8 Mistakes You’re Making with Brand Storytelling

8 mistakes you're making with brand storytelling

If you decided to give brand storytelling a try but you’re not really seeing results, don’t give up. Finding great stories is a good start. Now it’s time to fine-tune your storytelling to ensure your audience feels connected, engaged, and inspired (and moved to act!). Even if you’re a storytelling veteran, take these eight ideas to heart to get even more out of your efforts.

Mistake #1: Content for content’s sake.

You’ve heard the advice: You need content. So you’ve been wildly producing content, and it’s jam-packed with keywords. The trouble is, writing for search engines won’t help you make meaningful connections with your membership. Stick with helpful, relevant content that speaks to your audience’s current needs in a conversational tone. Chances are, the right keywords will naturally appear.

Mistake #2: Ignoring comments.

In the same vein as #1 above, maintaining relevancy is key to a successful online presence and a successful organization. Listen to what members are saying. What are they talking about? What are they sharing? It’s okay to find negative comments as long as they’re part of a productive, meaningful discussion. If everyone is complaining, or no one is talking at all, it might be time for a new strategy.

Mistake #3: No strong visuals.

So much compelling research suggests that to truly reach your members you need vivid color images that paint a compelling, authentic picture of your organization’s value. Take things to the next level with informative, helpful videos to encourage sharing and satisfy social media algorithms at the same time.

Mistake #4: Assuming technical content and storytelling don’t mix.

Just because the information you wish to convey isn’t as “exciting” as a consumer product doesn’t mean you can’t have great brand storytelling. Stories are carefully crafted based on the value your organization provides to your membership—and that is exciting. As an added bonus, choosing a story format for technical information increases the chances that your audience will remember the info.

Mistake #5: Not doing it enough.

Human beings are busy and easily distracted. Crafting a few great stories won’t be enough to draw all your members to you. Marketing research suggests that you need to reach out to a prospect 7 to 13 times before they’re convinced to make a purchase. You don’t need a new story every day, but you do need a comprehensive plan of direct mail, email, social media, and other promotions that you launch on a regular basis.

Mistake #7: Discontinuity.

Along with regular communication, you need to be consistent with your message. Use images with a similar look and feel. Use the same tone across all written communications. Include a hash tag specific to your organization and/or your events to help members and prospects connect the dots. Your base should be able to easily recognize you no matter where they encounter you.

Mistake #8: There’s no story.

Interesting facts, testimonials, and reviews are not stories. They are important, maybe even juicy, details about your organization and the value you bring to members. But keep in mind that a story has characters, rising action, a climax, falling action, and an ending. Even if your story is very brief, it should follow this classic arc in order for your audience to connect with your brand on a brain-deep level.

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