5 tips to make you a better storyteller

Creative animation of Peter Pan flying.

Marketer and storytelling enthusiast Chloe Uy unpacks what makes great stories great.

As a 90’s kid, my parents always filled my bookshelves and world with fairytales, Disney Classics, and even Bible stories. Being an only child, I found myself rotating through them, consuming content over and over, sometimes even on my View-Master, at a young age, things were anchored and branded into memory. My imagination found it’s way into these stories, transporting myself into the world of Little Mermaid or Peter Pan.

Flash forward 20 years, I still like hearing stories, in fact I tell stories, not to myself, but to a much wider audience, and for a living. People laugh when I tell them I’m a storyteller, always saying: “Seriously though.. What do you actually do?”

People sometimes find it childish, and conveniently veto the world “stories” out of adult’s lives. But it's everywhere around us, there's a story for everything and everyone. A powerful tool, capable of changing perceptions and moving people about other people and brands. Harnessing the storytelling Jedi skill is no easy feat.

1. Define your audience

Don’t be afraid to do your market research, connect, and shadow your potential consumers. It’ll allow you to see and understand things the same way they do. You’ll understand what stories they’d like to hear and the manner they’d like it to be told.

2. Relatable but also prompting imagination

Being relatable gives audiences an opportunity to become a part of your story, to be able to fill in the blanks. They’ll make your story theirs too, making it far more memorable. But don’t forget to leave blanks for them to fill, imagination is powerful, it’s one of the reasons people get disappointed when bestselling books are turned into movies.

3. Tell a different story from your competitor

If you’ve got a competitor, you wouldn’t want to tell the same story, you wouldn't want your identity rooted in that competitor. Don’t be afraid to challenge and be different, in the land powered by digitised media, it’ll be the thing that will make you stand out.

4. Don’t tell lies

Not all marketers are liars, we’re imaginative and we choose to be creative with our perspective so we can tap the right audience. Lying downs your credibility, and you lose audience's trust.

5. Be consistent in your channels

Without consistency in your different marketing channels, you might as well not have a story. Different stories, different channels would blur your identity, and you would’ve wasted your time with all the effort that you put in.

When all these elements come together, it’s incredibly powerful and effective. It’s why Disney is successful, their stories cut through to the right audience, and they're incredibly consistent. They'll always be remembered, for their great stories that elicit nostalgia in people like myself.

If you want to go further in your journey to becoming a better storyteller, check out my review of two books that have been pivotal to my own adventure in this article.

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