Illustration of happy story in business

Nailed It – How to Tell a Business Story for Success

What is storytelling when it comes to marketing a business? It’s simply telling the story of how your company resolved a problem.

Any good story has a beginning, middle and an end. The beginning of your story is the how you came to identify a problem or challenge. This could be a so-called pain point that consumers are facing until someone builds a better mousetrap. Or, it could be a question of figuring out how to arrive at a better price to bring more value to the marketplace. Or, it can even be finding or acknowledging a shortcoming and turning around a better product or service. The message around the latter can simply be a cheerful, we listening to you and we now offer the new and improved widget.

The middle of this kind of story is relating how you evaluated how to solve the problem. This part of the story might involve character development (a valued employee or star player), appealing to stakeholders (clients/customers/vendors). Here, you decide how much of the backstory is needed to convey your plot. Too many details, and you will lose your audience. The key is to winnow down the details to the essential specifics. This is true for any medium in which you tell this business story, but specific wording can be crucial for search engine optimization. Just like a search engine is crawing website seeking results with specific words, your target audience is also looking for the specifics that relate to their situation.

The middle of the story should also involve action that illustrates the concrete steps taking to resolve a problem. As you tick off the action items, be sure to check them again the classic storytelling list of who, what, when, where, how and why. Decide which of those elements are critical to your story and include them. You can generalize here to obscure a customer or client’s identity, e.g., a mid-size manufacturer in the U.S. Southeast, as opposed to the company’s name. (Also, check with the customer to make sure they are OK with this. Who knows? They might want you to name them and link to their website. This kind of strategic alignment in marketing could help you to if they link back to highlight your company as a trusted resource.)

The end of the story should provide a tangible result, ideally with some numbers to illustrate a positive change. We published more than 130 blogs that drove traffic to the website, boosted visits to the Twitter profile by 550%, and bested similarly situated businesses in Facebook post reach. The bottom line for most businesses is what am I going to get and how much is it going to cost me. Be sure your business story gives prospects of sense of that value proposition so they embrace it when you give them your pitch. Facts always drive business decisions, so the more specifics you provide in your storytelling, the better.