How to Tell a Story About Donuts
Girl, we need to learn to tell stories about donuts.
Because storytelling is the future of our marketing ventures and if we can tell a story about donuts, we can tell a story about anything.
The whole family was gathered around the table because my Dad was telling stories. And if my Dad is telling stories, you'll find a whole room completely captivated. He knows the exact number of details to include and which ones to leave out. So no matter how many times I've heard a story, it never gets old.
Sounds like a marketer's dream, right? I'm diving into the art of storytelling in 2017 and I'm going to tell you everything I discover. Because we have to be better storytellers if we want people to read our words.
So let's talk about donuts! Better yet - let me tell you some stories about donuts. I'll show you how I take 1 story and shift the focus so that I can create different calls to action.
The rules of the game
I believe one story can be used for several different purposes, but we just need to know how to shift the focus of the story. I'll be talking about what happened in this story - a trip to the donut shop with my sister a few years ago. I'll use the story formula (below) to tell different parts of the story and develop different calls to action.
The facts — here's where it happened
I wanted to treat my little sister to a donut after school one day. She had never been to the donut palace before, so we headed that direction in our hometown. We ordered our donuts and sat in a little booth to the side of the donut shop. I was learning to shoot film, so I took a few photos and she told me how she was bringing lunches to other kids at school.
The story formula
The facts + key ingredient + emotion + call to action = story
Since I'll be telling stories about donuts, our key ingredient will be donuts! The other variables will change for each story.
STORY 1 - Quality Time
Fact focus: The drive to the donut shop and sitting down with my sister
Key Ingredient: Donuts
Call to Action: Quality time and doing what matters
I picked her up from school and we cruised down the streets we had been on since we were babies. We passed our favorite home with the white-picket fence and drove through the square in our very, very small town. The donut shop was just ahead, but that didn't put her story on pause. She told me about a new math equation she had learned and how a friend gifted her a best friend necklace. I looked at her and could imagine all the reasons someone would want to be her best friend. I thought back to my elementary school days and decided I would definitely pick her for that role.
Joy settled in as we found our way to the white tables and I bit into the donut. Not because of the sugary glaze that I licked off my lip, but because we were together. Sisterhood never has to look extravagant for us. It never has to be fancy or feel like an experience. Because the true experience of sisterhood is just being together.
STORY 2 - Book a Session
Fact focus: Bringing my camera to the donut shop
Key Ingredient: Donuts
Emotion: Joy & Desire to make memories
Call to Action: Book a session with me
I sat my purse down on the all-white floor under the all-white table. The light seemed to dance around while my sister and I chatted about her day at school. She held a donut in her hand and told me about her dream. A big dream. I leaned in and my heart fluttered, just inspired by her passion to give lunches to some other kids in her class. The ones who didn't have money to buy breakfast. The ones who would go the whole weekend without eating.
I reached down for my purse and pulled out my camera. I had to tell this story - donuts and all. I had to record it in a frame forever because I couldn't imagine living without the memory. It's true that photographs preserve memories, but I also think photos lock the memories in our minds in a tangible way. And now we'll always remember how she said she wanted to change the world. Memories belong in a frame. Dreams to change the world belong in a frame. And the story happening around you belongs in a frame, too.
STORY 3 - Dream Bigger Than Yourself
Fact focus: Talking about Jianna's dream
Key Ingredient: Donuts
Emotion: Inspired & Motivated
Call to Action: Dream bigger than yourself
My youngest sister sat across from me and told me about her dream. I had heard it before, but I was still in shock. How could a child hold a dream to feed the other students in her class? How could a child hold a dream that didn't include a focus on herself? I leaned in, inspired by her love and selflessness and asked every question I could think to ask.
She had a dream bigger than any advantage it could bring her. She wasn't trying to get ahead. She wasn't trying to stand in a spotlight.
She carefully packed the rest of the donuts for friends who wouldn't get to eat breakfast in the morning. She wasn't thinking about how she could save the donuts for herself. She was looking for ways to love on others. And I guess that's where true change starts. Changing the world starts with a dream to shine the light on others.
Storytelling is the biggest marketing tool you can add to your business. When stories are being told, different parts of the reader’s brain actually respond to what they are reading (source). That’s why it’s easy to put yourself in the middle of a good book and get lost in it. Your brain is allowing you to experience what you are seeing or hearing to make better connections with what is around you.
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When we use storytelling in marketing, it’s easy to attract our dream clients! Here’s a free ebook about doing just that: Dream Clients Who Dream of You! Start telling those stories, friend. It will make a world of difference in your business.