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Storytelling Marketing: What It Is & Why You Should Care


My good friend from college is a little…disaster-prone. Sweet to the core and full of good intentions, she’s the girl who will always stick by your side. But there’s a good chance she’ll be doing so while fighting off the flu, recovering from a sprained ankle, and suffering from an allergic reaction to your perfume. From freak accidents to bizarre health problems, she’s had it all. She’s pretty much allergic to the world.

It’s for this reason that my friend typically spends her weekends at home doing laundry. Sure, it’s boring, but it beats doctor appointments and Benadryl. Last week, however, my friend got invited to a roller skating party. Sick of her routine and a bit stir crazy, she decided to attend. And it went just as well as you’d think.

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My friend got to the plex, strapped on the skates, and gave it ago. It had been several years since her last rollerblading adventure. Incredibly, however, she only fell once. Her husband fell multiple times. The other kids toppled over like dominos. But not her. She owned it. She was so proud of her success. Then she skated off the ring.

By the time she undid the velcro on her skates, her hands were black and blue and purple all over. You would’ve thought she fist fought a bear made of titanium. One fall is all it took. I swear that girl has superpowers.

“This is why I never go out,” she told me in exacerbation.

“Hey,” I said, “think of it this way: One day, this will make a great story.”

She then proceeded to throw her banana at my face.

Humans are drawn to stories.
We watch television and read books to immerse ourselves in a narrative. We follow news articles just to understand the whole story. We psychoanalyze everything that happens to us, even the most random coincidences, in hopes of finding out the why and the how.

Yep. Humans are basically story addicts. But, for marketers like you, this might not be a bad thing.

Storytelling isn’t just an effective way to create blockbusters and make the New York Times’ Best Seller List. It’s also a way to sell your business. I’m not talking cheesy commercial narratives or writing your brand backstory on a brochure. I’m talking storytelling marketing.

What Is Storytelling Marketing?

Over the past five or so years, storytelling has become a buzzword in the world of marketing. Marketing techniques like Donald Miller’s StoryBrand have gained popularity. Narrative copywriting is becoming more and more common. More businesses are replacing their traditional marketing tactics with a customer-centric, story-based inbound approach. Storytelling is officially the next best thing for anyone looking to sell their business – and could very possibly be the future of marketing as a whole. But...what exactly is it?

Storytelling marketing is a marketing technique in which all aspects of the business’s content form a cohesive, easy-to-understand narrative. Unlike more traditional “marketing stories,” however, this version of marketing focuses heavily on the customer rather than the business itself.

The website content paints a picture of the customer, their problem, and how the company can help address it. The social media posts provide insight into what the customer must overcome to meet their goals. The videos showcase how great life will be for the customer after they’ve defeated their obstacles. And, all together, the content creates an easy-to-understand yet persuasive narrative that resonates with the customer on a deeper level than forgettable self-promotion.

Above all, storytelling marketing should be:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Cohesive

Those three Cs are what separates true storytelling marketing from traditional marketing that includes the occasional story. With this technique, everything you create is designed to tell a singular narrative – and, hopefully, it’s a really good one.

Ok, But Why Should You Care?

So that’s storytelling copywriting in a nutshell. Like all new marketing trends, it’s shiny and eye-catching. But is it really effective?

According to science, yes. Our brands are more receptive to information delivered in a narrative format. It’s easier to digest and easier to understand. And if something is easier to understand, it’s also easier to buy into. Check out the video below for more info.

I know what you’re thinking. I work at an agency that focuses heavily on storytelling content. Of course, I’d say storytelling works. But here’s the thing: we weren’t always story based. There was a time (a very dark, depressing time) in ROI Online’s past where we followed traditional marketing tactics. Then we found story, and we never went back.

Why? Because it actually works.

And that’s why you should care about storytelling marketing. There are so many what-ifs and uncertainties in marketing. Promotions can fall flat. Advertisements can fail to bring in leads. Emails can bounce. But if you have a tried-and-true tactic for connecting with your customers and building lasting relationships, you have a better chance of being successful. And, in the end, that’s what really matters.

You can watch the rest of my video series to learn more about why storytelling is the future of marketing, how to put it into place, and common mistakes to avoid.

And while you’re at it, download our case study and see how the StoryBrand version of storytelling marketing has helped our customers gain some serious ROI.

Find out how StoryBrand can transform your business! Download our free case study.

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