Mastering the Art of Storytelling in Commerce – A Complete Guide

Storytelling is a treasured art. It goes back centuries as an ancient form of communication. It will always serve to entertain, inform, and educate mass audiences. Doesn’t it follow that this form of communication—written or verbal—should be used for promoting your products, services, and brand? If you want to be a highly successful business, using storytelling in your content is the key to success.

The beautify of using storytelling marketing is that it’s so simple. Glenn Conradt, vice president of Global Marketing at CoreMedia says that’s what makes it so effective.

“In today’s digital age, it isn’t necessary to spend large amounts of time or money to create impactful, inspirational content,” he says. “Sincerity will trump glitz any day.” 

Incorporating more sincerity through storytelling is an art form that takes time and practice. As you work on both, consider these tips for mastering the art:

See how your story fits into a wider angle

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In commerce, the product or service that you’re selling is rarely the whole story. It’s not the most important thing in your consumer’s life, and you shouldn’t try to market it as such. It’s much better to take your small piece of the story and present it from a wider viewpoint, enabling consumers to see how your product or service can truly make a difference.

“You or I may think that a power drill is ‘pedestrian’ and uninspiring—but to the person who truly needs that product, it can be a very emotional thing indeed,” explains Conradt when asked how storytelling can serve as an inspiration in the commerce sector.

“Ultimately, it’s not the product itself that’s inspiring,” he continues. “It’s what the customer is planning to do with it. That’s the story. I may have no interest in a new blender, but to my neighbor, who has been trying for years to launch a small business making ingredients for healthy smoothies, or my sister-in-law, who’s planning a huge margarita party to welcome her husband home from Afghanistan, this blender might be a lifesaver.”

You may also like: How to Incorporate Visual Storytelling into Your Digital Marketing Strategy.

Elevate promotion into art

Promotion can be artwork if it’s allowed to work in tandem with your story. There’s something beautiful about envisioning the way that a product will have a lasting impact on a person’s life, even if it doesn’t mean as much to you personally.

Creating art out of your content all depends on how you approach the process. Define what your goal is—to educate, inspire, entertain, or a little bit of each. Then, craft blog posts, videos, and visuals to promote your content.

A great example of balancing promotion and storytelling is Chairish, an online and curated marketplace for vintage and used decor and furniture. Look at one of their blog posts on the classic Chesterfield sofa. They discuss the history and significance of each piece they sell while subtly guiding customers’ purchasing decisions. They use history, photography, modern insights, and actionable tips to create a story that involves customers envisioning Chairish products in their own homes. The entire piece leaves a mark on whoever reads it.

Give your blog content a clearer voice

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Before televisions, storytelling was a favorite form of entertainment. People would gather around the radio to hear their favorite storytellers present each week. They would use distinctive vocabulary and inflections to set them apart from others.

Commercial storytelling requires the same tactics, only with the written word. There’s a lot of proverbial noise on the internet with competing companies trying to make their mark. You have to curate a voice through your content that elevates you above that noise.

“The key is to demonstrate the care and individual personality that goes into the creation of your product – then to communicate it through active, two-way participation in social networks,” says Conradt. 

Vocabulary, the kinds of inflection you use, jokes you tell, and other personalized tidbits can evolve into a storytelling voice for your business. Every blog post, webpage, and video should incorporate this voice to set your brand apart from others.

Recommended for you: Storytelling – It Engages and Persuades.

Share the stories of others

Mastering the Art of Storytelling in Commerce - Share the stories of others

Customers often rely on the experiences of others before they make a purchasing decision, and that’s a tool you can use to your advantage. If you want to reach your target audience, tell their stories.

For example, consider this advertisement for Cambridge Satchel company through Google. The massive search engine uses the process of manufacturing these high-end satchels to promote their own product, Google Chrome. Google’s story about another company provides social proof through emotional connection.

You could also use the stories of individuals to promote your organization. Help Scout, for instance, dedicated some of their blog content to feature valued customers. They spotlighted one customer per month, telling stories about personal interests and needs. Hearing how their product improved the lives of each of these customers entertains readers while proving a great product.

The brand benefits of storytelling are unparalleled. Companies can connect with their customers on a more personal level. They can offer products in context and answer real needs. It helps them create authenticity and turn mundane marketing into an art form that’s more effective than your run-of-the-mill tactics.

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Article Published by Souvik Banerjee

Web Developer & SEO Specialist with 10+ years of experience in Open Source Web Development, specialized in Joomla & WordPress development. He is also the moderator of this blog “RS Web Solutions”.

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