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Storytelling sounds easy, but it isn’t. Businesses are always trying marketing strategies they read about or have been told to try, but effective tactical execution requires experience. And real experience only comes from trying, testing, and even failing until the right audience is reached, and the right results are achieved. 

We want you to avoid wasting time experimenting, so in last week’s #SEMrushchat, our team talked with Brian Fanzo and our community about the importance of storytelling, the strategies to use, questions to consider, different forms of storytelling, and resources to learn from. Many answers and insights were shared in the chat; we tried to include a variety of helpful solutions below that we thought could offer strategies and ideas any business could use. 

You can retweet any of the tips below by clicking on the Twitter logo next to the quote. 

Brian Fanzo

I believe the future of marketing is RELATABILITY especially in our digital noisy world and to be relatable you must be authentic and engaged and there’s no better way to do that then telling a story!

Estelle Van de Velde

Because storytelling makes the connection between a brand and its audience. It’s like a bridge that makes the customer attached to a brand on an emotional level.

Stevie Howard

Storytelling is what makes you unique. Everyone has heard the same ’50 years in business…’ ‘Best quality…’ No one cares to hear this anymore. Telling actual stories through content is what creates a true connection.

Brian Kato

Storytelling can help people relate on a personal level to your business. This is a far deeper connection and can help build lasting relationships.

Yellowphin Digital Agency

Yellowphin Digital Agency

People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it. Storytelling gives your brand personality – what makes you different from your competitors?

Bernie Fussenegger

Storytelling for a business is a great way for that brand to stand apart but to also connect to their audiences with an emotional connection and to relate.

Q2. Once you’ve decided to create a storytelling strategy, what are the steps you should take?

Diana Richardson

Storyboard the story. Choose audience segment(s). Choose which channels those segments are active with. Decide the best way to tell the story on those channels. Produce creative. Launch (ok, I skipped ‘review’ steps). Analyze. Repurpose and launch again

Mark Gustafson

I see many founders solving problems for themselves instead of for others. When you’re too focused on one STORY you miss the opportunities to expand into new audiences and find scale. The world doesn’t revolve around YOU. Get outside yourself and help others!

Maddie Clark

Define your storytelling style and stick to it. Choose how you would like to ‘reveal’ your story. Do you want to make it available all at once and stand your ground or slowly tell your story so it can be conformed to your audience over time. Neither is wrong, btw.

Green Rope

Decide which themes and values to focus on in your story, decide which media will serve as the best conduits for your story, use sample audiences to test the likability of your story. Always reassess at every step in the process.

Joana Rita Sousa

Take a deep look at your audience to find what stories can bring value. Define your message. Create / imagine different stories and check what type of content (video, blog post…). Is the best to help you tell the story.

Dr. Amrita Basu

Write the end message and what I want the audience to take away from the story. What I want the audience to do after reading it. Then work backwards to outline the story. Then flesh out the draft. Get pictures, video, record. Storyboard. Story.

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Q3. What are the essential questions to begin gathering your own stories?

Catherine Pear

What do you sell that makes you different? How do you help your customers? Why do customers come to you? Look at your data. Surveys. Polls. Speak to your customer service team. What do you do that brings people to you? Once you know that, you’ve got a start!

Marianne Sweeny

This is a question that I ask at most client meetings. Surprisingly, the answers vary. What problem are we trying to solve?

Brian Fanzo

Start documenting what stories in your life both in business & personal resonate with you the most… Then take those elements & connect them to your brand story! Also, look outside your industry for inspiration; don’t limit your opportunity for inspiration!

Bernie Fussenegger

Essential questions for your own stories. What is your why? Why would people be interested? What is your message? Who is your audience? What is the medium to use? How is your message going to make others feel?

Sarah Marks

Where did we start? Origin. Why did we start? Original Purpose. Where did we go from there? Purpose development. Where are we headed? Development continuation. Why would you want to hear from us? Continuing Relationships.

Moni Oloyede

What do I want my audience to know? How do I want my audience to feel? What journey do I want my audience to follow? What do I want my audience to take away from my story?

Q4. What are the possible forms of storytelling available for any business?

Yellowphin Digital Agency

Yellowphin Digital Agency

User generated content is a great way of storytelling as potential customers get a taste of your brand experience. It increases engagement, builds trust and expands your reach.

Brian Fanzo

InfluencerMarketing is a great form to tell your brand story… Because it’s coming from someone with built in community trust! Also remember that an influencers value can be sharing the story on their own channel & the brands channels!

Sagar Mandal

The form of storytelling depends on the platform & action Video is the most common and working format for brand building. If you are looking at capturing leads visuals & texts would be the best forms to tell why your business matters.

Julie F Bacchini

Please don’t forget people who prefer to read things, not watch or listen to them! And, your employees should also be sharing your brand’s story when they interact with customers!

Catherine Pear

UGC is by far the most cost-effective way to get storytelling content. Especially if you are a small business that doesn’t have a huge budget for things like video, etc. UGC makes customers feel involved and part of the brand. And it gives your brand a human face.

Fistbump Media

Stories can be used in LOTS of ways: In-person with customers, Blogs/on-page content, Video Podcasts, Images/graphics, and Campfire conversations.

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Q5. What resources on marketing storytelling would you recommend to go deeper into the topic?

Mark Gustafson

Seth Godin has a FANTASTIC podcast called AKIMBO. Go check it out. All about positioning and strategic storytelling. Make a difference and communicate effectively with your audience!!!

Simon Cox

A good library. To really get the best from a story you need to research everything. So many stories we see on the web from ‘reputable’ news channels have no substance at all. You can beat those with a bit of work. Get to know your topic well.

Marianne Sweeny

Avoid all of the books around storytelling that confine to a particular style or discipline. Podcasts such as The Moth and Snap Judgement are great ways to learn how to craft a narrative that produces emotional and tangible results.

Maddie Clark

For this, look at your own buying train of thought. When you buy something, ask yourself why did I buy this? Bc of the story, the branding, the platform you found it on? Explore your own buying journey to understand business storytelling.


@AdobeSpark and @Cerosdotcom are two great places to start for growing your storytelling capabilities and crafting engaging stories that resonate.

Sagar Mandal

The best sources of stories are people. Get on the field and talk to your customers about challenges in their business.

Do You Have Any Storytelling Tips?

Please share them in the comments below. We also want to thank everyone that participated in the chat. We will be looking for your expert insights this week; SEMrushchat starts at 11 am ET/4 pm BST on Wednesday, October 23rd.

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