Developing storytelling is an important skill for any communication job, but especially for those involved with marketing. Storytelling a natural part of life, as Paul Zak put it, your brain loves storytelling. His research has shown that character-driven and emotional stories are more likely to be understood in a business context.
If you do a quick search for jobs on LinkedIn using the keyword “storytelling” will get you more than 3,000 results, a majority of which are for marketers. Marketers are fighting hard to be remembered and stand out in the age of distraction. According to Time, Americans check their phones on average 46 times a day, with exciting apps and the constant stream of news, there is tough competition for someone’s attention.
To be an effective storytelling marketer, your skill must be developed. If it isn't feasible to sit through an all-day workshop; here are three unconventional ways marketers can hone their storytelling skills.
1. Develop a go-to story. You know the scenario: you're sitting around telling stories with family or friends, having a great time. There are always those that seem to just be full of great stories in party situations, if you're that person, pick one of your stories and make it better. If you don’t have one, pick a story from your life and practice telling it in a way that entertains so that the next time you have the chance to tell that story you can try it out on a live audience.
2. Learn to edit video. Take footage from a recent vacation, family gathering, or birthday party and try to edit it into a compelling 2-minute video. There are plenty of free and simple types of video editing software you can learn on, including some simple to use apps for your phone. The process of trying to identify the key moments with a beginning, middle and end is a perfect way to practice crafting a story. The time constraint will force you to really ask what contributes most to the story. Not only that but at the end of it, you’ll have a shareable way to preserve a memory.
3. Read film reviews. Film reviews are often at the basic level just critiques of stories. These critics have a keen eye for what works and what does not. After reading a handful you’ll start to see patterns in character development, story arcs etc. that will help you bring some of those principles to your marketing efforts.
The world is changing fast and storytelling can help your product or service stick in the mind of the consumer. After honing your storytelling skills through these unconventional methods, you'll be ready to bring great stories to your next big marketing campaign.
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