How To Create Engaging Customer Stories
Humans are weird. Humans are wonderful. They’re surprising, inspiring, illogical, frustrating, caring, polarising, provocative, amusing and frail.
There’s 7 billion or so of us wandering the Earth, but somehow we’re all completely different. Sure, cultures breed similarities and the need to belong breeds conformity, but in essence, we each have a different story to tell. The human condition dictates it. How we personally navigate our way through the miasma is unique to us, and maybe that’s why we’re so unwaveringly interested in each other’s stories.
Brands know how engaging stories can be, and many have put significant effort into crafting and communicating their own brand story. However, some of the most effective and powerful stories you can tell can belong to your customers, so it makes sense to invest equal time and energy into capturing these.
So, what makes a great customer story? A lot of it comes down to the art of the interview. Whether you are creating videos, articles, podcasts or posts, it’s the interview that everything hinges on.
8 TIPS FOR CREATING ENGAGING CUSTOMER STORIES
1. Hero the customer, not your product: Be prepared to step aside a little and not push too hard for your product to be front and centre. The best customer stories highlight how the product enables your customer to live the life they do.
2. Research: Spend as much time as possible getting to know your interviewee. Visit them in person if possible; spend time on the phone or facetime or similar. Dig deep into what makes them tick. Ask questions, explore territories, and don’t be afraid to prompt and provoke. Have a clear idea of what you want from the interview and prepare as much as possible.
3. Find the Big Story: Uncover the human story behind the story. Getting to the heart of the customer’s personality, life, motivations, successes, fears, failures and dreams is important. Look for events in their lives that have led to change and shaped their character.
4. Brand Alignment: Know the brand’s story, purpose, vision and current objectives. Keep these in mind throughout the process and try to subtly align and guide your interviewee to reflect the brand’s goals in their story.
5. Indicative Script: If you’re shooting video, write a fully fleshed out indicative script, including all dialogue. Be prepared for this to change on the day, but write it anyway to make sure you’re on track.
6. Interview Rapport: When it’s time for the interview, quickly establishing an authentic bond with the interviewee is essential, and is a true skill. Listen carefully and attentively. Display respect and empathy and take your time.
7. Be flexible and alert: In the interview, stay alert and identify fresh and unexpected threads that appear on the day, and then follow them if you think they have merit.
8. Video production values: Engage a quality director who understands people, has experience in telling people’s stories and gets a real thrill out of doing so. Same goes for the editor. Customer stories can be lo-fi or hi-fi, but generally the more invested in beautiful pictures the more engaging the video will be.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll quickly be creating customer stories that resonate and capture the imagination of your audience. In turn, they will help potential customers to overcome sales obstacles, build brand affinity and provide the impetus for satisfied customers to become brand evangelists.
And isn’t that what content is all about?