6 Storytelling Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Novelists

Storytelling is a key part of almost any written word. A good marketer is a storyteller for their brand. Like authors, marketers must maintain a consistent voice throughout to keep their readers engaged.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities


“Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird


“But life finds a way.”

-Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park

Everyone’s heard these famous lines. They have transcended their original medium, moving from novelsrf to the big screen, where the author’s words reached millions and became immortal.

Brands with the same authority in their voices will similarly be remembered. But to do so, they must create a strong and distinctive voice, like classic writers and novelists.

Here are some of my favorite tactics, based on tips for novelists, on how to build your brand’s voice.

Don’t Lose the Story

Every building block of your brand needs to serve a purpose. Each piece either adds value to the whole or it does not. Like writing novels, you need to make sure that all parts of the story are relevant the progression of the whole story.

It’s okay to sometimes jazz up your writing with some snazzy prepositions, but only if it adds and matches the voice of your brand. Don’t get lost in tangents that do not contribute anything to your brand as a whole.

Know Your Readers

Then focus on your audience like an author writes to their specific genre. If you read with any frequency, you’ll notice how strange it is when a writer jumps from one genre to another or writes for an unfamiliar genre. Often, the writing will lack defining elements of that genre, which makes it feel out of place.

In marketing, consider what your audience wants. Consider what jobs make up their day-to-day lives. Consider who your content can fit in with those lives.

Create Dialogue

To maintain your brand’s image, you need to determine the voices of those telling the story.

You can either write as the brand, but what often works best is a variety of voices telling the same story.

Maybe it’s a combination of employees that weave your brand story.

There are those on your marketing team. For example, one team member writes very informative, information-packed, dense articles. Another team member writes controversial, snappy pieces. Your CEO is the voice from the top, speaking for the company and aligning it with the brand. Each of these voices needs to become a meaningful part of your brand’s overall voice.

Your customers are another good addition to your brand’s voice. Have their voices join those of your employees. They will convince others that encounter your brand that it’s worth taking the leap and purchasing.

Ensure It’s Unique

When publishers read a manuscript for the first time, they are looking for a voice that stands out.

Something unique and different that will not only stand out to the publisher, but also those who read the book.

Just like marketing, part of this is that a good author writes for their audience, but also ensuring you have a very specific angle or style that makes your brand memorable is critical to standing out.

Consider your niche, the area your business knows better than anyone else. They create your voice around that, not mimicking your competitors, but using an entirely different tactic to win customers away.

Use Great Diction

Choose your words carefully. In this case, you need to ensure that you use the same words to describe things as everyone else in your industry.

For example, in B2C, they might say target audiences, while in B2B you might say buyer personas. This is the same idea, but the language used is slightly different.

It might take a while for you to learn to write fluently for your industry. The only way to learn and improve is to totally immerse yourself in the subject area. Spend hours a day pouring over your “genre” or style of content. Read content from other industries too, it’s like cross-training for your writer’s brain. This way you’ll understand the subtle differences in the words you choose for one industry compared to another.

Use a Style Guide

To ensure that your voice is consistent throughout, you need to choose how certain words are written, how certain punctuation marks are chosen, etc.

Borrow style rules from already established style guides, then tweak them to fit your needs.

Our post on creating a brand style guide has more.

Maintaining a consistent and appealing brand tone is critical to making your brand memorable. And a memorable brand is more profitable than a forgettable one. Use the wisdom that works for hundreds of memorable novelists and create the best brand voice possible.


Do you learn from other forms of writing? Did any of these storytelling tips help you? Let us know in the comments.


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