Every great marketing campaign relies on being able to communicate your story, whether that be the story of your brand or the products or services that sit at the center of your company. However, brand storytelling is becoming the foundation of many content marketing campaigns and for a good reason. A powerful, creative and insightful way of providing that coveted personal connection between company and customer, if incorporated correctly, storytelling offers a progressive strategy that has the potential to strengthen your brand, drive sales, enhance customer loyalty and in turn improve retention. In this article you will be provided with some great storytelling tips that will help you improve your content marketing.
At first glance the science of storytelling may appear to be fairly straightforward but as is the case with all marketing tactics, ensuring this natural love every human is hardwired to have a good story concisely communicates your brand message isn’t as easy as many marketing professionals make out. The power of storytelling, however, is right there for the taking, and by following these golden rules, you can transform your marketing plan or your client’s for the better.
Understand the basics of storytelling
Whether it’s a story that has gripped you during adulthood or you have poignant memories of an enchanting story you read as a child, there’s no doubt that every individual has been captivated by a story at some point or another. While you may not be penning a bestselling novel as part of your content marketing campaign, grasping the fundamentals that kept you hooked on your favorite story is a vital part of realizing its power from a marketing perspective.
Brand storytelling isn’t about inventing the most farfetched and exciting story you can think of; it’s about crafting a story that tells your audience who you are, what you stand for and why it matters to them. Your story as a company will be continuously evolving which gives plenty of inspiration to differentiate your business, a prospect that certainly helps in a crowded marketplace. As we’ve mentioned storytelling is very much part and parcel of modern marketing, and by using a combination of research, marketing strategy and brand storytelling you can give your audience exactly what they need and in turn find your voice, listen to your audience and engage on an emotional level.
Play on your knowledge and expertise
While you may be well versed in the ABC of your marketing message, using storytelling to delve deeper into your brand and its products or services is all about playing to your strengths. For those in search of an influential and powerful story to tell as part of your content marketing campaign it is all too easy to go for something so far out the box to guarantee the impact that will shock or excite your customers, but it is important to understand that every aspect of your storytelling campaign should revolve around your expertise, knowledge that your customer base can rely on you for.
When devising topics for your storytelling campaign, use the basics of thought leadership to help you pick core themes that are personal to your brand and fitting to what it is your content marketing plan is looking to achieve. If your business revolves around financial services and drawdown pensions, then stick to this genre, leaving no stone unturned in your search for a good story. Once you have selected your core theme, pinpoint topics within these areas. By focusing on your skillset advantage, you will ensure that your story is more powerful and accurate than the rest, even if your story is a twist on a plotline that has been told time and time again.
Use emotions rather than information
The reason why storytelling works so well is that in a fast-paced world full of brands with all the bells and whistles, storytelling offers an honest and personal insight into a company. According to a recent study conducted by The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), in instances where the likeability factor rated highly among viewers so too did increasing brand sales. Further research found that consumers rated emotions, personal feelings, and experiences more highly than information such as brand attributes, features and facts. In addition to this, advertisements garnering more of an emotional response were found to be of greater influence.
Your story should not only influence the way your audience thinks, acts and behaves, but the way they feel, and stories that demand emotional investment tend to succeed and drive audiences to take action.
Know where to use classic storytelling tips & tactics (and where not to)
Following the classic and recognizable storytelling principles, we have come to rely on when enjoying a good book can work wonders when telling a brand story to your target audience. Whether it’s a hero’s journey, quest, coming of age adventure, personal triumph or historical plotline that you’d like to focus on when telling your story, these tried and tested patterns can indeed make a story predictable but also help your audience understand what’s coming next to create a healthy anticipation. The element of surprise is also one factor that should not be forgotten, especially when utilizing a classic storytelling pattern. Whether your story is a long one, a short and snappy insight or a series, adding an unexpected twist will hold your customer’s attention even longer.
Whether your story is a long one, a short and snappy insight or a series, adding an unexpected twist will hold your customer’s attention even longer.
Powerful stories should also call upon the ‘beginning, middle and end’ structure. As well as holding the attention of an audience, this classic structure will help you control the pace and communicate a clear call to action. While there are some traditional practices that are geared towards success, some have proven to flop in the world of marketing. For example, giving your audience the inclination to devise their conclusion from the story offered is preferred to the use of ‘moral of the story’ endings.
Choose the right medium
There are so many ways to share your story once you have taken the time to craft one worth telling. From business blogs, film and print to social media and multimedia, the possibilities are endless. Some stories, however, are more suited to certain channels than others.
The key to storytelling success is to know which story to tell and in which medium, and stories essentially must be tailored to fit the channel. Considering using a television campaign to get your story across? Then keep messages short, sweet and to the point. Want to save your story for audience facing delivery, such as at a conference or seminar? Then ramp up the personal element of your story and tell it with passion. Using storytelling as part of a social media marketing campaign has become one of the most affordable and effective ways of telling stories that will make brands stand out as well as grab the attention of customers.
As with other mediums, your story’s structure must be altered to communicate successfully with your social media audience. Following the Freytag’s pyramid theory is the go-to strategy for social storytelling, with the proven structure of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution a successful route to better engagement and an enhanced emotional connection with consumers.
Remember consistency is key
When sharing your story, whatever your preferred channel of communication, consistency should be at the very top of your list of priorities. If you are exercising your storytelling strategy on your email subscribers, maintaining regular communication will provide that all-important flow as well as keep your audience engaged and hanging off your every word. Setting and sticking to a schedule is essential, and will keep you creating and communicating your content throughout the entirety of your storytelling series.
Whatever happens, keep it visual
As you may or may not know the human brain can process visual imagery 60,000 times faster than text so whatever your chosen story and medium it pays to keep it as visual as possible. While using video may not be possible with the smaller budgets used by small to medium sized enterprises, the use of pictures, images, and graphics in its place would not be lost on your audience. In fact, by adding visual elements to your content you can generate 94% more views in comparison to standard text, while posts that contain photos and videos see views jump up by up to 48%. Visual storytelling deserves more than a quick search and selection of stock photos, the visuals chosen should be not only relevant to the topic you are looking to support but sensory, authentic and even interactive.
Storytelling as part of your content marketing campaign gives you the means to show, not tell, your brand to your target audience, and by using the tips mentioned above you can enjoy greater sales, engagement, and traffic as a result.
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- 7 Storytelling Tips That Will Change Your Content Marketing Plan - November 14, 2016