How storytelling can work for your business

Whether you dub it brand journalism or content marketing, tucking your promotional message into an engaging narrative makes it more palatable for consumers. Here are three examples.

You may be tired of hearing about “brand storytelling,” but it’s a viable approach to PR and marketing.

Real brand storytelling entails finding shared interests with your target audience—be they customers, influencers or the public at large—and telling stories about those common interests in an engaging, educational, entertaining or useful way.

What do such stories look like? Let’s look at three examples:

1. Autodesk’s Redshift

Autodesk makes software for design professionals—from architects and engineers to product designers and video game developers. It can pitch stories and earn mentions in news outlets and trade publications.

Beyond that, its own publication, Redshift, is widely read by the professionals that Autodesk hopes will buy its product.

The company employs a team of writers and editors to publish the engaging, insightful content they know their audience seeks. In doing so, Autodesk has built a reputation as a leader in each industry it serves. The company no longer relies on journalists to tell its story, because it has adopted a media role in the markets it serves.

2. Haba’s “Ask Mali”

German toymaker Haba hosts a monthly “Ask Mali” blog entry in which children and parents ask the doll named Mali about issues that matter to them, such as “Are dolls only for girls?” and “Which language do Haba dolls speak?”

The write-ups are a way for the internal team to share their values and culture in a way that aligns with the spirit of the business—entertaining children. The company publishes these Q&As—as well as other educational blog posts, videos and promotions—through its social networks.

3. Craft Beer Cellar

Craft Beer Cellar is a New England-based beer retailer in the United States. It publishes a blog, hosts tasting events and has a huge following on social media, given the hyper-local market it serves. In just six years, the retailer has expanded from one store to 24 locations nationwide.

Scan Craft Beer Cellar’s Facebook pages (it hosts an account for each store), and you’ll see the mix of educational information, fun sharing of others’ content and a love of beer. The retailer says its primary goal is to teach people about great beer and to become a trusted source of expertise.

“The consumer right now in a lot of ways is more overwhelmed than ever,” says co-founder Kate Baker. “That’s where we come in. People trust us. It’s important to build that trust.”

As seen from these examples, “stories” come in many forms—such as articles, videos, interactive content, infographics, live events or social media conversations. What they have in common is they earn attention based on the quality of the content and message.

If you’d like to bolster your PR storytelling, consider these takeaways:

  • Find shared interests with your target audience.
  • Publish engaging, insightful content that your audience wants.
  • Become a trusted source of expertise.
  • Employ or create a writing group.
  • Share your values and culture, and align them to the spirit of your business.

A version of this post first appeared on Mynewsdesk.

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