Content marketing is going to be really big and digital marketers know this. Actually, 93% of B2B marketers are already using content marketing for their campaigns and the numbers will keep getting bigger. This trend is brought about by the way online users are using the Internet now particularly with their buying decisions. Up to 70% of consumers actually make some research about a brand or a company before they even initiate making contact to ask for further information.
What this imply is that the decision element in the buying process is already been set into motion even before supplier-customer interaction has taken place. The story consumers can read about your brand or company should be consistent with the stories you tell about your business. How consistent and convincing your story is will be a very vital deciding factor on whether a customer will buy from you or not.
That is why storytelling in content marketing is very important, particularly telling a good story that would seamlessly integrate with your content. No matter how simple or boring your product may be, if you tell a good story you’ll have greater chances of getting the attention of your targeted customers. Storytelling is an art that requires great insight, but it is also a skill that can be mastered through time and effort – and the following will guide you through the road of mastery.
A typical consumer may process more than 100,000 words each day and the collective lot will make up to 700,000 searches in Google every minute. Add to this the tons of images, videos, graphics and other content they encounter each and every day. Throw in the 5.3 trillion ads marketed each year and you’ll soon have a clear understanding of the volume of data consumers get to sift through each day.
No wonder online users ten to skim through online information (ignoring most data that come their way) rather than read through each item, making it even more difficult for digital marketers to connect with them. What will get their attention is something that can connect through to their lives. Storytelling does that, and in the context of content marketing will get people to understand what makes your brand, product or service so special that they should pay attention to.
While content marketing tries to engage audiences with a particular form of content to solicit a particular form of action, storytelling will go beyond that into more specific and more informative ways that gets targeted audiences’ attention. Your story should involve narratives that are well-crafted that will make it easier to connect and communicate with your customers in more informative, meaningful and engaging ways.
The Formula for Successful Storytelling Campaigns
The key to a successful storytelling campaign in content marketing is simple – tell a great story. A great story in the context of content marketing is not just any story but are based on the following elements:
1. A Great Story Should Hit a Nerve
A great story is something that is not only genuine, fascinating or inspirational, but it should also be something that is heart felt — something that can connect with your targeted audiences who can identify themselves in your story. A great story should connect with your targeted audiences and make them think about their own lives, making it more memorable to your audiences and relevant enough to be shared.
2. A Great Story Should Personify Your Core Values
Trust is a very important element that is key to influencing the buying patterns of consumers. People tend to buy from brands they know and trust as well as exemplify their core values. MarketingProfs placed this nicely in one of their report:
“Brand trust is more than just about a great product, an affordable price, or a successful promotional strategy. To win the hearts and wallets of customers, an entire organization should know and exemplify the company’s unique value proposition.”
With great storytelling, your targeted audiences can identify with the various personas associated with your brand. These stories give your brands a side of humanity that they can easily identify with – and this develops trust and brand loyalty.
3. A Great Story Should Show and Not Tell
Every brand has something to say, particularly benefits people can get from products and services or their advantages over other items in the market. If you want to make your targeted audiences know more about the benefits and advantages, it should be shown through stories using specific situations and not simply told as a matter of fact. These elements should be well integrated into the story so that targeted audiences can experience these elements themselves and decide things on their own. Simply stating an advantage or a benefit will not cut it – they should be shown how and why.
4. A Great Story is One that Comes from Your Brand Advocates
Your story can get to a whole new level if it includes narratives about your products and services as told by your brand advocates. Nothing can be more convincing to targeted audiences than stories told by other consumers themselves, to whom targeted audiences can easily feel connected to or engage with at an emotional level.
Storytelling in a Content Marketing Context
Storytelling can be a very effective channel for connecting with your targeted audiences however, you should primarily consider crafting your story not only with the success elements mentioned above but also from a content marketing context. The end goal is of course engaging with your targeted audiences and generating valuable lead information that will eventually turn your readers into paying customers. The following should guide your story from a content marketing perspective.
1. Your Story Should Embody Your Brand’s DNA
The whole point of storytelling in content marketing is not just present basic facts about your brand, products and services, but to connect with targeted audiences with your stories that embody your brand’s DNA right it the core of each narrative. It goes beyond merely stating facts and figures but really delving into the narrative, spending appropriate time to focus on thoughts and ideas that are relevant to and would inspire your targeted audiences more than mere information can do.
2. Your Story Should Let Readers Visualize Your Context
A solid connection between a brand and targeted audiences can only occur if readers can actually visualize the content marketing context from the stories narrated. If readers can visualize what you are trying to say, you can easily capture a greater degree of their attention and engage with them in higher levels than before – to the point that your story can actually make a change in their buying perception. In storytelling, focus on things that inspire, entertain, amuse and eventually engage with your audience.
3. Your Story Should Let Readers Identify with Your Persona
In storytelling, you should develop a certain persona that targeted readers can identify with. From a content marketing context, you should have a certain marketing persona that goes beyond mere selling of products and services, but something that connects with them in a more personal and emotional level. Focus your stories on how previous and existing customers have connected with you in the past at a personal level such as a memorable encounter or an unforgettable experience your brand have shared with these people.
4. Your Story Should Include What Readers are Telling
Do you listen to what your readers are saying? Are you using what they have to say as part of the narrative that you want to convey to other people? Crafting your story from this perspective can provide more credibility to your brand, giving your targeted audiences the impression that you care about what they say. Your story should evolve from the branding-related context in content marketing into something that caters to the demand and pulse of your targeted readers.
5. Your Story Should be Accessible to All
Is your brand targeting audiences from beyond a certain demographic, such as people who speak in languages other than English? If you are targeting a global audience, your story should be accessible and easily understood by all whatever their language or geographical location may be. Just be sure that the content marketing context in your stories can still be successfully conveyed to your audiences even if told from another language.
People love stories and that’s a fact. They would even be more interested to listed and pay attention to if a great story is being told. Complex ideas about your brand that you are using in a content marketing perspective can be easily understood and appreciated by your targeted audiences if told in context using a great story line. Business owners and digital marketers can do well in mastering the art of storytelling from a content marketing perspective. The more interesting your story is, the more you can attract your targeted audiences – and eventually convert them into brand ambassadors.