Content Marketing is a marketing strategy focused on the creation of valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, without having in mind the idea to sell something to them. One of its important components is storytelling.
Storytelling is a powerful tool for connecting with your audience. It helps you sell, connect and engage more effectively. Want to know how it works and its essential elements? Keep on reading!
The power of Storytelling
Most company tend to use logic to promote their products: data, statistics, ROI, ... But logic is rarely appealing and remembered. Emotions, on the other end, are remembered and shared! That’s how storytelling works. People crave more than just facts. They want something they can connect and relate to. It’s much more interesting, much more engaging and, therefore, much more likely to arouse a response.
Storytelling can be used in all sort of formats:
- Case Studies
However, storytelling is much more than what you write on your website, blog or social media, it's about your mission and the values you convey! Also, it's not the history of your company, but rather why you'’re doing what you’re doing and telling it in a way that appeals to the audience.
Which bring us to Simon Sinek’s famous Golden Circle, who says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
According to Sinek, most people communicate by starting with the “what” they do aspect and eventually work their way back to talk about “how” and “why” they do what they do.
But companies that are universally identified as unique and successful, think Apple or Google, communicate with an “inside-out” type of thinking. They start with the why and only then do they move on to talk about the how and what portions of what they do.
To help illustrate his point Sinek says, imagine if Apple also started backwards by creating a marketing message that started with “what.”
“We make great computers. They’re user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?”
While these facts are true, It’s unlikely we’d buy one. But Apple don’t communicate how most people do. Here’s what a real marketing message from Apple might actually look like:
“With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
See the difference?
Using the Golden Circle
To use the Golden Circle for your marketing content just answer three simple questions:
- Why – Why are you doing what you are doing? For example, why are you in business, why did you develop your product or service?
- How – How will this help your readers? For example, what problems are you solving for your readers, what challenges are you helping them overcome?
- What – What are you offering? For example, what is your product or service, what are the features and benefits of it?
When you talk about the why and how, you’re communicating with feelings and dealing with human behaviour to create a human connection and to resonate with people that need you help or guidance.
Essential elements of storytelling
Every story needs at least one. Characters provide a focal point for the audience. This character should be based on your buyer persona, so your customer can identify themselves in your contents.
The core of a good story is the central conflict. It is the obstacle in the way of the main character, the challenge to overcome. Its existence makes the experience relatable and allows you to bring across lessons you want to convey.
To define what the conflict should be, you should have a clear idea of the journey your customer is going through!
Every story needs an end. It doesn’t have to be a happy one but one that wraps up the storyline, makes your point and moves on to the call to action.
How to make your story compelling
Even if you have the main parts, you can still end up with a boring story. For that reason, here are some best practices for storytelling:
- Turn up the entertainment factor — It’s important to keep readers engaged. If they are amused, they will continue reading if only to find out how the story will conclude.
- Make it relatable and simple — Tap into experiences and emotions other people are familiar with. That way, you will create a stronger connection and make your story more effective. Also, your story needs to be organised to make it pleasant to read.
- Be specific — You’re not trying to communicate with everyone, just your buyer personas, so writing your marketing messages and content shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Think about your buyer personas, what are their problems and challenges and write your copy to solve that person’s needs.
- Include visuals — One of the biggest advantages of digital content is that you can underline the written word with visual data. Whether screenshots, stock photos, gifs, videos or infographics.
Storytelling is a great way to stand out from the competition. Don't hesitate to use it your content marketing strategy!
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