Six steps to telling your story

People love stories, especially if they entertain us while we learn something new.

We get a real kick from finding out how others have overcome adversity to achieve great success, or come crashing down from on high in deserved retribution for a past or present misdeed.

We live in a world weary of advertising that tries to push us into buying products’

Storytelling is how newspapers, bloggers and other media capture our attention, draw us in and build a relationship. They work even more effectively if we can relate to the people or issues being covered.

The best stories capture attention and draw us in

We live in a world weary of advertising that tries to push us into buying products which somehow make us instantly sexier, richer or younger. These messages don’t help us relate to a brand, they simply hypnotize us into trying to fix the wrong things in our life.

So how can you tell your business story in a way that proves engaging and informative?

1. Know your audience

Who do you want to tell your story to? Are they busy business people in a particular geographic location, or is it a wider consumer group impacted by a particular problem or opportunity? Either way, tailor your words appropriately.

2. Find a ‘hero’

While your central character doesn’t need to be superhuman, perhaps your story’s focus is on someone who’s just started a new business, overcome adversity, achieved outstanding feats for charity or maybe they’re providing valuable insight into a vital issue for industry or society? If they’re informative and entertaining, these characters are your story’s heroes.

3. Have a point

Simply listing an organisation’s benefits, interviewing the CEO as to why their company is brilliant, or congratulating yourself on winning an award isn’t a story – it’s a shopping list. You need to…

4. …be newsworthy

Always try and deliver something new, unique, dramatic or quirky, or link into existing issues by offering a fresh perspective or knowledgeable assessment of a subject. Above all be truthful and factually accurate in everything you say. Think about headlines that catch your eye and experiment with your own.

5. Add value

If your hero is an expert in their field and their advice is invaluable, this will help position your organisation as a ‘thought-leader’. While this may not translate into overnight sales, it will help raise awareness, establish your profile and enhance your reputation.

6. Use the right media

Consider where your target audiences get their information from. This might be through local or national newspapers, magazines, the web or social media. A story on Facebook will be different to a story in a blog, on YouTube or in the press. Look at other successful stories in the area you’re considering and learn from the best examples.

Mark Ferguson is Director of More Fire PR Ltd.