Before books and before drawings on cave walls, there were stories. Stories of the human struggle—maybe heroic stories, personal trials, or business successes and failures that draw in listeners. When someone says they have a story to tell, others grow quiet, shift their gaze to the storyteller, and wait for what comes next. It’s a natural yearning to hear something that hasn’t been shared very often.
Yes, each of us has a thousand stories. Since getting into the business of producing podcasts, I have found that podcasting and broadcasting, in general, are a natural medium for storytellers.
For this podcast on the Funnel Radio Channel, we discussed the importance of storytelling in radio podcasting. We know instinctively that anecdotes fuel conversation, and Darryl Praill, CMO of VanillaSoft and the host of INSIDE Inside Sales, called into the program and talked about how the beginning of each of his podcasts generally starts with a personal story of his own. He then explained how that story is interwoven with the interview of his guest.
Jeanne Hopkins, CMO of Lola.com, called into the show talked about her podcast, Table Fries, where she interviews the women in her company. Jeanne says she doesn’t tell stories herself. Instead, she likes hearing the stories of the women in the company: how they came to be a part of Lola, what they’re doing now, and what they want to accomplish.
Susan Finch, VP of Operations at the Funnel Radio Channel, talked about the joy of storytelling and its impact on the listener and the storyteller. Susan has been involved in several thousand podcasts on the channel and she said that in the process of telling a story the storyteller becomes animated and it becomes something the audience follows and enjoys.
There is something about two people brought together in a podcast, maybe separated by hundreds or thousands of miles, who discuss the problems and challenges of the day. When these thoughts are shared with thousands of others who seek to know how to overcome their own tests, it becomes personal for everyone.
While many people hope their podcast will relate to people—maybe establish their own thought leadership or enhance their personal brand or the brand of the company—most of them realize after they get into it that it’s all about storytelling. It’s personal and compelling, sometimes humorous, and often entertaining, but seldom dull.
Today, there are official storytellers employed by companies to promote the art of storytelling in business. Some courses and workshops teach people what they already know deep down inside: people thrive on stories.
In business, old salespeople have taught young salespeople that the secret to success as a salesperson is the ability to tell a credible story about themselves or maybe about their products and services. And now, young marketers are finding out that podcasts are a natural medium for them and their companies.