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Part 2 - Field Guide

Ten Powerful Storytelling Tips

At the heart of every successful marketing campaign is a great story. Storytelling has always been one of the most powerful tools in a salesperson or advertising copywriter’s toolbox. 

1.) Start with Strategy.  Decide what you want your business to be known for.  Farmers Insurance is known for paying claims, even the crazy ones.  GEICO is known for low rates, “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your car insurance”.  What do you want to be known for? 

2.) Your story must pull your prospects into the story, making them a part of your story and pulling them toward your desired conclusion. The best stories allow your prospects to draw that conclusion themselves rather than you relentlessly pushing that conclusion toward them.

3.) Not everyone is a natural-born storyteller, especially in 30 or 60-second ad form. Don’t be afraid to engage a professional writer or storyteller to help craft your stories. 

4.) Use the theatre of the mind to speak visually and create vivid emotional mind pictures. 

5.) Open with empathy. Empathy is defined as, “the capacity to participate in the feelings or ideas of another”…in this case, your prospects.

6.) The best stories appeal to the heart and the head. They cause audiences to both feel AND think…. they’re magical and logical.  People buy with emotion and justify their purchase with logic.  Today the goal is to get people to know you before they need you and get them to search you by name rather than by business or product category.

7.) Your story must move people from “what is” to “what if”.  People never take action until they first envision themselves taking that action. Your story needs to paint a picture that what you’re offering is both achievable and worthy. In the Dodge “So God made a farmer” ad, farmers could see themselves driving a Dodge truck on and off their farms.

8.) Don’t try to tell more than one story at a time.  If you have several stories worth telling, run several campaigns rather than trying to tell all your stories at once.

9.) Consider the use of creative techniques like music, sound effects, or third-party real-life testimonials to put emotion into your story.

10.) Don’t tell stories out of character. If you’re funny, tell funny stories. If you’re knowledgeable, offer advice in your stories. If a two-voice conversation ad, it must sound real. 

SoundADvice is a co-production of this station and ENS Media USA to help local businesses increase their sales and their return on investment in advertising. Your SoundADvice marketing tips are emailed to you on our behalf from ENS Media USA.

ENS Media USA's address is: 6523 S. Killarney Ct., Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57108

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