Storytelling in marketing can create passionate and invigorated customers who look forward to the next story you’ll publish. In today’s digital age it is more important than ever to connect with audiences and engage with them on a deeper level. If your content is feeling robotic or bland, then it’s time to alter your storytelling with a few simple changes.
Advice From a DemandWorks Pro
Senior Ad Ops Specialist Jenna Haskitt has a few words of advice for your brand storytelling. To create successful content, she recommends, “Evergreen content usually works best since it’s always relevant. Readers love timeless information, even if it’s similar to something they’ve already read. ‘How to’ guides, comparison guides, best practices, things to avoid, and anything with lists or bullet points are always a hit. Topical content is also successful as long as it’s not run past its prime.”
Since joining the industry in 2014, Haskitt has seen a few trends in brand content that you can use for your brand storytelling. She points to the rising popularity in lookbooks and on-demand webinars, as well as a shift in more casual tones for HR and marketing copy. Take a look at a few small changes you can make to help your content adapt to these new trends.
The 7 Little Changes
1. Start simple, then dive deep
A deeper emotional connection will give your storytelling more value. Much of the storytelling in the corporate world is superficial, aimed to meet marketing requirements (SEO, readability, etc.) instead of the humans who will read it.
Explore the story you’re telling by getting real, being vulnerable and providing a truthful ending – not everything will be tied up with a perfect bow, and that’s okay. People just want honesty and a thorough explanation.
2. Answer questions or provide guidance
While you may not be able to answer all of a customer’s questions in one sitting, your storytelling must have a purpose. Create stories focused on topics you know your customers want to learn about. Doing so will show that you pay attention to their concerns and are always actively looking for answers.
Since the end of March, we have seen a large shift in content topics. Much of the content created since then has been geared towards COVID-19. During a pandemic, brands have to rethink their content strategy. One thing that marketers have to take into consideration is, how does this current state affect your customers and how can you provide assistance?
Cornerstone recently created several content pieces about working in a remote environment. The pieces are short, interactive and engaging. Anything related to working from home including setting up a home office, avoiding total isolation, staying mentally strong, communicating remotely with coworkers, virtual interviews or how to set boundaries with family is exploding right now.– Jenna Haskitt
3. Humanize dry material to make it more relatable
Unfortunately, some topics you cover will not be all that exciting (think technical guides or manuals). However, you can add a narrative that brings emotion to subjects that may be otherwise dry and boring.
When you have dry material, take a perspective that evokes more humanistic emotions, such as humor, happiness or nostalgia. Subtle hints of such feelings may subconsciously influence your readers’ opinion on the content.
Additionally, try to personalize your material to meet the specific characteristics of your audience. If a majority of your readers are younger, appeal to their sense of modernity and reference trends or relevant events when appropriate.
4. Show as much, if not more, than you’re telling
When someone explains a subject to you, you’ll remember about 10% of the topic in three days. However, if you also see a relevant graphic in conjunction with the topic, you’ll retain 65% of that information in the same time period.
Psychologist Haig Kouyoumdjian discovered that visuals increase our retention rate, reduce the length of time it takes us to understand the topic and help us process difficult concepts. Our brain has more space to process images than words, and by combining the two, we are able to retain that information longer.
In fact, Haskitt says that while the title may be the first thing a user sees, images are a close second. Quality titles and images are just as relevant as the actual content. Add visuals, such as photos, infographics and videos, throughout your story to help your reader better understand it.
5. Find partners to co-create with
Your content doesn’t have to be published only on your blog or wholly produced by your company to be effective.
A fantastic way to engage your customers is to include stories from them. Invite them to publish guest posts on your blog. Consumer-generated content helps focus the lens of your storytelling through the eyes of your customers, crafting a narrative that’s authentic and more relatable.
Another way to engage potential customers is to find trusted and valued partners and publish your content on their websites. Content syndication can be an incredibly effective way of expanding your outreach.
6. Go left: Show what can be different or unusual but still work
Many companies forget to display their qualities while telling their stories. However, brand storytelling is the perfect time to reiterate your unique selling proposition, or USP.
Your storytelling should explain how you and your product are unique, and should also explain it in a distinctive way. Videos, infographics and even illustrations are creative methods of telling your story in a way that your users might not have seen before. Craft your narrative so that it intrigues them until the very end.
7. Come to a meaningful resolution
A good story has a powerful ending. Don’t leave your blogs with lackluster and emotionless conclusions.
The end of your story is the perfect time to tie up loose ends as well as prompt action or emotion. It is your opportunity to show your users how your product or service will change their lives, solve their issues or meet their needs. Be sure to resolve any topics you’ve introduced and add a call to action that will guide your readers to complete the next step in the sales funnel.
Connect With a Professional
In the best stories, there’s always a hero or heroine who must tackle the challenge and come to the rescue.
If you present your content following these tips, you become the hero for your readers. You address the challenges they have, present any solution that is available and offer resources to help them solve their problems themselves. With that type of approach, you can build strong relationships with your audience and promote loyalty in your customers.
Want to learn more about how to generate demand and attract qualified leads? Contact DemandWorks Media today.