HJMT Public Relations Inc. President & CEO, Hilary JM Topper, recently wrote a guest blog post for USA Triathlon called, “Why Storytelling is Important for Coaches.”
In the article, Hilary discusses how storytelling can be a powerful way to connect with people and influence behaviors. “People learn through storytelling. It enables a deeper connection between you and your client or sponsor. It’s not just a creative approach to marketing, it allows potential clients and sponsors to relate and connect to your brands from a different entry point rather than simply advertising.”
Hilary provides the following guide coaches should answer before reaching out to potential sponsors or clients. This guide also holds true for business brands as well:
- “Identify your goals – What is it that you want to achieve? How many new clients? How many sponsors?
- Target audience – What does the ideal client look like? What would attract that person to you? What type of sponsor would complement your brand?
- Strategies – How will you target these two different buyer personas (clients/sponsors)?
- Graphics/brand image – Do you have a logo? Does it reflect you and your brand?
- Website – Do you have one? If not, what is your timeline for putting one up or how will people contact you and learn more about your coaching services, experience, and background?
- Social media marketing – Where would you attract your potential clients? Which social networking sites make sense for your target audience – Facebook? Instagram? YouTube?
- Blogging – If you have a website, do you have a blog? What will you write about? How often? Will you push your content out on social media?
- Podcasting – Should you have a podcast instead of a blog or in addition to your blog? Will it be a solo podcast where you tell stories of your experiences, or will it be an interview-style show?
- Publicity – Should you incorporate and send out press releases about the volunteer work you are doing in the community? Will that attract attention and visibility for your triathlon brand?
- Email marketing – Should you buy a list of emails/potential clients or sponsors? If so, how will you “sell” your services?
- Photography – People connect with images. Should you hire a photographer to take photos of you and/or your clients for your website or other marketing initiatives?
- Experiential marketing – Does it make sense for you to create an experience for your potential clients and/or sponsors? Will this experience help you build business by connecting your potentials with your stories and experiences?
- Advertising – Should you advertise on Facebook? Will you be able to target the clients you want? Are you better off creating a group?
- ROI – What do you hope your return on investment will be? Were your expectations justified with the output you did?”
Once this plan has been established Hilary recommends thinking about the stories you can share to gain support. She then offers three brands that are using storytelling effectively.
“Let’s take a quick look at a few non-triathlete brands that do storytelling the right way:
- Airbnb – In their social posts they talk about work travel and how it can be rewarding by staying at an Airbnb. (Someone who travels for work, can relate to this and it sticks.)
- DOVE Beauty Bar – They had a campaign on real beauty not just beauty from models. They showcased lots of different real women and their message about self-acceptance and to stand up against the status quo of beauty advertising really resonated with much of the population.
- Gary Vaynerchuk – He is a marketing guru and keeps his audience entertained by his raw yet inspiring action. This is a marketing guy who built his father’s brand on YouTube and became in an instant and one of the first influencers on YouTube with the Wine Guru. He is constantly telling stories that people can relate to and that’s why he has done so well.”
Whether you are a triathlon coach, consumer brand, or nonprofit organization, storytelling can be a powerful way to connect with your target audience.
“The thing about storytelling that is important is that it needs to have an emotional connection between your clients and sponsors. They need to be moved in some way and be able to relate to you. We are more hardwired to learn by hearing stories because they will be remembered…”
Need help crafting your brand’s story? Reach out to us and let’s talk!