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Storytelling for Marketing: The Best Genre for You

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For the past couple of weeks, we have been exploring the art of storytelling for marketing. We have covered why storytelling is so important for marketing professionals to master, what questions you need to answer before you start composing a story and the components that every great story needs.  Today we are going to explore the different types of genres you can use to style the stories you tell.

What are the Different Storytelling Genres?

Education based

At some point, you need to get the facts out there about your product. It helps the analytical buyers in your crowd justify the purchase they are about to make. And even for those emotional buyers, the facts are that extra piece that can justify their urge to buy and allow you to close the deal. Another remarkable benefit of education-based storytelling is that you can establish yourself as an expert in that field.   Demonstrating your expertise applies to anything from vegan prepared meals to being the neighborhood expert for a given city. The more that your prospective customer can learn from you, the more they will trust you. And if you have given that knowledge away for free via a platform, it provides the customer comfort that they will learn more from you when they become your client. It also builds that trust we talked about last week. You know your stuff, and they are in good hands.   How to measure if you are successful with an education based story? Easy: is there a takeaway? If someone summarizes the moral of your story, what would it be?   If it’s not clear to you, it’s not clear period.

Inspiration and Aspiration

Where education is teaching, inspiration in storytelling often comes from modeling. You are giving your audience something to strive for or lust after. This lust could be quite literally for the hot guy at the swimming pool or the perfect model apartment. If you are a personal trainer, this is where you show you or one of your clients jumping off a boat in their bathing suit with their six-pack abs.   The measure to whether or not you are doing it right? If people see this story will they think “Ooooh, I want that!” Or at the very least will it make them smile?



The community has a ton of different applications, but at the end of the day, it is the vehicle that gets people to feel like they are a part of something bigger. So, @WeThePeople on Instagram gives the handle to a different DC citizen each day, and that person shows off ‘their DC.’ It’s brilliant on so many levels. {Leveraging everyone else’s following, endless content, giving followers a chance to connect with each other, and cultivating the best library of DC images} Most importantly, as you get chosen for your day, you feel like you are part of a club. And belonging is one of our core needs. The measure to whether or not your community stories are working? Is your community growing? Are people interacting with your stories? Comments, questions, etc.? We invite people from social to real live events. We then measure not just the numbers that show up, but if they convert. That will always be my favorite measure of success.

‘Behind the Scenes’

storytelling is a bit of a subset of community storytelling. The effect of BTS is so powerful; it deserves mention separate of the Community category. Anytime a team member is sharing a bit of their day, or you’re sharing stages of development of a product, this is your BTS story. @WarbyParker does an excellent job of this on Snapchat. They have weekly interviews with employees at their desks. Putting your team member’s faces out there is a fantastic way to humanize your brand. You’re no longer some faceless, money-making conglomerate. You are Susie from Milwaukee who has eight different Post-it notes pads on her desk and volunteers at the Humane Society. It’s a lot harder for a dissatisfied customer to bad mouth Susie AND a lot more likely that the client will instead reach out with a suggestion for better service features.

These are the different types of storytelling we love. Next week, we’ll be diving into what kinds of content topics work best for Live video. Don’t miss it!

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About The Author


Not one to settle for status quo, Holli has spent her 20 year career shaking up the multifamily industry. From creating unheard of building amenities to designing lounge-like leasing centers, to major Pinterest fails in the kitchen, she is ever experimenting. It’s no surprise that she created a new way to match apartment renters with their perfect home. Holli is a featured speaker and session facilitator at regional and national industry conferences. When she’s not brainstorming the next marketing campaign, you can find Holli testing the limits of bottomless brunch or climbing the Peloton Leaderboard!

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