By Kenneth Hitchner, Public Relations & Social Media Director
Digital storytelling will be the most important communication trend affecting public relations in the next five years, according to the Global Communications Report 2017. As a result, businesses should consider incorporating digital story telling into their public relations campaigns. It’s a powerful way to communicate “cause and effect” through emotion and connections, which help retain the content. In a world of information overload and overstimulation, storytelling allows businesses to cut through the clutter and deliver their messages in a memorable way.
There are five reasons why businesses should tell their stories online including:
One: People buy your story, before they buy your stuff.
The fundamental challenge with selling goods and services is that they are “flat” or one-dimensional. You might sell services, such as accounting or insurance. Or, you might sell a product, such as lighting fixtures. Other companies do too. What makes your products/services so different? Well, that’s why you need a story. A story allows you to add layers of interest, which makes it more attractive and compelling. It also enables you to connect your product/service to a person or its history and make a link to nostalgia. Nostalgia can be anything from a childhood memory or an old car. A study on nostalgia marketing, revealed that the feelings of social connectedness that arise from nostalgia make people value money less and spend more freely.
Two: People will pay more for an experience.
If you’ve ever been in a wedding, you know what I’m talking about. Want to cut your catering bill by 40 percent? Don’t tell them that you’re getting married. Through storytelling, you can create a product/service that is unique. The easiest way to increase margins is to be different.
Three: People converse online.
Google released a report that examined the new buy cycle for B2B companies. Here’s the key takeaway: 90 percent of a purchaser’s mind is made up before he/she reaches out to the first sales person. If they haven’t talked to anyone, where are they getting all this information? They are getting it online. In today’s digital world, no one needs to do business with a stranger.
Four: Feel + think = believe.
If you want to influence another person, perhaps change his/her mind, you need to make that person feel something and think something. When that happens, they will believe something. The “feel” component refers to the emotional aspect and the “think” component refers to the logical part. That is why a $1 bill, which costs 4.9 cents to make, is worth 100 cents. A story can check both boxes. It also can be applied to all mediums such as web, social, public relations, blogs, email, etc.
Five: Helping is the new selling.
How can you attract prospects to your business? The answer is simple: karma. What is karma? At Creative Marketing Alliance, we’ve created our own business interpretation of karma called the Karma 2-Step. To understand it, you have to answer these two questions:
1. Generally speaking, who do people do business with?
Answer: People do business with people that they like. That’s why the button on Facebook reads “Like” not “Buy.”
2. If people really do business with people that they like, who do people like?
Answer: People like people who help them! And that’s it. Today, people no longer seek, they search…meaning they search online. Every browser offers a search box that allows your prospect to type in their problem. So how do they find you as the solution? Tell a story that leads them directly to their solution.
CMA helped the New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA), which advocates for 110,000 registered nurses, end a five-year membership decline by telling a story that positions NJSNA as the defender of the profession. The social media program drove more than 21,000 nurses to NJSNA.org and more than 200 to the “Join Now” page. The social effort also grew followers (+44 percent) and engagement (+19 percent), which compelled more commitment from existing members and prospects. In addition, NJSNA’s membership grew 47 percent in one year.
Digital stories are effective in providing important information about your products/services, while captivating your target audiences in an interactive and emotionally charged way. You can start by thinking about your business and the stories you can tell. By doing this, you will increase your chances of making a strong connection with your current and prospective customers through digital media.
Kenneth Hitchner is the Public Relations and Social Media Director at Creative Marketing Alliance. Looking to tell your story online? CMA can help! Contact us at 800-852-4269 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.