My 10-year-old daughter came running into our kitchen the other day, fervently recounting a scary story she heard on YouTube promoting an Addictive Stories app. While I was horrified that she was targeted with a pretty creepy tale, I found the idea intriguing, especially as a PR and marketing professional.
It got me thinking about what makes a story addictive. Addictive stories — stories filled with suspense, description, fascinating characters and surprises in the plot — keep audiences riveted until the final chapter.
Everyone loves a good story. We return again and again to the sources of stories, from our Instagram feeds to our favorite podcasts, that emotionally engage and move us. With an unprecedented number of outlets and mediums sharing stories today, competition for attention is fierce.
Given this, you must be intentional and think harder and smarter about how your organization crafts and tells its stories. You must become an outstanding storyteller in order to keep your audiences coming back to your brand for more.
Of course, I’m talking about true stories here — real, vulnerable and fascinating stories that transparently share an organization’s struggles and triumphs, bringing audiences along for the unfolding.
It’s worth revisiting Journalism 101 to consider and take inventory of the most essential parts of a well thought-out, engaging story.
Who are you? Who are the most interesting parts of your organization and your story? Who are your founders? Employees? What are their stories? What drives them? What are their passions? What makes them interesting and unique?
What is it that you do or offer to your audiences and the world? What are the unique ways you are doing it? What are you doing to create positive change for people, systems, the environment, businesses, etc.?
At what time are you most relevant to your audiences and their lives? When should they engage with you, or pay attention to what you have to say? When was your story born?
Where did your story begin? Where can people hear your story? Where can they find you? Where can they engage with you? Where along their personal shopping or decision-making journey might it make sense for them to engage with you or your brand? Where can they find your products or services?
Why is your story relevant today? Why should someone pay attention to you? Why is what you bring to the world important?
How is your organization doing what you do? How is it different? How can your audiences best engage with you — online, at a store, or in person? How are you making life simpler, richer, easier, better?
The more you can get to the crux of these questions and revisit them frequently to refine your story, the more successful and relevant your story will be. Like an excellent author, bring discipline to your story by regularly editing and building thoughtfully and creatively upon its foundation.
Ask yourself: does your brand currently have an addictive story, a compelling story with a fascinating plot that keeps your audiences intrigued? Do you think about that story as the foundation of how you communicate with your audiences? Do you have a point-person in your organization who is keeping this story and its never-ending development top-of-mind? What are you doing to share that story, keeping those listening captivated until the end?
As always, we welcome your questions and feedback. We’re here to help purpose- and heart-driven organizations write, build and share their stories.
Call or email us anytime.