How to Use Storytelling to Market Your Event

Who doesn’t love a good story?

People have been passing along information through stories since the beginning of time. Now, many brands are learning how to harness the power of storytelling in their marketing efforts as well. Businesses that connect through stories often come across as more “human,” rather than just another company trying to sell to its followers.

Wouldn’t you agree that most people cringe at the mere thought of being lectured or sold to? Storytelling, on the other hand, proves to be an effective way of capturing peoples’ attention, especially when it’s presented in ways they can more easily relate.

Have you considered using storytelling for marketing your event?

First off, why is event marketing so important? As Marketo, a leading digital marketing software and solutions company, explains:

In today’s buyer-empowered world, marketers need to seize every opportunity to build relationships, generate goodwill, and earn the trust if prospective buyers and customers. The modern consumer wants more than a pitch when evaluating solutions or making purchasing decisions. Events offer a unique opportunity for them to interact with brands to get a firsthand sense of a company’s focus, perspective, and personality.

Indeed, storytelling can be a very effective way to engage your audience and start building relationships with them prior to your event. Each business has its own stories they can share with others. Start by thinking about what makes your brand unique. You should include those unique characteristics when using storytelling as part of your event planning and marketing.

Seth Godin, the “king of storytelling” offers some fantastic tips in an article for Certain.com with ways brands can use storytelling when marketing their events:

1) Use true, authentic stories.

We’re all tempted, at least sometimes, to embellish or stretch the truth when telling stories. We may even feel like fabricating our stories at times. Resist this temptation…your audience can usually tell when stories are contrived or forced. Also, beware of contradicting yourself at any point during your story.

2) Be authentic – but don’t be shy about making a bold promise that you can keep.

An exceptional promise makes people want to tune in to your story. “Your promise can relate to fun, money, safety, or a shortcut. Just make it bold.” Make it worthwhile!

3) Use storytelling to gain trust

One of your main goals should include building credibility with your audience when marketing your event. Make sure you’re being honest with your stories.

4) Be subtle, not sales-y

No one likes to feel coerced into buying something, and that includes attending events. Use storytelling that allows your audience make their own conclusions. Help them decide they really want to attend your event. Good stories can help build excitement for your event’s attendees, rather than filling them with a resigned sense of obligation.

5) Create stories that appeal beyond your readers’ visual senses

Have you ever heard a story that truly resonates within you? If so, you’re likely to feel more connected with the storyteller. This is a good goal for your brand with storytelling. Think of the ways you can “show” your audience your story in some way which resonates more deeply with them.

6) Personalize your story to match your specific audience

Keep your targeted event attendees in mind when choosing your story. This will ensure the right people receive the right message and get more out of it.
Over to you

Telling a good story which resonates with your audience prior to your event can be one of your brand’s most effective marketing tools. Indeed, good storytelling can go a long way towards making a positive impact on your event’s attendees before, during, and after your event.

Posted on November 5, 2014 by Jennifer Hanford

Does your company know about or have examples of using storytelling to market an event? We’d love to hear about them. Please feel free to leave a comment below.