Storytelling has been called the top business skill of the next five years. And while brand storytelling has been used to attract customers for hundreds of years, its power as a marketing technique has never been stronger.
Today, we have seen the surge of web-based content marketing as a way for brands to tell their stories. This surge is so great that studies suggest the amount of content available on the web is doubling every 9 to 24 months, leading some to question whether we are heading into ‘content shock.’
As a supplement or alternative to web-based content, in-person events offer the unique opportunity to tell your story to an engaged and captive audience. People at events are there specifically to absorb your content through the sessions they attend, the people they meet with, and the overall event experience. But just because they’re there to ‘take it all in’ doesn’t mean your story is going to be memorable or effective.
How can you make the storytelling opportunity really count?
We turned to the “king of storytelling,” Seth Godin, for tips on telling a great story. See if you can put these ideas, summarized from his best-selling book, “All Marketers are Liars,” to work the next time you’re presenting at or hosting an event.
- Make it true. Great stories are consistent and authentic, not contrived or forced.
- Make a promise. Promise something exceptional or your story isn’t worth listening to. Your promise can relate to fun, money, safety, or a shortcut. Just make it bold.
- Be trustworthy. Trust is hard to come by so your story needs to be extremely credible.
- Be subtle. Allow the audience to make their own conclusions.
- Get to the point. Remember, first impressions count. Engage the audience quickly.
- Appeal to the senses. To make your story more memorable, show, don’t just tell.
- Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Godin makes the point that great stories are rarely aimed at everyone. Instead they are targeted to a small audience of people who really care, and then those people spread the word. In other words, stories are personalized to the individual interests.
- Don’t contradict yourself. Your brand story should be true on all levels.
- Tap into the existing worldview. According to Godin, “the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.”
Whether you agree storytelling should be considered the #1 skill or somewhere down the list, it’s hard to deny the value and impact of a good brand story. Let your events be the means for delivering a meaningful story to your prospects and customers.
Download our guide to personalized event experiences for more details on connecting with your event attendees.