it doesn’t have to seem as daunting and scary as it might. Keeping these keys in mind can help you share the story -- or stories -- that captivate and connect with your audience.
“Line” It Up -- Many writers will tell you that the best place to start in storytelling is with the outlining process. Whether you choose to go analog with paper and pencil or go digital from your mobile device, begin with the basic idea or concept of the story you want to tell. From there, you can simply list what you want your refined, more detailed paragraphs, scenes, captions, or bullet points to cover. Not only does this help you visualize the components of the story you plan to tell, but outlining can also help you spot potential holes or elements you stand to miss in the final product. Outlining -- and even storyboarding -- also offer you the opportunity to shape, reshape, and ultimately streamline story details, so don’t feel like you can’t make changes or update your outline as the need arises.
Focus On The Details That Matter Most -- Even with the strongest, most concise outline, telling a strong, linear story can be difficult when that burst of inspiration has you wanting to include EVERY aspect of a big idea. By focusing on the details that relate most to your brand’s specific audience, you stand a much better chance of developing and producing laser-focused content that connects AND conveys a message without filler, tangents, or confusion. Even if you’re sharing a personal story via a more intimate outlet like a vlog, blog, or subscriber-focused newsletter, this is still a great way to keep your content -- and your message -- concise and on-target.
For example, your corporate layoff could have been the catalyst for your small business move to help others rebuild their lives and careers after they faced similar circumstances. While sharing the story of how you managed to start over is beneficial, your readers don’t necessarily need to know ALL of the details related to what you were wearing or what you left at your desk you left the office. These details add color and texture to stories, but your initial focus should be the larger, relatable aspects of the story that speak most to your audience.
Keep It Straight From The Heart -- Just as if you were sharing a story or an anecdote with someone close to you, storytelling for your brand or small business should come straight from the heart space. Experts (and the Jali Creatives team) have written at length about the importance of authenticity in content -- and for good reason. Genuine content is directly linked to brand loyalty, audience engagement, and substantial sales for many of the world’s most successful businesses, big and small. Your niche client base already likely supports you and what your business offers because of a distinct connection. When it comes to the story or stories you hope to share, don’t even consider faking it. Be real. Within reason, shoot straight from the hip -- and from the heart.
Don’t Make It All About “The Sell” -- As the CEO of your own small business, the success of your enterprise is based mainly in the strength and size of your client base and sale of your products and services. However, no consumer wants to be hit over the head with content focused solely on getting their money. As you develop stories that showcase what your brand is all about, make them more about WHAT YOU’RE OFFERING -- not WHAT YOU’RE SELLING. Take some time to convey what your business truly offers consumers that they can’t or don’t have to buy. Can you use storytelling to teach your audience something new? Are you offering consumers a sense of intangible community and belonging? Remember that telling the story of your brand and all that it encompasses should not be based about “the sell”. Focus on natural, engaging stories that speak to who you and your small business are to those who choose to support and patronize WITHOUT making profit the immediate goal.
Still finding it difficult to develop and craft a natural narrative? Haven’t quite hit your storytelling stride? Remember that storytelling in the digital age isn’t always easy, but it can be best thing for your small business and the future of your brand. If our team here at Jali Creatives can help you share your story or hone your voice, don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re here to help!