Storytelling… it’s one of the oldest and most effective forms of communicating information. Rattle off a list of impressive facts and figures about your offerings and your audience will likely have forgotten them five minutes later. But tell them a compelling story about how your services changed someone’s life and they’re sure to remember it weeks, months, even years from now. Storytelling can be especially powerful in behavioral health marketing.
Crafting Memorable Stories
Telling a story is easy. However, telling a story that resonates with your audience and impacts not just their brain but their heart as well — that takes a little more time, effort, and expertise. Here are some tips for crafting memorable narratives that stick with listeners:
- Know the story. It’s surprising how many organizations set out to tell their story or that of one of their clients without actually knowing the details. Ask 10 people within an organization to share its history or provide details about a particular event and you’ll get 10 very different versions. Before you try to tell your tale, be sure to do your research.
- Shape the story. You should never be dishonest with your audience. However, there’s nothing wrong with assessing the facts and choosing to focus on specific aspects. A good storyteller highlights the portions of a story that contain the most emotion. That feeling is what listeners latch on to.
- Understand your audience. As you think about how to shape your story, consider it from the perspective of your audience. For example, what are they excited about… afraid of… longing for? The first test we all do when deciding whether to stay tuned in to a speaker is to evaluate whether they are “speaking our language.” In your behavioral health marketing, you need to make it clear that you can relate to the listener’s joy and pain.
- Share the story internally. Before you tell your audience a story, it’s critical that you run it by key people (or better yet, everyone) in your organization. This does two things. First, it helps you confirm that the story is accurate. Second, it ensures that people who contact you based on the story get the same information from everyone on your staff.
- Publish and promote the story. Once you’ve crafted an engaging tale, be sure you’re doing all you can to get it in front of your audience. And that doesn’t mean just once. Effectively promoting a story (or any piece of content) means working continuously to get it exposure.
- Consider a sequel. Are there aspects of the narrative that you didn’t tell originally that would make a great Part II? Have there been recent developments that warrant a related piece? Sequels can be very effective and easier to produce given that they come with an established audience and an existing foundation.
What’s Your Story?
Storytelling is a strategy that is a perfect fit for behavioral health marketing. From anonymous characterizations of your clients to members of your skilled and dedicated staff, you’ve got unlimited raw material. If you’re looking for help in shaping that clay, give us a call. We’re a leading Denver-area marketing agency with nearly two decades of storytelling experience and a number of behavioral health clients. Let’s talk about how to share your tale.