For any of us who have had bedtime stories read to us, or we read them ourselves, we realized how soothing stories can be. Stories create images in our minds and take us to places we didn’t even know existed if not for the books that shelter the words.

Stories can even become so real to us that we forget it is our imagination creating the people and places we read about.

But that’s how powerful storytelling can be. Stories raise questions in our minds, cause us to explore, and hold our attention captive. Stories allow the past—history—to live on. And they make us fall in love with or walk away in disgust from someone or something because we know the backstory.

So what does all this have to do with e-newsletters?

E-newsletters are vital to building trust and relationships. But that trust builds on the stories we share. Stories give people a picture of our values, who we are. And if you’re trying to build trust in your brand, it’s the stories that will take your subscribers on a journey. If you write your stories well, your readers will want to continue that journey for a long time.

Why stories are important

After your website, your e-newsletter should be your strongest branding tool. The stories you share about your organization and your values will encourage your readers to engage with you. Like reading a book, they become eager to turn the page to find out what happens next.

Continue to encourage them to turn that page by being authentic about you. Your content and images tell a story that the reader can’t get anywhere else. The more they read about what you are doing, and where you are going, helps them trust you, as if they are having a conversation with you.

People learn about us through our stories because then they see more than the business, the person, or the product. They understand the backstory that makes us who we are. Now they “get” why we do what we do. They meld with our personalities. They see themselves in our story and therefore relate to us. Which, in turn, translates into trust.

English writer Sir Philip Pullman said: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” 

Finding your story for your e-newsletter

One of the most challenging aspects of doing an e-newsletter is writing quality content. Especially if you are not a writer and you are tasked with the e-newsletter content, this can be difficult. So here are a few tips for quality content:

1. Use original content. You will be dispersing this content throughout your media channels (more on this later). The content must be about you, your organization, and your programs. Canned content will not only turn your readers away because it isn’t authentic, but it will damage your rankings online.

2. Stories can be told with images, so take advantage of photographs and videos to tell a story.

3. Talk to people—your funders, your employees, your consumers—to learn about them, their habits and why they turn to you for information. You can learn a lot about yourself by listening to others.

4. Create an editorial calendar. List out content ideas, deadlines, social media channels, related images, and who is responsible for each so you can begin planning and not miss an issue.

5. Quality content takes planning. Your e-newsletter should never be an afterthought or your social media images and posts thrown together in a “newsletter.” Your e-newsletter should receive the same care and attention you would give to creating a print magazine people want to keep or share.

6. Have group storytelling discussions. Talk about what is happening in your organization, with your programs and events, with your latest product or service. We become natural storytellers and talking out loud helps us form the backbone of a good story.

7. Focus on “why” you do what you do. A lot of stories can stem from the reason you started your organization and doing what you do in the first place.

(For more information on e-newsletter content, see the article: “How to have great content for your company newsletter in 7 steps.”)

You have more stories in your organization and within yourself than you realize. The key is learning what your readers want to hear so you know how to tell those stories.

What are some cool story ideas you’ve either put in your own newsletter or have seen in others’?

Authentic stories are key to building trust. Our e-newsletters are an important way to highlight our values and brand through the stories we share. It is vital to write quality stories that will encourage our subscribers and readers to go on our journey. Plan your year with an editorial calendar to save time in finding content. And don’t be afraid to include images and videos in your storytelling.

Want to improve your writing either in your business or as an author? My 2-Day VIP Writing Workshop is designed to help you write effectively and get a boost to start a writing project and/or compel you forward to finish your writing projects. Get more information here and let’s schedule a call!