Storytelling is an integral part of every society and culture. We use stories to share our history, our experiences, to escape, and to entertain. There can be no doubt of the power a great story has to move us, motivate us, or even change us for the better! That’s the magic of storytelling! And because of this power, every podcast host should be developing and improving their storytelling skills.
Related read: 7 Tips For Creating Great Podcast Content
Right about now, you may be shouting at the screen, “Woah there! I don’t need to improve my storytelling skills, my podcast isn’t an audio drama or fictional procedural.” But I’m here to tell you that every podcaster is really a storyteller!
Are you using your podcast to promote your personal brand? Guess what?! You need to be a storyteller!
Is starting a podcast one of your marketing strategies to grow your business! Yup! That’s right! You, too, are in fact, a storyteller! Being able to share a great story is a massive part of a successful marketing campaign!
Whether it’s your personal story or the story of your company or brand, if you want to achieve lasting success, you need to have the insight of how to deliver what you’re trying to communicate in a way that will be best received and absorbed by your audience. That’s what a great storyteller does – they connect their message to those that need to hear it. And isn’t that what you aim to do with each podcast episode you put out into the world?
So now that you’ve accepted the fact that you are, indeed, a storyteller, and can see all the reasons why great storytelling skills are so intrinsic to successfully reaching your audience, the big question remains…
How do you develop and improve these storytelling skills?
We’ve put together a list of eight strategies which will take your storytelling skills to the next level and help you better connect your story with your audience. These storytelling tips will help you strengthen your message, and engage your audience on a deeper level, and so enable your podcast to better fulfill the wants and needs of your target audience.
So, let’s put pen to paper, and boost those storytelling skills way up!
1. Hone a Clear Message
One of the first ways you can improve your storytelling skills is to really hone in on your message. Whatever it is you’re putting out into the world, be it your podcast, your novel, or all that is associated to your personal brand, one of the first steps you would have taken is locking down your niche – that area where what you can offer and what your audience is looking for intersects. But to really amp up your storytelling skills, you also need to hone your message.
What is it that you want to say or share with the world? What do you want your audience to glean from you? Use this understanding to narrow down your message, and then use this to shape all the content you create. This will help ensure that everything you share helps strengthen your key message, which then strengthens your brand in the minds of your audience.
2. Ace Your Content
Once you understand your message, and you’ve honed it in to be as clear as possible, the next strategy for improving your storytelling skills is to ace your content. But what do we mean by this? In order to wield the power of great storytelling, you need to know all there is to know about the vehicle of your storytelling – your content.
Your audience, no matter your podcast niche, are tuning in because they’re interested in your topic and what you have to share regarding this topic, which is why you need to continually deliver top-notch content. If you are the master of your content – meaning you are up-to-date with all the latest developments, you’ve done your research, and you’ve made sure you know all there is to know about topic – you will be able to shape and form your content in a way that best shares your message every time you sit down to write and record an episode.
Related read: How To Find Your Podcast Topic: 8 Unique Topic Ideas
3. Remember the Senses
Yes, the medium of podcasting typically caters to your auditory system, but a great storyteller – whatever the medium – knows how to bring the audience’s other senses into the mix. They are able to describe a setting or set the scene in such a way that the listener can’t help but see it, taste it, and even smell it. They’re able to evoke all the audience’s senses, which helps them connect with the story on an even deeper level. Whether you’re a marketer or a fiction writer, understanding how to appeal to more than one sense will make your story all the more real to your audience.
But more than just appealing to the senses, a great storyteller is able to make a listener feel a certain way. They are able to provoke an emotional response to the story, which then makes the story more believable, more real, and more than likely to produce the response you as the creator are looking for. Do you want your audience to be motivated to try your products, buy your book, or support you in some other way? Then find the angle that will produce this emotion, and build your story with this in mind.
4. Pay Attention to Structure
It may not seem obvious at first, but structure plays a huge role in storytelling. Every epic tale has a beginning, middle, and end, and structurally, this translates to the exposition, or the setting of the seen, the conflict, the climax, and the eventual resolution.
But when it comes to sharing your story via your podcast, there are other structural elements you should make use of to amp up your storytelling value. Background music and sound effects are incredible tools at a podcaster’s disposal to enable you to deliver your content much more vividly, which will then help your audience connect with your overall message and story more deeply.
5. Don’t Hide from the Negative
Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. We deal with fear and anxiety, global hardship, strain and rifts in our interpersonal relationship, as well as inner conflict. But often, we want to cover up how we feel about these issues and pretend everything is a-okay and that we don’t feel any sort of negative emotions. But if you want to be a great storyteller, this is a mistake! Learning to embrace these negative feelings and emotions, and sharing your struggle with them with your audience can be a very powerful thing!
Creating a space where you share and discuss issues that cause conflict, or by providing a platform to honestly share your thoughts adds authenticity to your content and your story as a whole. Your audience is then able to connect with you on a much deeper level.
So whether this is between characters in your latest fantastical epic, or in conversation with those you engage with on your latest podcast episode, don’t gloss over the hard things.
6. Learn from the Best
One of the many gifts the Internet has bestowed upon us is access to incredible content. And in particular, amazing Masterclasses and online courses taught by the greats in their field.
And taking on some of these courses are just thing to skyrocket your skills! Do some good ol’ fashioned Internet searching to see what’s available, check out the reviews to find out which ones others have learned from, and sign up! Who knows! That author you admire or that marketer who always seems to hit it out of the park may just have created a course for you to enrol in! And take your skill set to the next level!
7. Study the Pros
Whether this is studying the marketing techniques of brands who always hit it out of the park with their advertising campaigns (as a great example, check out Nike’s latest campaign here – it’s a truly powerful advertisement! They’ve done an incredible job of marrying their brand with some exceptional storytelling) or that fiction podcast you just can’t get enough of (if you’re looking for some great inspo, check out this post featuring some of our favorite storytelling podcasts, or this post crammed with spooky listens!) studying how the pros do their thing is a great way to enhance your own skills.
8. Add Your Personality
In the end, what’s going to make your writing and storytelling stand out from the crowd is you. Your own unique perspectives and points of view can help take your writings – whether factual or fiction – to the next level.
When you leave a little of yourself on the page, or wear a piece of your heart on your sleeve as you record your latest podcast episode, by adding your personality, you’re allowing your audience to connect with you, and develop a real relationship with you. You don’t want to be a cookie-cutter replica of someone else by copying their style or voice, that will only get you so far. But to really succeed at telling an effective story, you need that authenticity that only comes when you share your voice, your personality, and your emotions.
Whether you’re a marketer, author, personal brand builder, or podcaster, if you want to find success in any and all of these areas, you need to be a great storyteller. Enhancing your storytelling skills will allow you to really connect with your audience, whoever they may be, build lasting relationships with them, which, in turn, becomes lasting support for your podcast, your company or brand, or whatever it is that you’re putting out into the world.
And while you may not view yourself as a natural storyteller, the great news is that by applying these strategies, anyone can learn the skills you need to tell a great story that really connects with their audience. Do this, and you’ll always have an excited audience engaging with all your content.
Related read: How To Improve Your Podcast Creative Writing Skills