Strategic storytelling: You’re talking. Are they listening?

Good storytelling is essential to marketing success.

Terri Smith, Wax’s Editorial Director, Special Projects, reports on her recent speech on the subject of strategic storytelling at the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics:

As with all these types of events, the session was full of eager conference-goers, rested and happily away from their daily grinds, looking for that magic bullet … that shot in the arm … that be-all and end-all secret for good editorial content. And I was happy to oblige.

Just like we tell our clients here at Wax, good storytelling – the kind that grabs a reader’s attention and forms the heart of branding – is essential to your marketing success. It depends entirely on your ability to reach out and engage your audiences. Build great stories and you will build a great brand at minimal cost to your organization. And master the art of storytelling, and your messages will rise above the din in today’s competitive marketplace.

So how do we define a good story?

Think of it as a good conversation and remember that the listener is as important as the speaker. The very best stories must be relevant to the listener. A good rule of thumb is – and I quote Bill Wax, here – “It’s not about you, it’s about them!”

Unlike generalizations, statistics or facts about your business or organization, stories provide context, emotion and – most importantly – an opportunity to relate and connect with your brand.

Passion is not enough and information is not enough. Strategic storytelling requires a thoughtful understanding of the audience. We find here at Wax that a three-pronged approach works best. We ask our clients the following three questions:

  1. Who is it that you want to move (your audience)?
  2. What are your goals (what change do you hope to incite)?
  3. What story or stories might work for this goal?

Chances are that you already have some great stories. And there’s an even better chance that you know your audiences extremely well. It’s the Wax editorial team’s job to flush out this information, create strong storytelling strategies and fashion your stories into compelling content that resonates with your audience members and/or moves them to the actions that will support your business goals.

And we have so much fun working through the process with you. Our editorial team simply loves a good story!

– Terri Smith