Six Steps to Create a Story Your Audience Will Really Connect With
Human connection. It’s the motivation for us to make particular choices, change our routines and patterns, and even step out of our comfort zones.
Have you ever thought about why this might be?
The answer rests simply with the fact that as human beings, we’re hard-wired to want to bond and relate as a core part of our psychological needs.
When taken in the context of connecting our businesses to our clients, the same main principle applies. One of the best ways to connect with your audience is through a targeted, emotionally rich, well-crafted narrative.
Storytelling, the kind that connects through emotion, is what drives people to make decisions, whether they are aware of the process or not. In order to create the story that elicits the kind of heartfelt response you’re looking for, it’s important to be authentic and clear in your intent.
Here are six steps to follow.
1) Define your objective.
Every story you tell for your business should have an end goal. Think about what you want to achieve, jot down your statement for it, and keep it foremost in your thoughts as you move forward.
For instance, your objective may be to sell a new service or product, convince your audience to keep an open mind about a new idea, or introduce yourself to future customers so they’ll know you better.
2) Know your audience.
Every story needs to have an audience it’s tailored for. When you’ve defined who the story is for, you can start to shape it so that it resonates with your audience. Here, you’ll want to think about who you want to reach and why they’re the ideal group of people to receive your story.
Make a note of the most specific details that encompass the totality of the group, and redefine this until it’s clear. Then list the things that matter to them, motivate them, and strike them on a very human and emotional level. Don’t be afraid to dig deep to draw a complete picture.
3) Know yourself.
This particular step may seem simple at first, but it may be the one that requires the most amount of introspective thinking.
In order to create the level of relatability you need to truly get your audience’s attention, you must know - on a very intimate level - how what you’re offering, what you do, and what makes you unique is relevant to your target audience and serves a need your audience has.
Once you’ve answered this, write down your response.
[Related: Do You Know Who YOU Are?]
4) Answer the question.
Once you’ve completed steps one through three, you can get to the core components of what makes up your story. Make a list of all the anecdotes, ideas, and sentiments you feel will help you get your point across to your audience.
There’s no need to analyze the exact pertinence or substantive viability of each particular point. The idea at this stage is to brainstorm and not restrict yourself to any particular mode of conveyance just yet.
5) Organize your thoughts.
If you’ve followed all the steps thus far, step five should come with more ease. It’s here you’ll want to revisit steps one, two, and three before combing through step four to select the set of ideas that most ideally follows a theme and conclusion to best convey your idea. Make sure where you’re going is still aligned well with your goals.
If you’ve gone off-track, go back and finesse the previous pieces so that your objective and story elements are in sync with each other.
Your ultimate story can take the form of various media, from articles and blog posts to video and verbal presentations. Select the one which most resonates with how you’d like to convey your story, along with the medium your audience will equally be receptive to. Remember to keep in mind the motivations and emotional drivers of your audience.
Create an outline of the main points in sequential order to direct your audience toward the end goal you have in mind.
6) Create and revise.
Now we get to the fun part. By now, you should be very clear as to what you’d like to accomplish by creating your story, who you’re creating your story for and why, how you’re the best person or organization to fulfill the need/end goal, the direction you’d like to take for your story, and how you’re going to go about helping your audience draw the conclusion you’re looking for.
For simplicity, let’s assume you’re writing an article. Expand upon the ideas of your outline and elaborate through anecdotes and other supporting evidence. Adding factual information can be helpful, but remember that the most compelling connections you can make are the ones that offer a degree of relatability, evoke an emotion, or provide a backstory to what you’re doing and why.
When it’s all laid out, check your work for the following:
- Show, don’t tell. (In other words, attach a degree of subtlety in your storytelling without being expository.)
- Avoid redundancy. (Have you made your point already? In many instances, there’s no need to over-reiterate. Assume your audience is smart and knows what you’re talking about.)
- Be succinct. (Keep the flowery language at bay and opt for easy-to-read lingo that’s easy to digest.)
Take a breather and re-edit. Repeat as necessary. A first draft is just the beginning. The best end products require setting time aside to edit for grammar, ease of flow, and resonance in language. Make sure your audience remains captivated by copy that not only makes sense to them, but is free from glaring errors.
Masterful storytelling is one part an art form balance, one part practice, and one part knowing yourself and your audience. By combining all three parts well and utilizing these six steps, your delivery and connection to your audience can become the kind that sparks new business relationships and services.
[Related: How and Why to Hire a Ghostwriter]
Christina Chan is the Founder + Creative Director of Kaleidoscope Content, a boutique, human-centered strategic marketing agency with a creative storytelling focus in short video formats. She caters to mid-sized architecture firms and the residential real estate market.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Founder + Creative Director
Christina is the Founder + Creative Director of Kaleidoscope Content. She offers personalized, human-centered marketing solutions, content and video for mid-sized architecture firms. She also tailors solutions and video production packages for urban residential real estate and multi-family real estate. My goals are to expand my professional network, connect with a positive community and make some new friends. Outside of my career, I'm a parent to a teenager, a pug owner and am making my health... Continue Reading
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