Storytelling is the art of stringing together your ideas and words of fantasy and everyday observations into interesting sentences. One book I read recently used the art of storytelling to capture the latest marketing must-have for businesses and individuals especially digital marketers. Written by Harshit Bhardwaj, a digital marketer since 2008, author and publisher, the book is a guideline for people looking to meet the stringent standards of Google and Moz, while staying true to their identity. My take, a child rules the heart of parents, authors write for readers, and brands produce content for their audiences. Each one is telling a story, as am I!
Who am I to tell you about selling through stories? I am – a mother, a child, a homemaker, a content marketer, a friend, a sister, a wife, an aunt, a dreamer, and so many more things! Society expects me to separate each part of my personality, but, how can I? Each role defines me, and yet, the brand ‘me’ lacks an identity. I read this book, AtoB by Harshit Bhardwaj, and I realized, the need to first get my story straight. So, I am many things, but what is my story?
I am not here to review the book or talk about my writing journey – I am sharing with you things you and I can explore as a brand. I am here to share #10things from the book we can adapt to become better content creators and storytellers – to make our brand visible and viable.
Anyone who thinks this should be for professionals only, I ask you to share with the world, your thoughts on why parenting is not the most important profession in the world.
- Understanding the concept of storytelling=
What is a story? Is it a picture that speaks a thousand words or a few words creating indelible images? That is a debate for photographers vs authors! But, I can tell you one thing, each one of us is a storyteller. Artists and marketers have honed this skill to perfection, as have parents and guardian. Hark back to a dialogue favored by parents and teachers across the world, “I am counting till 3!”. They use language and emotions to get a child to react. So, what is storytelling:
- Expressing – your deepest thoughts and immediate desires, directly and indirectly
- Impressing – showing people your mental or emotional intelligent
- Processing – ability to use language and pictures to express, impress and let go off stress
Storytelling is an idea to express and a goal to reach
2. An important aspect of sorytelling is nothing but the power to communicate!
Sagas, odes, short stories, horror stories, cartoon strips, corporate presentations, favourite threats by parents, are different forms of communications. They are created to tell a story. A story to inform, educate or entertain. In the book, Harshit uses the premise of 1001 nights where the new queen uses her communication skills to tell stories. Professionals, like you and I, need to tell our stories like Sheherazade, because the king (your audience):
- Effortlessly – should believe her stories are not designed to win her life
- Flawlessly – is intelligent, and he cannot be fooled
- Repeatedly – will leave you if you don’t express or impress
All you need is appropriate conversations to create your story.
3. You need the audience to react to your story
You want to tell a story to capture your audience! You use your power of words, string`ing together random letters and words to form sentences that appeal, first to you and then to your audience. Are you writing a personal diary for your eyes only? Or is the story and narrative you are creating is for others? You need to know who your audience is:
- Family – your kids listening to you create a bedtime story
- Peers – the lover or boss you are trying to impress
- World – a stranger interacting with your brand for the first time
Treat your audience like royalty, listening to all their whims!
4. Every story needs a narrative
Many people confuse storytelling with narrative, or narrative with communication! It’s easy to! A 1001 nights is a story, the narrative is the princess walking down in her bridal wear, ideas churning in her head of how to keep her King engaged. Similarly, you have to create a story, but more importantly, you need a powerful narrative to:
- Pique audience’s interest – they should want you continue the narration
- Make readers emotional – they should laugh, cry, fear, go into shock
- Keep pace – adapt and adopt to changing tastes and behavior
Never forget the story, but, keep tweaking the narrative!
5. Call it magic or love at first sight
Stories, both written and pictorial, have always celebrated love at first sight. Falling in love with another person, a child you hold for the first time, a pet who licks your wounds, or a brand’s story for consumption by your users, makes the stories believable and likeable. Steve Jobs wanted people to love his computers. The product has to work but bring in the magic. To fall in love with a story:
- React – one emotion to react, 0a child listening to monsters
- Reminisce – one word to reminisce, an adult remembering the first kiss under the stars
- Connect – one look to connect, a beautifully-designed computer by Apple
All it takes is one moment or one emotion to connect and fall in love and feel the magic.
6. Self-belief makes for a better story
I read somewhere that Dementors in Harry Potter books are a manifestation of the depression that JK Rowling faced? Truth or fiction, no idea! But, the terrifying demons had the whole wizard world and the human population scared. The demons will take away your peace, piece by piece, and Rowling’s demons were the publishers rejecting her story, repeatedly. Yet, she stayed true to herself, and her narrative. For the best story you will ever create, you need to have:
- Self-belief – believe in yourself, and your own story, odds
- Conviction – stay true to your story against all odds
- Composure – never let the stress mar the story you want to tell
Whisper the words to your soul before you broadcast to the world!
7. Desires are necessary to keep the narrative going
The first lesson that a student of economics is taught, human wants are limited. They keep growing. Even your desire and passion for your story and narrative will keep changing! Your audience’s desires will also grow. A two-year-old will be happy sitting on your lap and listening to your voice. Your ten-year-old, will want audio-visuals. Your first customer will be fall in love with the first look, two-years down the line, they will want a better look. In Harshit’s words:
- Survive – storytelling is about the survival of the smartest
- Sustain – add novelty with a new narrative
- Succeed – love, money or fame, it’s waiting for you
Goal realization makes for happy endings!
8. Use the modern tools to get your story heard!
Oral narratives have survived centuries! There is no accurate way to measure the timeline of these stories. But, today, your story can survive. Once published online, it will remain there, ready for viewing at an instant. A story you tell your child will shape how they behave 30-years later! Similarly, the story you tell your customers will affect their choices! Don’t hesitate to use these tools! Here are the tools you can use to get your kids, colleagues or clients to listen:
- Social media posts – you can create instant stories
- Person-to-person communication – buy a storybook, or use your child’s imagination to create a story unique to your family
- Study the data – find a method, use it to get results, keep repeating
Create data, but don’t forget to analyse!
9. Never let your story waver
Storytelling is difficult – you are weaving tales that may or may not succeed. Your success is defined by your goals, a sale on your e-store, a child’s hug, a boss’s nod of approval, million likes on YouTube. The list is endless. But, your conviction will drive the story, until is it told, retold, shared and reshared, through generations. To keep moving forward, you need to keep:
- Walking – take small steps in the beginning,
- Talking – never let the narrative die out, keeping adding the ‘masala’
- Judging – the reaction of your audience is necessary to change the narrative
Once again, stories are great starting points on the way to success
10. What is your S-effect?
It is the one I am working on! What is the intended effect of all my writings? I am writing because I like to write. Because it is an inherent talent, not many people have. If enjoyment is the only motive, then why publish. What is my S-effect:
- Applause from my peers – or recognition from a society which hates with passion?
- Desire to let go and be unabashed or a reflection of my life?
- Means to earn – become rich and famous?
The billion dollar question, all of these or none of these?