The Game Is Changing (Again)

If you have been in the Real Estate business a while, you know this to be true: as soon as you seem to master something, the rules change. A few years back, all the gurus and blogs were preaching about “snackable” content. The way to your customer’s wallet was in creating short, attention-grabbing headlines. Every conference and session seemed to focus on response speed and numbers and click-through rates.

More recently, however, the landscape has been changing. The marketing world has gone from seeking instant and snackable to craving emotion and authenticity. When conference organizers are looking for speakers these days, instead of get-rich-quick schemes, they are asking for storytellers. And the brands that are gathering audiences around feel good, humorous, and real-life tales – they are the brands that are winning.

Storytelling is not a new concept. Humans have gathered around fires for centuries, sharing their triumphs and tragedies. But more recently, the power of storytelling has become a rare breath of fresh air, rising above the noise. Recently we’ve seen companies like Apple, P&G, and Coldwell Banker using glorious stories to reach their audience’s hearts, not just their minds.

Brett Trapp (author and blogger,) says it so well:

“People are more likely to connect with you or your brand at a point of weakness than a point of strength. People and brands ought to be storytelling like good friends. And the friends with the best stories are not the ones who sit around talking about how awesome their lives are. They are the ones who are open about their screw-ups, their embarrassing moments, their idiosyncrasies, and their hidden secrets that cause us to say OMG, ME TOO.

People would rather see our sincere struggle than our polished perfection. As it turns out, there is a reward for vulnerability. For inviting people in to see the parts of our story that we fear are unlovely, injured, or in-process. That reward is trust. And trust is the emerging currency of the internet.”

The awesome thing about using the power of storytelling on stage and in your marketing is that it’s a skill that can be taught. Learning to tell a story through words and visuals is not as hard as it seems. It simply takes a little practice.

Three ways to start to incorporate storytelling into your marketing.

First, look for an accompanying image that makes you feel something. Not a stock photo or some lame clip art. Find something that makes you stop, look, and pay attention. Then start to build your story around that image.

Second, speak in the first person. Talk about how you feel, what you hope for, and why you care. It’s true that your audience really doesn’t care about what you know until they know that you care. So be yourself, create messaging that sounds like you are right there in the room with the reader or the audience.

Third, stop waiting for perfection. A good storyteller knows that life isn’t perfect. There isn’t always a tidy punchline or lesson. So you don’t have all the perfect words. So what? Tell the story anyway. Leave in the messy bits. They are what make it real.

You don’t need to start out on major stages or with massive marketing budgets to harness the power of storytelling. You simply have to start thinking about things in ways your competition isn’t, and look for the story instead of a call to action.

Want to learn more about the power of storytelling as a speaker and marketer? Looking for ways to reach your client’s hearts and minds? Join Valerie Garcia for an upcoming Modern Campfire workshop in Denver, Arlington VA, or Toronto. These two-day sessions are designed to help you become a better speaker, marketer and leader. You’ll get hands-on with a small group to craft your message, improve your marketing, and bring your stories to life. Visit www.moderncampfireworkshop.com for more details.