Content Marketing tips: Storytelling

Content Marketing tips: Storytelling

In this post, we cover one of the most important content marketing tips – storytelling

So why is storytelling so important in your content marketing strategy?

Stories are compelling, stimulating and interesting, you want people to feel connected and have a sense of belonging.  Stories make people feel better about themselves.

Telling your personal or brand story is more than what you communicate on your website, its about consistently speaking to your audience with your values and mission in mind

Cut through the online clutter

With the increase of content consumption on smartphones, tablets and other devices its harder to stand out from the crowd and be heard.  Google has over 5 million search queries every minute and thats without blogs being published, social media shares and forum threads

To be able to cut through the clutter and be heard, you need to be genuine and tell a story that is enlightening to your audiences.  you need to make that human connection and provide information and guidance to your prospects.

  • Tell a story “what you do”,  and “why” they need to hear what you are telling them so you touch on their emotions to make it more memorable. 
  • Make your customers the focal point and change the way they think.  Your story should stand out and not blend in to what other people are saying
    • You may tell people that you have the best product in your industry, that is not storytelling, its blending in.  You can however bring that message across through the art of storytelling instead – much more effective

Telling a story

Most people don’t care about what you do, but why you are doing something and how it can solve their problem

lets use why, how and what

Most people start with the “what” they do

  • The “what” element deals with the analytical part of the brain.

We need to trigger the feelings and emotional part of the brain to make that connection, this is the “why” and “how”

  • In the planning stage of your story, think about starting off with the “why”.  This can be educational information.  Take a topic you want to write about  and think how you can get that connection through “why” and then “how”
  • When authors write a book, they will almost always include three parts to the story:
    • characters,
    • conflict
    • resolution.

Include a character in your story

Your character is your reader.  If your readers can see themselves in the story and can relate to the character, they will be more likely to buy the product or service becuase they want the same happy ending, the satisfaction the character received in the story – make sense?

The most memorable reads for me, is something that has resonated with me that answered a question to a problem I needed solving

In order to achieve this, create a buyer persona (a semi-fictitious character that is likely to purchase your product or service)  Identify their challenges and needs and create a character exactly like that for your story.

Example:  If your buyer persona is a dad with kids who wants to take their kids fishing on a budget and also likes movies. You may want to have this person in your story as a fisherman with limited money but at the end achieves this goal by taking his kids to the lake and still has money left over to spoil the kids to a movie.

You can use first, second or third person.  The important thing to remember, is keep it consistent and what will work for your buyer personas

Without conflict, you have no story

After you have chosen your character, its very important to understand the conflict, without this there is no story as its more like a sales pitch.  You need that human-to-human connection so that people will share your story on blogs and social media.  People are not robots, so treat them as such, make them feel happy and stress free

If we get back to the buyers journey, we need to understand problems/conflicts people face at every stage.  People will have different problems in the awareness stage and decision making stage, make sure these conflicts are in your story and you outline the different conflicts

Finish off with a good resolution

To finish off your story, you need resolution to the conflict otherwise its not complete and will not achieve your goal

Don’t leave your audience in the dark.  You content marketing resolution could be a:

  • call to action to read more
  • download something
  • next steps  

Make sure there is closure.  Must have a happy ending remember, you should have achieved something for your audience

Lets look at a practical example

Example:  Geoff owns a franchise bakery business in Florida

Geoff (character) was reading about poverty in Angola where 40% of kids were going to bed hungry every night because of the lack of resources in the Angolan town

Connection has been made with audience through emotions

Geoff ties in a resolution.  For every $10 you spend, they will donate $1 towards buying food for this town and helping out the hungry children

Geoff tells a powerful story which has a great resolution.  People feel happy after reading the story and Geoff has grown his business tremendously through this story and initiative

Emotions are a big part of Content Marketing

Remember, emotions gives your story power, use it.  End off with a powerful resolution which can be

  • survival
  • guilt
  • entertainment

A Typical content marketing example using storytelling

Below is an example post title to put this practice into perspective

Title – How to eliminate external sound interference in your videos

You can see from the title its addressing the conflict straight away.  You could also use a resolution in your title but in this example its describing the conflict that your buyer persona may have

The character in this example is “you”, your buyer persona can relate to this straight away.

In the blog post, they give some solutions to eliminating sound interference, this is the resolution part of the story

The story is clear and concise and uses language that relates to the user.  They tell the story using emotion as the connection to help solve the problem.

This is a simple example and you may have some blog posts that have multiple conflicts that need to be addressed.  Its up to you how you get the story across, sometimes second person also works well as you confess that you have also been in that situation and that you are not alone.

In summary:   Be consistent, have emotional resonance, be authentic, be clear and concise.  Start off with “why”.  Create a need or address a need

Its now your turn to start creating a piece of content that can educate your audience and solve their problems.  Remember, always keep best practices in mind and make sure you understand your end goal and what you want to achieve

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