smb-tech-trendsWho doesn’t love a good story? In fact swapping stories has and always will be one of our greatest pastimes, as evidenced by cave dwellings dating back as far as 27,000 years. When it comes to your content marketing, don’t overlook the appeal of a good story to motivate your audiences to engage with your small business and become an advocate for your products and service offerings.

As Sarah Gavin, marketing director at Outbrain Europe writes in “The art of storytelling in content marketing,” “Stories offer us a hero, with whom we can relate, an adventure we can enjoy, and ultimately resolution for peace of mind and reassurance….. Therefore, by incorporating constructs such as character, plot and setting you can help make even the blandest copy more interesting.”

How to tell a good story

Cleary a good story is far more entertaining and interesting to your audience than content that simply packages and delivers your small business product or company messages. When you tell a captivating story in your small business blog, web article or video, regardless whether the content will be viewed on a desktop or mobile device; newsletter; or social media post, you motivate users to share your content and provide you with the desired outcomes.

Here are five things to keep in mind about telling a story in your content:

What is your story?Be truthful:  People know when you aren’t being honest with them.  Some measure of excitement or enthusiasm is permissible tor readers, but don’t embellish the truth so much your audience doubts your honesty.  Keep your stories steeped in the facts to win the loyalty of your fans.

Inject people or personality: Your customers seek a relationship with a person not simply a product – think Apple and Steve Jobs or Virgin Airlines and Richard Branson. If possible focus on a central character in your content that your audiences can relate to. If it doesn’t work to develop one central character, show personality – share something personal about your small business challenges or lessons learned, talk about your history, and introduce your team members.

Consider audience interests: Keep in mind the story is to engage your reader. It’s not about what you want to share. Stories should map to your customers’ interests and issues.

Invite interaction: Find ways for your audience to interact with your story. Ask them to post personal experiences about using your products or services or to create a Vine or Instagram video showcasing their applications of your offering. Ask questions that encourage commentary or invite them to help you build on your story with their own twist or take.

Keep it simple: Don’t bog your story down in a lot of details that detract from the major point you are trying to make. The more complicated your content, the more likely you are to lose readers.  You should be able to tell a compelling story in under three minutes.

Still worried story telling is not your strong suit? Think of the great stories you’ve read and consider what kept your attention. Learn from them.