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How Storytelling Can Be Effective in Your Marketing for 2021

Storytelling is an ancient art. It has been used by every civilization since the dawn of time to communicate ideas, simplify concepts, and transmit values. While data and facts are useful for catering and event pros, they don’t stick in audiences’ minds when rattled off as bullet points.  By relaying concrete information via a protagonist’s journey through challenges and success, we can better captivate our audience’s attention.   

Often, we don’t think of applying the power of storytelling to our marketing. However, by conveying our brand, sales points, and promotions using a story framework, our messages are more precise and compelling.

Stories Make Clients Feel Seen

When you talk about your potential customers’ struggles, concerns, and fears, you can demonstrate empathy. In a homogeneous sea of catering and event pros, the companies that prove through their language that they have taken the time to understand their customers and pay attention will be the ones who have their quotes accepted and invoices paid.

When you are writing your social media captions and website copy, show your audience that you can relate to their problems and have the experience and knowledge to provide them solutions. To express empathy, you need to understand what stage your potential clients are in and their feelings. By describing the problem, you are saying that you know their specific situation. The details help your dream client say, “Hey, that’s me! They totally get me”.   

For example, let’s say you are working with a couple that wants a non-traditional wedding menu, but they lack creative inspiration and think that working with a caterer who has novel ideas will be out of their price range. They want to have money left over to travel in 2021 because they value experiences. Address that problem directly while also talking about the emotional issues of stress and frustration that it causes.   

A quick caption could be, “Your wedding menu doesn’t have to follow the same formula you’ve seen before. But, we know it can seem overwhelming to break the mold and come up with creative and delicious dishes that don’t break the bank. Luckily, that is our catering specialty.  We love helping you translate your love story into a wedding menu that will wow your guests. Click the link in our bio to contact us today.”

People want to work with you more if you can show that you understand them. Either you have personally been through similar challenges, or you have helped many clients resolve the same issue, so you get it.   

You Are What You Repeatedly Say

Your prospective clients need to hear your message at least seven times before it will resonate.  You should hone what you sell, the problem you solve, and what makes you different from the rest into distinct themes. Then, rotate through those themes on social media, your blog, and your website so that it is clear what you stand for and why someone should work with you. You will be building a platform that will act as the foundation for your content strategy. When you intentionally write and speak about the same 3-5 client problem-related topics, you will stand out as a helpful expert.   

It can be challenging to know how to structure your messages to flow and compel strangers to want to deepen their relationship with your business. Use a story framework to help you clarify your value in the eyes of your audience. A great tool to guide you is the StoryBrand SB7 Framework. In the book Building a StoryBrand, Donald Miller breaks down how to use your brand’s critical elements to develop a cohesive story. If you follow this or a similar template, you will find it is much easier to communicate your worth and close business.

Help the Hero with Actionable Content

As the storyteller, your job is to help the hero become aware of the challenges they face and provide tools to overcome them. Producing content in a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel is a great way to give constructive tips and tricks. Your information should include quick wins for your dream client and how to begin to work with you to receive more comprehensive solutions.   

For example, a catering company’s blog could plan its content out using their ideal client’s top three problems. Those could be selecting a caterer, dealing with guest dietary restrictions, and service styles. Each post would address a common issue within one of the themes, and then it would provide a high-level solution. Not only are you showing that you understand their challenges and speak their language, but you are also showcasing your expertise and subject matter authority.

The words you use matter. Leverage the power of your messaging and story to build relationships that turn into sales. Get clear on your value and then communicate it to your dream clients to stand out from the competition and grow your business.


Lead photo courtesy Aurelia D'Amore Photography


Aleya Harris

Owner, Flourish Marketing

Aleya Harris, an award-winning marketer and former chef and catering company owner, is the Owner of Flourish Marketing, an agency that provides marketing education, strategy, and tools to help wedding, catering, and event professionals get and keep a consistent stream of clients.   Aleya is a StoryBrand Certified Guide and she uses that narrative-based framework to develop clear, engaging, and highly converting marketing assets, like websites and social media solutions, for her clients.  Aleya is the current Marketing Committee Chair for NACE and a top speaker at conferences...