Storytelling for Lawyers

According to Lisa Cron, from Wired for Story, “Stories allow us to simulate intense experiences without having to actually live through them. Stories allow us to experience the world before we actually have to experience it.”  

So, what’s so great about stories? We’ll tell you in 4 simple words: people relate to them. Whether you’re watching a movie, an ad, reading a book, listening to a podcast, or even standing in front of the juror: stories are central players.

Does that mean that only professional writers are storytellers? Not at all! As a matter of fact, lawyers are superb storytellers. They have to thread a storyline for the entire courtroom. What’s more, lawyers depend on stories told by their clients! In a way, you could say we’re all storytellers. 

But why do we narrate events? 

  • To provide a direction around the unknown. 
  • To bring people together. If your story resonates, educates, and informs – you’ll build deeper connections. And this will lead to higher customer loyalty. 
  • To inspire. We can all relate to the tales of the heroes, the underdogs, and heartbreaks. 

Storytelling, specifically business storytelling, is the art of sharing the experiences behind your brand, employees, customers, and advocates. Mastering this art is paramount to connecting with your audience. This is especially true for firms because people hire them based on trust.

Stick around and learn how to master the art of legal storytelling. 

 

Everything you do in business has a narrative

That’s a fact. Everything in business involves a narrative: your website, your values, your case, etc. When implemented correctly, you can expect to: 

  • Make your firm relatable and simultaneously memorable. 
  • Gain a better understanding of your audience(s). You’ll be able to answer questions like: what’s the client looking for? Are they looking for the most affordable or best solution? How familiar are they with the legal process? 
  • Highlight your “Why.” With a compelling story, you’ll be able to communicate your unique value proposition across all your channels. 
  • Drives emotional connection. This is big! Why? Because people make emotional decisions. We’ll explain more in the upcoming chapters. 
  • Foster brand loyalty.
  • Position you as a thought-leader, the guide, and ultimately the hero!

Is this something you aspire towards? Then we’ve got the formula that’ll set you up for success. To build a strong connection, you can follow the 5 C’s in storytelling

  1. Circumstance: Set the scene. By doing this at the beginning, you’ll help users understand the narrative.
  2. Curiosity: Spark the reader’s interest with a hook at the beginning or really just anywhere. You’ll want to create a thirst for more. 
  3. Characters: The human touch will always be key. By adding characters and faces, you’ll give the readers a person they’re able to root for. For example, in court, the ultimate hero is your client.
  4. Conversations: Although some people will want to see more numbers and statistics, most people tend to respond to conversations better.
  5. Conflict: Every hero goes through the hero’s journey where they face challenges that lead them to their ultimate transformation.

Besides following the 5 C’s, here’s a FREE checklist that can help you brainstorm epic stories around your firm’s vision and mission: 

Values – what does your firm stand for? Why was it founded? Ultimately, how do its values reflect your values?

People – Who are the people behind your firm? What are their stories? What inspired them to join the legal profession? How do you connect with people in the language they understand best?

History – What is the narrative behind everything you do in the firm? How did your firm come to be? What problems do you feel are essential to solving?

Journey – What’s your firm’s current situation, and where do you see yourself in X amount of years?

Emotional marketing sells

According to studies, we do not make decisions logically but rather emotionally. Do you know how we use our rational thought? Well, it turns out that we use it to argue the emotional position we took! In the end, emotions require less effort than logic. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?! 

With just this fact alone, it’s clear to see that emotional marketing sells. 

Often we think happiness is the ultimate destination or state of being. However, all emotions are valid and play a big role in storytelling. Joy, gratitude, interest, anger, love, altruism, fear, satisfaction, and relief are powerful emotions. 

So, which emotions sell the most? The answer is, it depends. Like in storytelling and law, we take a position and then find arguments supporting that view. The trick is to identify the sentiment that best fits your message. 

To find out which emotions work best, think back to this question: what do you want the reader to feel? According to Princeton neuroscientist Uri Hasson (as found in HBR), “a story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience.” This is called neural coupling.  

Neuroscientists are still looking more into these findings. But, ultimately, when we dive into a story rich in details, data, expression, images, etc. – we put ourselves in that situation.

Touching on your prospect’s deep unspoken emotional needs converts more than you might think.

Storytelling Best Practices 

  1. Define the core message. Whether your story is 10 seconds long or 10 pages long, the core message must be established before anything.
  2. When using emotional marketing, begin with something relatable and something your audience can agree with.
  3. Focus on building a hero-centric story structure. Today’s marketing is more client-centric than ever. Therefore, lawyers should position themselves as the guide who helps the client (the hero) find a solution to fix their problem.
  4. Use client testimonials. No one can communicate how terrific your firm’s services are better than those who have already experienced them. 
  5. Build a strong connection by evoking your audience’s desires, dreams, and aspirations. 
  6. Show you care by demonstrating empathy. 
  7. Add case studies. There’s no better way to prove you can bring results than case studies. In them, you can:
  • Tell the client’s story using the hero’s journey: hook, introduction, rising action, climax, and the ultimate resolution.
  1. Choose the story’s medium. This will depend on resources and budget. 
  2. Publish it! If it involves the client’s information, make sure you get their permission beforehand. Once that’s taken care of, share and promote it! Creating is only half the battle. Sharing is the other half. 

Share your story  

Every tale told is designed with a purpose in mind. Whatever that purpose may be: convert, convince, persuade, and more – it’s paramount you share your stories. 

While we hope our weekly blog posts serve as a beacon of light, we understand that learning and incorporating all these archetypes can be a challenge. 

Luckily for you, our team of custom content experts knows the ins and outs of storytelling and ultimately focuses on conversion-focused content. Whether you want to create a custom plan, ask more questions, check on your current story strategy, or more – we’re here to help always.