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Content Copywriting What’s the Story? Expert Tips to Improve Your Storytelling Skills

by Carla Young
Paints displayed on a wooden table

Storytelling is an art but it’s also a skill. As one of the most commonly used means of communicating, we encounter storytelling almost every day of our lives. But have you considered how storytelling could be used to draw people into the story of your brand?

The storytelling muscle – we all have it

Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer of the Content Marketing Institute, was a guest on our Brand Newsroom podcast. Among other useful insights, Robert reflected on a mantra he has held for years, Storytelling is like a muscle. If you dont use it, it will whither away.” In this perspective, storytelling needs a regular ‘work out’ to keep strong and healthy.

We were prompted to ask whether everyone has a storytelling muscle to start off with?

According to Robert,

Absolutely yes. Ive had it happen at workshops where somebody will come up to me and say, ‘I don’t know how to tell a story.’ You absolutely do. You just dont get to exercise that muscle (for storytelling) in business.”

As an example, he continued to explain,

If youve ever had a girlfriend or a boyfriend, youve convinced one person with your storytelling capabilities. Youve been a successful marketer at least once. Understanding that strength is key.

Brand Storytelling

The trick is to learn how to apply your natural storytelling abilities and harness society’s fascination with a good story in order to benefit your business. This is called brand storytelling, where storytelling techniques are used to create a personality for your brand through narrative. The practice of brand storytelling relies on the muscle Robert claims we all have. It also relies on the skill of selecting which stories benefit your brand and which do not.

Does your story pass the TRUTH test?

For this skill, I spoke to a storytelling dynamo of our own. After working in the media spotlight for over 20 years, James Lush has his own method to identify what makes a good story, something he calls The TRUTH Test.

According to James, any good story contains the following elements:

  • Topical –The story is important in the context of recent events
  • Relevant –The story is interesting to a group of people or a specific audience. In this area, focusing on the quality over the quantity is key. It’s better to have a smaller, targeted audience than reach a large number of people who don’t care about your story.
  • Unusual –With a story, the aim is to provoke an ‘I didn’t know that’ reaction from your audience. What can they learn from your story? What separates this story from the others in the pack?
  • Trouble –This is what makes a story interesting, finding a conflict in the story. Showing a “problem – solution” format engages the audience in the journey of your narrative.
  • Human. –Put the people into your story. How can your audience relate to your characters? Will they feel empathy? What makes your characters real?

In finding your story and exploring these TRUTH elements you must become nosy. Being inquisitive and seeking the deeper meaning to the information on the surface is how you find interesting content for your stories. It’s how you ultimately end up with the most fascinating and engaging stories for your audience.

If you feel you need a bootcamp for your storytelling muscles or help finding the perfect story, contact Lush – The Content Agency for training and advice on how to tell your brand story.

About the author : Carla Young

Carla Young is the Marketing Strategist at Lush - The Content Agency. She develops strategic content marketing assets for clients across a range of industries.

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