Everyone has a story, and it’s by telling these stories and relating to one another through shared experiences, good and bad, that brings us together as fellow humans. We all just want the comfort of knowing there’s someone out there just like us, going through the same struggles and milestones, and we gravitate toward types of content that link us in this way.
This theory can be applied to memes that make us laugh, songs that connect us in shared heartbreak, and nostalgic pieces of media that shaped our young lives. We share them with as many people as we can because we want to connect along this common thread of emotion. It’s really the essence of virality.
How to Tell Stories That Connect
This is why storytelling can be very effective in your web copy, blog posts and other marketing content. When you write about your business, product, service, or self, you’re essentially telling a story you hope people will relate to. The things people connect with most are real experiences.
For example, I was a guest at a local BNI chapter breakfast yesterday, and the presenter for the day was the group’s resident acupuncturist. I’d written about acupuncture many times before, so the topic wasn’t new to me and I wasn’t expecting to be particularly compelled by the presentation.
So how did this man stand out from all the other acupuncturists I’d read about before?
He started by telling the story of how he became an acupuncturist and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He was inspired to work hard and achieve his dreams after watching his mother start a local school in his hometown, and grow it into a place where hundreds of parents wanted their children to learn. She did this while raising four children, sometimes in the same classroom where she taught. She became respected in her community for her hard work and determination, and the quality of the educational experience she offered. She grew her small school into something much bigger simply by word of mouth.
While he told the story and showed pictures of his mother with her classes, and himself as a litte baby, I was completely engaged. Even though the story had little to do with acupuncture, it demonstrated his core values for hard work in a much more effective way than simply saying he is a hard worker.
Storytelling is about building relationships. It shows people the essence of who you are or why you do something so they can understand, relate and connect with you on a deeper level. People are more likely to do business with someone they know than a stranger.
What’s Your Story?
When you’re thinking about how to tell the story of what you do and why people should care, you need to ask yourself a few questions.
1.) How did you get into this line of work? Is it something that’s been in your family for generations? Is it your true passion? Was there a moment when you knew it was for you? Describe it.
2.) What journey did you take to get where you are, and were there any particularly memorable stops along the way? What experiences shaped you into who you are today?
3.) What common story do you think you share with your target audience? Is there a place where you can connect on shared experiences or beliefs? Do you want to work with people like you, who appreciate where you came from, and can relate to your experience? Who are they and what is their story? Keep this in the back of your mind when you’re writing to them.
These simple questions can help you get to the essence of what you do and why, and help you form a story that connects on a deeper level with your audience. Don’t be afraid to share it – your story can mean the difference between standing out or blending in with all the other acupuncturists.