5060855417_35b1057cef_z (2)One thing you should never underestimate: the power of a good story.

A story can transform how people think about and connect with your brand – and makes your brand personal. For healthcare organizations especially, the topics we discuss are often complicated. By telling stories, you can make your work come to life in an understandable, digestible way.

At PadillaCRT, our clients’ customers frequently tell us that they may have been aware, but only engaged with our client after learning about a real person whose story illustrated why the organization’s work was important.

Focusing on stories that are authentic and emotionally impactful is the key here. One of the best ways to rally a community of people around your organization is to move them on an emotional level. This is where passionate and personal storytelling can be incredibly effective.

Don’t just tell people why they should care. Show them.

In the healthcare world, we have an advantage in finding great stories, because essentially, we are all working toward the same goal: making people healthier. It’s a very relatable goal. If your organization has helped one person in a significant, meaningful way, you have a story to tell.

Image: Don Kennedy via Flickr, CC 2.0

So, how do you tell stories to build community support for your organization? Here are 5 tips for telling a compelling, attention-grabbing story:

  • Follow story basics. A story with impact is a story with conflict and resolution. Ideally, your organization and/or work are intrinsically tied to that resolution. Set the stage – include a beginning, middle and end. Start by establishing the character(s) involved and their background. From there move to the problem or challenge the character faces and the resolution. The main character may have a successful story – or there may still be a challenge that your audience can help solve for the character.
  • Make it human, authentic and relatable. People want to hear about people. We connect to human experiences with a common thread, and we relate to people who are authentic. While it may sound counter-intuitive, keep the main focus of the story on the people, not your organization. Impactful stories will stick. A great example of this from a couple years back is a video that went viral of a 29-year-old woman hearing herself for the first time. The name of the implant she received wasn’t mentioned in the video, nor was the video even posted by the device maker, Envoy Medical. But Envoy received a massive amount of publicity around the story and sales inquiries reportedly went up 150 percent. Why? Because it was simple, emotional and authentic. (And the video is still receiving views more than two years later, with the most recent comment just yesterday.)
  • Deliver with oomph. If you have a great story, but the delivery falls flat, is dispassionate or robotic – does anyone hear the message? It is important to consider who is telling the story, in what format and over what communication channels. The best stories reach people on an emotional level. Tell your story with genuine passion and energy, and people will be more compelled to listen.
  • Tell people how they can get involved. People want to be part of the solution – particularly after hearing a story that has made an impact on them emotionally. Provide a meaningful way for people to get involved or connect. Make the call to action clear and simple to follow.
  • Share the story: Don’t keep it to yourself. A compelling story can be shared in many different ways – in traditional news media, on your social media sites, in paid advertising, and on your company’s website or blog. Think about the outlets available to you for sharing. On The BuzzBin recently, we have been talking quite a bit about brand journalism and healthcare organizations succeeding at brand journalism. This is another great tool for sharing your message. Consider image and video elements to draw people in and further illustrate the story.

When storytelling is done well and follows these elements, it can make a huge impact, and boost brand loyalty and engagement.

How have you used storytelling for your organizations and clients? Do you have additional tips to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!