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Storytelling, business comms and copywriting tips

Social media is no longer about broadcasting.

When marketers first started using social media as a marketing channel, there was less content, less noise, and people were willing to click on almost everything they saw on their news feed.

Then, we hit content o.v.e.r.l.o.a.d.

There is now more content on social platforms than people can consume. If a post doesn’t look interesting or useful, people just scroll past it. No like, no comment.

Social media is often seen as a solution to every marketing problem. It’s great for certain aspects of marketing including brand awareness. Social media is becoming an engagement channel. And with this shift comes new opportunities, such as incredible customer service and one-on-one conversations, which major social media platforms are embracing more and more. But the truth is, social media probably isn’t going to help you achieve every business or marketing goal you have.

The present and future of social media is about deepening your relationships with your community by engaging them and not simply pushing out marketing messages.

“Great communication begins with connection.” – Oprah

This is what it boils down to, and the best way to connect with people you do know is talking to them and if you don’t know them then talk to them – through storytelling.

Yes, your content and business marketing should be like storytelling. Telling stories is a business marketing strategy because all it requires imagination and creativity, not money. Notice how all of the big corporations are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds and millions of dollars on creating stories? Small businesses are winning at authentic content!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You might already do this but very occasionally or without flow. But stories are what people remember. Even when they forget names and faces, they rarely forget the story and how it made them feel so why not do this all the time?⠀⠀

If you feel a bit stuck with your content (marketing comms) then try and weave some stories into it. It’s how you can connect with your audience on a deeper level. It’s not as difficult as you might think – but if you’re still hitting a wall then maybe something in your business isn’t aligned. Here’s how you can use storytelling to build your brand…⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1. Share your ‘why’ or inspiration of why you do what you do⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. Explain how you overcame something⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3. Write about a problem you’ve solved⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4. Celebrate a client/customer story⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Stories will help your business grow and connect with more people. The way the world is right now people want to, more than ever before, connect with real people in a positive and inspiring way.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

“Be a contributor, not a guru.” – Denise Duffield-Thomas⠀⠀⠀

4 tips you can use right now:⠀ 1. Using the word ‘you’ instead of ‘we’⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. Imagine you’re writing to a friend⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3. Write the way you speak⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4. Stay away from technical jargon or complicated words⠀⠀⠀

Stories are captivating for a reason. From childhood through adulthood, we are drawn to the lessons we learn, the exciting journeys we embark upon, the knowledge we gain and the opportunity to unleash our imaginations.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Remember that great teacher that used to tell stories about what they were teaching and how those stories made you remember better what you learned instead of that boring teacher that just ‘teached’ and whose name you have probably forgotten? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We are social animals with language as the ultimate way of communicating, expressing emotions, perceiving the world around us and ourselves and even simply being. Storytelling is the oldest form of passing knowledge and much of how we look at what we like to call facts is influenced by stories and how we interpret them.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Storytelling can be an approach to a specific project but also a way of writing and creating content. And I love this way of communicating and I’m seeing it more and more. Right now it’s really important to listen and to make genuine connections with people.

Your content is your marketing, it’s how you let the world know about you and your business.

You don’t need to be a marketing expert to create it, although it does help to understand the basic principles of it. I think this is where people get stuck, they aren’t sure what to say or they know what to say but aren’t sure it’s right.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The hardest thing to do is post off the cuff without a plan. Especially when you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed with it all… blog posts, newsletter, social media posts, materials, launch, offer…⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You need a plan to guide you, even better if you follow your plan and create a week or even a month’s worth of content in one go. So one of the things that I do every few weeks is create content. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Content is never wasted. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Content is so important. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Content is valuable. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Content is connection.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I love creating content, and I’m ok with the fact it’s not going to go viral or make me an overnight success but it will help someone somewhere solve a problem. Content is my way of being creative, it’s a way of establishing yourself as an expert and demonstrating your knowledge and skills.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

You won’t regret spending some time making a plan.

I also love planning, I plan forwards, backwards, use post-it notes, make lists, brainstorm ideas, create a schedule, start small, begin big, write, type, copy/cut/paste, re-purpose, highlight, colour code and delete. I don’t tend to follow someone else’s set structure or set of rules, unless it’s a technical process. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I research, merge and form my own ideas that fit my or my client’s business needs. Although you might find it easier to work with someone or have some guidance in the form of a workbook or sheet to start with.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When you have a plan and structure the rest is easy and if you don’t it becomes really hard after a few weeks, or if you’re lucky, a few months. You might find you lose momentum, purpose and direction. Your message becomes unclear and confusing, you lose confidence because things aren’t working.⠀

I know, I’ve been there. There is no magic bullet, you have to stay consistent but it’s hard to do that if you don’t slow down and take time to sit think and then take action. Whether that’s once a day, week month or year make time to do this.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

So how do you get your writing to become more powerful and engaging? (No matter what type of business or service you provide.)

For me learning to write well only enhances what I already do – brand strategy, graphic design, marketing and content creation.

  1. Prepare: research and gather the information you need

  2. Organise: bring all the information and research together. Remember your audience, put yourself in their shoes. What will they need to know, find interest or enjoy hearing?

  3. Go deep: functions and facts are great but don’t forget to make the benefits and outcomes clear

  4. Your voice: don’t be afraid to write the way you speak. Have you ever read a great biography or memoir when you can actually hear the person talking while you’re reading it?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

We use feelings to make decisions

In 1928, Carl Jung identified that each person receives and processes information in four ways: thinking, feeling, knowing and sensing. Each of us favours one of the modes above the others but we all use all four.

In the processing that goes towards decision making, thinkers use data: facts and figures; they analyse and deduce. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Feelers consider their emotions, and there is a sense of ‘feeling their way’. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Knowers are the intuitive ones: they may not actually know how they made the decision, but they are sure it’s right. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And sensors will use the input from their senses to inform them.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Incidentally, this work by Jung forms the basis of the Myers-Briggs (and many other) personality metrics so, unlike most advances in theoretical psychology, this one has been tried and tested millions of times. In other words, we harness our favoured mode when analysing the data, but we use feelings to make the decision. This is why using the right words and images in your communication is the key to everything.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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