Stories are not quickly forgotten. We remember what is told to us in the form of a story more than anything else.
We talked about why you’d want to use serial content. We talked about the structure of a great story. But how do you actually do it, as a brand? Do you have to be some kind of great novelist?
As it turns out, no.
Tell Your Story With Words
Actual story writing isn’t for the faint of heart. The fact that you have to keep it brief might help you. Being brief on the internet isn’t going to hurt you, though being excessive and wordy might. Erring on the side of brevity, unless you’re confident that your die-hard audience will stick with you to the end, is a pretty good plan to start with.
Twitter Is Short And Sweet
The idea of writing a novel on Twitter has taken many forms already. Some are writing an actual novel, 140 characters at a time, and posting to a specific Twitter account dedicated to just that novel. Dedicated accounts are helpful, with the account information providing links and an explanation of what you’re doing.
Others are trying for the ultimate edit, a full story in just one single tweet, sort of like the well-known “Six Word Memoirs” project. The idea of a novel in three lines isn’t exactly new; journalists who learn to condense a news story down to the barest bones for a headline or summary have been doing this long before computers were around.
Hashtags are going to be vital, whether you have a dedicated Twitter account or use your own regular Twitter account. You have to remember that Twitter is fleeting, and most people aren’t going to see every one of your tweets when it publishes. You must provide a way for them to get the full story easily.
Tell Your Story With Pictures
Pictures. Thousands of words. You know how the saying goes. Pictures are premium currency on the web, and you can deal in that currency as a story.
Tell a story with video. It doesn’t have to be an expensive video production with scripts and costumes, but taking the opportunity to tell the small stories, such as your office supplies attacking each other with a stop-motion Vine video. Create fun stuff people like to look at and share.
Coca Cola used story, imagery, and games to give fans fun things to do with their Happiness Island sites. By doing so, they are creating a story of fun and happiness around their brand.
Your brand is made up of these kinds of little, daily stories and fun ideas.
The Photo Album
Using photo albums on your website or social network can tell a story without words. Brands do it all the time, without thinking about it. For example, you might take consecutive shots of your office as you remodel it. The photos, posted in order, tell that story. You might create boards on Pinterest to highlight the people who make the food you sell in your store, or the customers who use your products in unique ways. Or, you might use photo albums on Facebook that show your fan’s appreciation, fan art, and memes like Domino’s Pizza.
Make every image do the work. There are no fillers here. If your photo gets orphaned on Google images or Pinterest, is it compelling enough to make someone come find you? And, of course, include a faint watermark of your website on all images for the same reason.
How Can A Brand Use Story?
In the story Anne of Green Gables, Anne discovers that her friend has entered one of her stories into a contest, and that she’s won. However, in order to make the story qualify for the contest, her friend had to make sure “Rollings Reliable Baking Powder Company” was mentioned somewhere in the story, since that was the company that was sponsoring the competition. Anne wasn’t thrilled with the scenario, but think about what that baking powder company was doing: product placement in a fiction story.
You can tell the stories that surround your brand or organization. For example, do you sell running shoes? Write Twitter novels for a week that involve running shoes:
“The roar of the bear grew louder, branches whipping against her face. She sadly envisioned her running shoes safely back in the tent.”
It takes work and planning to get people interested in your brand using stories and inages, but you’ll have a lot of fun as you think about who you are from a different perspective. A great story is exciting, much more than an advertisement or coupon. Get people to check in with you just to see your next installment.