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Content marketing

Storytelling tool: the art of storytelling

There is too much storytelling that does not meet the minimum requirements to be. If you use it properly, this story-telling tool will give you good results.

The sooner you know, the better: storytelling is a storytelling tool, not a magic wand with which you instantly gain the enthusiasm and commitment of your audience.

It is simply a tool based on what people do since the world is world: telling stories. And, as with everything, there are those who use it masterfully and who forcefully introduce this technique into their corporate, advertising, marketing or political messages.

For years, audiences have been said to relate better and faster to a brand, product or service if a story is introduced in communication. Not of the “Once…” type, but rather relevant, well-counted narratives that include emotional elements that are experientially connected to the audience through basic concepts, such as love, life, friendship, good, evil, etc.

It is worth remembering that the structure of storytelling is a plot (approach, development, conflict and solution); characters (protagonists and antagonists), and narrative frame of reference (search, conquest, rescue, trip). Of course, building a good story has its joke.

How do I know if I’m doing storytelling?

French essayist and expert on the subject Christian Salmon recently ruled that “story inflation has ruined confidence in the story and in the storytellers.”

On the other hand, the narrative methods of literary fiction are not necessarily applicable to all fields of communication.

There are customers who ask to “meter” storytelling to pieces of communication that don’t really need it, either because it would feel false or because this tool has been used too many times. Here, common sense weighs more than the desire to get on the wave of storytelling.

You’re building storytelling if…

  1. You don’t announce that “you’re going to tell a story”; just the bill.
  2. Your storytelling is short, plausible and solid.
  3. You know your audience. In Content Marketing you must know who your buyer person is.
  4. You take into account the features of the medium or format:a live presentation, a program on YouTube, a radio interview, a Facebook post or a blog note.
  5. You keep the suspense right, and you make your audience want to know more.
  6. You avoid abstractions. You only contextualize and describe if necessary.
  7. You don’t get lost in superfluous details. Your storytelling always stays focused.
  8. You don’t avoid talking about conflicts or hiding flaws. Stories are about someone who accomplishes something, but achievements pose obstacles and talking about them makes you credible as a storyteller and gives strength to the story.
  9. You don’t choose the wrong hero. You know that the hero is your buyer person or your audience, not your organization, its product or service.
  10. You don’t speed up. You take your time and give the audience a chance to process what you’re telling them. Here’s a tip: your audience will be willing to listen to what’s next if you provide two basic facts from the beginning: one, who it’s all about, and two, what they want.

Stefan Sagmeister, austrian graphic designer and art director, is known for being a harsh critic of storytelling abuse in all areas. He explains in this video that a roller coaster designer cannot be considered a storyteller when doing what he does, even if he says it’s cool.

One last tip on this storytelling tool

Make something as natural as telling a story a meaningful experience for those who listen to it. It’s as simple as that.

In the end, storytelling is not just telling a story, but creating a piece of communication that is consistent with your brand values and resonates with the market.

At ICO, storytelling is something we don’t just master: we love it. Our team, made up of experienced journalists, editors and publicists, has told stories relevant to many of our clients. We’d love to know what stories you want to tell. Email us at


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María Elena Noriega

Author María Elena Noriega

Comunicóloga, periodista y experta en temas de comunicación organizacional, escribe y canta a la menor provocación.

More posts by María Elena Noriega