Stories Sell. Are You Telling Your Story?
Best Practices for Corporate Storytelling
Willona M. Sloan
How well are you telling your company’s story? How often do you update your clients on your new services? When do you tell people about your successes?
In the current marketplace, ads aren’t enough. Facebook posts aren’t enough. Twitter isn’t enough. For the best results, these pieces should work together with an integrated storytelling strategy.
Stories sell. Companies like Hurley (owned by Nike), Google, Starbucks, and Boeing use strategic stories to build brand loyalty, promote their products, and share their company’s mission and vision.
Your company should be using storytelling (both print and video stories) to communicate core corporate values, to highlight your products and services, and to let people know about all the ways that your organization gives back to the community.
Storytelling should be part of your company’s overall marketing and communications strategy, but it should also involve every member of your organization. As you plan for 2017, think about how you can integrate a storytelling culture into the way that you do business.
Use these six corporate storytelling best practices to get started:
1. Engage and connect with your customers. To do that, you need to think of your corporate stories as a way to both entertain and inform. Get creative.
2. Share diverse voices. Use more than one author for your stories. Identify people—staff, clients, industry leaders—who can share a range of perspectives.
3. Set a regular editorial schedule. Develop a year-long strategy for creating and disseminating stories. Take advantage of annual events and meetings, volunteer events, and other corporate activities to start building out your editorial calendar.
4. Solicit ideas from across your organization. Ask your staff for ideas. You will find that stories come everywhere: from the finance team to the product development division to the custodial staff.
5. Show results. Whether you are highlighting your community partnerships or client success stories, make sure that you demonstrate how your company gets results.
6. Show some personality. Have fun, inspire, motivate. Demonstrate personality through your company’s stories.
7. Use storytelling best practices. There’s nothing more annoying than being sucked in by click bait. If you promise a story then deliver one -- not a case study or a press release or a marketing brochure. Give them a story that’s moving and informative. Make reading your story worth the effort.
Stories can be published on your website, in your newsletters, and in your annual report. If your company has a blog that’s grown static, now’s the time to create a thoughtful strategy (or let it die altogether if it’s a disaster).
A true storytelling strategy requires planning and investment. It’s worth it.
Willona Sloan provides content creation and storytelling training to help companies and nonprofit organizations engage, inform, and generate revenue. Learn more at willonasloan.com.