Storytelling is an ancient art and its principals are used across many domains, yet in marketing and communication in business it is so much more than simply telling a story.
Storytelling has now become an essential content marketing technical used by marketers from all backgrounds to inform and inspire their audiences with strategically relatable content. Its place in content marketing is crucial for businesses that want to make a difference in these times of content-heavy and social media times.
Good stories help us understand our world and the lives of others. When we hear a good story, we think about what we have in common with the characters, such as their ideas, motivations, and experiences. Over 92% of consumers say they prefer stories in messaging – hence the pressure on marketing teams to tell a good story. When we hear a story we relate to, chemical responses happen in the brain, heightening our focus and allow us to connect. So, a content marketer can use these natural responses to create content centring on a consumer’s values and connecting their company to a target audience through trust and awareness. This then often leads to a fully connected customer and often an interaction and sale.
Here are some tips to help you start creating your storytelling content
Focus on your audience’s needs
At the centre to your storytelling needs to be the understanding of your audience and their needs. Remember to use insights and methodologies market analytics to help understand your audience’s goals and values – you then need to communicate this understanding back to your audience to make them feel important and unique. So instead of feeling like you are selling to them, your audience thinks you are communicating and helping them. This builds trust and an ongoing relationship.
Stories have a conflict
In fiction and storytelling, conflict is the basis of the plot. If you understand your audience’s issues then you can provide the solution – you are the answer they have been looking for. By identifying and illustrating these struggles, you can also establish your expertise in the marketplace. You can display a higher level of knowledge than your competitors by focussing on a complex conflict that you can provide the solution to. Remember it’s not about selling your product – the focus needs to be on the conflict and with your clever storytelling, it guides the audience to come to a conclusion without you showing them.
Remember learning to write prose in English classes at school? You were taught that stories should have a beginning, middle and an end. This still applies to your content, as well as features like using pace to drive your consumer through your story at the right speed. Spend too long on a setting a scene and your audience will lose interest, too fast and you’ll overwhelm them.
Finally, think about the best format to put your story in – a video can make a meaningful impact on an audience, whilst a podcast can relate context or more complex insights. Or think about trying something different like blog posts or live webinars to help share your story.
What are you waiting for?
For content marketers it is no longer about simply pushing products – instead, with just a few steps, you can use empathetic storytelling to illustrate their audience’s unique conflicts in a format that makes sense and take a big step in building a stronger more engaged consumer base.