What was your favourite book when you were a child? Was there a story you loved in school and wanted to read or be told over and over again?
Great stories inspire us. They create a feeling, an emotional attachment. We become the characters. We don’t want them to end. How do they do that? And how can you generate the same feeling among the target audience for your business?
I caught up with crime author Rachel Amphlett and asked her what the key elements of a good story are and how to hook people in so they want to keep reading.
Rachel said: “I think the key thing to remember is keep it personal – give your readers an anchor point that they can relate to. If you can use emotion to relate a story to your audience and create empathy, you’ll hold them captive.
“In crime fiction, everyone has a motive – even the villain. When I’m developing a novel, I ask myself: ‘why is that person doing/thinking/saying that? What’s driving them?’
“Obviously, your customers aren’t planning a murder, but you can apply the same technique to B2B writing – what motivates you? What motivates your readers? What will motivate them to reach out to you for help?”
Every story needs a beginning, a middle and an end. Although the beginning does not have to be the start and the end does not need to be where the action stops. A serial is a story made up of lots of shorter stories. Some of these last a day or a week, while some can last for months. It needs a cast of characters, real or imaginary. And it needs pivotal moments which pull your reader along, making them want to read on (or scroll down).
Your business has many stories to tell. It has a foundation story, the oldest of all. There is a branding story and all the things which inspire and inform you. Your team will all have stories which feed into yours. You will have faced challenges in your businesses and your customers will present you with problems to solve. There are the developments in your industry to tell people about.
You do not need to tell your story all at once. Map it out and plan how your story will unfold on your blog, across social media and in your marketing. Write with your reader in mind. Always focus on what would interest them and how you will keep that interest.
What’s the first thing you need to do? Make a start. Write that first chapter. It can be a tweet a 500 word blog post or a picture. But if you don’t start narrating, no-one will ever hear the great story you have to tell.
Rachel Extance helps business tell their stories so they can reach a wider audience for their work and ideas. A professional journalist, she knows how to write stories people find relevant and engaging. If you would like help to get your message across, need someone who can write articles for you regularly, or you would like actionable ideas for how to tell more people about what you do, get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her on social media.