Is Storytelling Sabotaging Your Content Marketing?

Much like busy, epic, and engagement, storytelling has become another overused, often misunderstood buzzword amongst content marketers, bloggers, copywriters, etc …

Are You Telling Your Story?

We’re asked daily if we’re telling our story. Our brand story, product story, personal story, bathroom break policy story.

Okay. It’s possible I took it a step too far with the final example. But, that leads me to the point and purpose of this publish.

Are we taking storytelling too far?

Can storytelling go wrong? Can we sabotage our story and, with it, our brand or business?

Yes! If you get a little too caught up in telling your story, the focus becomes all about Y-O-U. While the story should always reflect you, it should also draw in your audience with the allure of either a shared experience or a solution that fits their needs, suits their situation.

As you well know if you’ve spent much time on this site in the past, I believe that your brand, your website, your story is ABSOLUTELY about you. But, you also know I’m a big believer in balance, intent and purpose. Smart and savvy storytelling involves the balance and the Y-O-U!

[clickToTweet tweet=”While your story should ALWAYS reflect you, it should also draw in your audience!” quote=”While your story should ALWAYS reflect you, it should also draw in your audience!” theme=”style4″]

Successful Storytelling?

The story has to relate to your readers in a significant way or they’ll toss it into digital File 13 because they see it as needless and/or narcissistic.

The story starts to sabotage you when you forget you’re sharing your story for the audience and start lauding yourself as the storyteller.

If your story resonates with your readers, taps into their emotions, causes them to reconsider or persuades them to pose a question … well, then it’s successful. If your story causes your audience to take any action except clicking away to something more suitable, I say you add a check to the win column.

However, far too many stories cause that calculated “click away.” Once a reader clicks away too many times they might consider opting out, hiding you from their streams or even, YIKES, unfollowing you.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Smart and savvy storytelling involves balance, purpose and Y-O-U!” quote=”Smart and savvy storytelling involves balance, purpose and Y-O-U!”]

Is Your Story Too Long?

A connection of mine recently spun out a personal story over several blog posts, social media posts and more.

The story was quite compelling. Something very relatable to a large part of the overall population and her following.

The problem? It centered solely on her experience. Which would have been absolutely fabulously okay for one reading, one share. But the story went on and on, with the same chapter and verse repeated over AND over again.

Instead of spinning the story in a different direction and drawing in readers by making it about THEM, too, she centered the story on herself and was a little too free with the self-praise.

Self Congratulations = The Storytelling Saboteur!

This connection made a fatal error when the story stopped being about the story itself, a shared experience that could have touched many, and continued to share her own successes, tied to the story, in a self congratulatory way.

Put quite simply, the repeated postings started to sound an awful lot like bragging, nothing humble about it.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Beware the story that turns self-congratulatory. No humble to that brag!” quote=”Beware the story that turns self-congratulatory. No humble to that brag!”]

Stop Turning Stories Into Press Releases

If your story screams, “See ME, see how I prevailed,” it’s no longer a shared story that’s meant to spark discussion, create connection and build lasting relationships.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Your story should sell itself without screaming ‘sales pitch.'” quote=”Your story should sell itself without screaming ‘sales pitch.'” theme=”style4″]

Consider this, is it a story or a press release? Are you broadcasting or sharing? Is it all about you, or is it about your audience and their experiences?

Stories can absolutely sell. But they first have to connect with your audience, building trust in your shared experiences. Otherwise it’s just a promotional blast that will fade into the noisy and forgettable content coffers.

How do you share stories without making them all about Y-O-U?

Is Storytelling Sabotaging Your Content Marketing?
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6 replies
  1. Elizabeth Morris
    Elizabeth Morris says:

    I love this one! I’ve been reading Everybody Writes & Ann Handley had some great suggestions about storytelling too. She said, “What matters now isn’t storytelling; what matters is telling a true story well.”

    The word storytelling tends to imply a made up story or Fairytale. To draw in your audience and share your true story well means writing with purpose, clarity, inspiration & empathy. You must always write with your audience in mind.

    Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      You get it, lady! I don’t know how many times I’ll repeat myself – probably a LOT, but intent and purpose must go into every thing you create, share and promote.

      Add balance and being “real” into the equation and you understand why content marketing takes time, effort, and some grit and determination.

      Sent with MailTrack

      Reply
  2. Yuko Henden
    Yuko Henden says:

    I enjoy writing about myself, but I tend to keep those in my personal journal and not publish on my blog. Once written, “I” don’t even want to read them.

    It’s like some people who talk about themselves nonstop in a group conversation. I tend to tune them out quickly. You’ve got to take turns and listen to what others say if you want an engaged audience.

    Oh and I want to read about your bathroom break policy story.

    Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Nothing wrong with keeping the personal “personal,” Yuko. I actually think smaller brands can effectively balance the person/personality with a professional presence, but it’s all about personal preference and audience appeal.

      I actually don’t have a bathroom break policy. LOL. That was just a bit of my usual hyperbole and being a brat!

      Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Nothing wrong with keeping the personal “personal,” Yuko. I actually think smaller brands can effectively balance the person/personality with a professional presence, but it’s all about personal preference and audience appeal.

      I actually don’t have a bathroom break policy. LOL. That was just a bit of my usual hyperbole and being a brat!

      Sent with MailTrack

      Reply

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