15 Apr Storytelling and Your Brand: Tips to Cut Through the Noise and Make a Genuine Connection With Your Audience
There are plenty of businesses out there, and some of them do what you do, but not the way you do it. So how do you tell your story, cut through all the noise and make a genuine connection with your audience? Here are seven steps to help.
1. Know Your Story
If you don't know what your brand is about and what you're trying to sell or share—you can't expect other people to. It sounds simple, but check with others, really look to the heart of what you do, why you do it, and how you started. You may be surprised by what you learn.
2. Understand Your Audience
Equally as important as knowing thyself, is knowing who is going to actually care. If you can't identify a clearly defined audience, you might want to reevaluate the business that is your brand. Understand how that audience consumes media, and know what is important to them.
Don't use local television or newspaper ads for for folks who spend most of their time on websites or social media platforms.
3. Determine if Your Message is Relevant
Over the lifetime of your brand, you'll likely have a number of different stories you'll want to share with audience or audiences. Carefully determine if the story you're crafting is relevant to your entire audience, or a segment of it. You might find you need to tell your story in a few different ways for different segments of your audience; it'll take more work, but it'll be worth it.
4. Identify the Immersive Experience
Once your audience realizes your brand can meet a need of theirs and they feel like you're speaking their language, they'll seek multiple ways to build connections with you—get going and create these meaningful opportunities for connection! You pitch a PR story, they read it. They find and follow you on Instagram. You decide to host an event; they attend. They buy your product or invest in your service; they talk about it on their social channels. One of your key people interacts with their content; they decide to meet up over coffee. Your key person realizes they can't have coffee with everyone, but had a meaningful conversation worth scaling; you launch a branded podcast...
5. Turn Up the Authenticity, Dial Down the Fluff
This one is really simple: no bullsh*t. Period. Authenticity is becoming a buzz word. Don't try to be authentic. Just. Be. Authentic.
6. Make an Emotional Connection
Authenticity and emotional connection are pretty closely linked. People aren't looking for a brand to tell them what to do; they want to be connected with and they want to feel like they've come to a conclusion with you. You're in their corner, right? You can't fake an emotional connection. It's based on your passion for your business and how it helps the world and the people in it, so, circling back to number 1, you really need to know what that is.
7. Align ALL Content (Words + Actions + Images)
Content is currency. Choose your investments wisely and make sure every element is aligned with your brand and messaging goals. The words you use, the actions you take, the images incorporated should all be aligned—otherwise you're undercutting your investment.
Alyssa J. McClenning and Mary Darcy presented, "The Untold Story: How Brand Storytelling Delivers Powerful Content" at AMA's Breakfast Brief in March 2018.
Alyssa J. McClenning is the Chief Storyteller for The MACSFIELDNOTES Creative Co. in Saratoga Springs. She cut her teeth in traditional communications and grew her career alongside the boom of digital platforms, having worked in The White House and the arts before starting her own company. From personable pitches to social media marketing, visual content and writing, Alyssa loves both the art and science of storytelling and believes everyone has a story worth telling.
Mary Darcy is an award winning radio/television/web content producer. She is the winner of American Women in Radio and Television’s Gracie Allen award for “Herstory,” a public radio series narrated by Star Trek’s Kate Mulgrew. For eight years Mary wrote, produced, and hosted the nationally syndicated radio program “51%.” She and Greg Dahlmann created, wrote, produced, and hosted the public radio program, “The Weekly Rundown.” Mary’s public television documentary, “No Ordinary Lives” was a local companion to Ken Burns’ “The War.” “No Ordinary Lives” was the recipient of the New York State Broadcasters Award for best documentary. Mary is the co-owner of Uptown/Downtown Media, producers of Alloveralbany.com.