he art of storytelling maximizes customer engagement in content marketing. When you read a blog article or watch a video, and that article or video is telling a story to grab your attention, you become engaged and will remember that article or video in the future.
Content marketing has turned out to be a complicated ordeal in a world where 93% of marketers use analogous tricks to create content. Actually, many marketers are increasingly finding it hard to stand out from rivals competing for similar prospects.
Despite its complexity, HubSpot and other reputable marketing creatives say that content marketing still stands as the most ideal marketing strategy. Therefore, you cannot afford to abandon it if you want your venture to attain and guard the industry’s top spot.
Instead, you should look around for creative ways to create unique content that stands out from that generated by rivals. How can you create that unique content that stands out? According to Forbes, storytelling can help you stand out from the competition.
It cultivates stronger connections with your audience, makes your brand memorable, and it provokes strong emotional responses that can boost your sales. It is a necessity for marketers who wish to approach their prospects uniquely.
What Is Storytelling?
HubSpot defines storytelling as the art of using creativity, skill, trial-and-error, and practice to convey your brand or marketing information embellished as a captivating narrative. It sets apart vibrant brands from simple businesses.
You can use stories to create your business’ “About section,” blogs, sales copy, presentations, tutorials, emails, video content, case studies, social media posts, newsletters, and any other piece of web content.
Why Should You Integrate Storytelling Into Your Content Plan?
Here are a few reasons why you should be integrating storytelling in your content marketing strategy.
- Storytelling simplifies complex messages
The Content Marketing Institute claims that many content marketing plans fail because marketers use jargon to engage their audience. In line with the experts, many consumers dislike jargon-filled content. As we mentioned before, using jargon may be one the top content marketing mistakes in a given strategy. In fact, marketers who use platitude or jargon-filled content frequently see reduced site traffic, increased bounce rates, as well as reduced SEO.
Therefore, if your site has been recording reduced traffic and high bounce rates, your content could have been too complex for your audience to read and digest. But, you don’t have to worry since storytelling can help you get back on the right track.
HubSpot’s marketing experts say that storytelling is like a portrait a good-looking picture using words. It is a universal language that has been used for thousands of years to pass valuable information from one generation to another. So, anyone anywhere can understand your story.
Apple, a leading manufacturer of high-end phones and computers, have been using the art of storytelling to market their products. The tech giant has been using real-life stories to highlight their product’s benefits instead of industry jargon.
- Storytelling creates lasting memories
An article posted on WireBuzz claims that people are primed to remember stories more than they can remember other types of content. This is because, long before the invention of paper and printing technology, people relied on stories to pass intricate information from one generation to the next
In line with the article, content wrapped up as a story is 22X more memorable than content with plain logic and facts. In fact, reputable companies like AirBnB, Zillow, Spotify, Huggies, IBM, Whirlpool, and Google have been using the art of storytelling to make their brands memorable.
Why create memorable content marketing stories?
- Memorable content creates intense customer loyalty and trust
- It improves your brand identity and recognition
- Unforgettable content cements your brand’s stability
- It makes your marketing plan more consistent
- It cements your customer’s confidence
- It converts your one-time customers to loyal clients
- Storytelling makes your content unique
Fresh content is a necessity for successful content marketing campaigns. It promotes user engagement, boosts your website ranking, enhances your business’ credibility, increases your business’ search ranking, and it generates more site traffic. It is the ultimate way to get noticed online.
While fresh and unique content looks so important, finding a new topic to write about is challenging. One way of coming up with unique content is leveraging the power of user-generated content. UGC is a great way to offer fresh, relevant, and most of all cheap content to your audience. Get ideas of how to get more user-generated content.
Wrapping up your content using stories gives those stale topics a new spin that resonates uniquely with your brand. The stories will differentiate you from the bland marketing content on social media, search engines, and other digital platforms.
- Stories enhance emotional engagement
In the past, marketers believed that informative sales content to make decisions. However, new generation marketers from BrightLabs claim that many consumers rely on emotions rather than information when making important purchasing decisions.
According to business experts, emotional content increases a consumer’s subconscious positivity by 35%. On that account, buyers are likely to take the desired action even before they learn more about your content. Also, BrightLabs’ business experts claim that emotional content can generate more referral traffic, and it promotes brand memorability.
Unlike plain logic-based content, good stories possess the power to arouse your consumers’ emotions. They can evoke feelings of happiness, fear, sadness, anger, hope, appreciation, joy, attraction, and interest. They can help you generate a positive ROI if you intertwine them into your content professionally.
- Exciting stories make your content more attention-grabbing
Keeping your prospective clients to read your content from the start to end is a complicated ordeal. Many consumers bounce back when they find out that your content is dull, too salesy, and boring to read.
Experts from Forbes say that telling stories is the ideal way to engage your prospects since people have always loved good stories. Therefore, embedding your marketing information in an engaging story could keep your audience glued to your content since a good story commands your audience’s attention, and it calls them to action.
However, if you wish to grab your reader’s attention, you should write one that stirs curiosity, uses the language of your prospects, and presents your marketing information powerfully. Boring stories might not be worth your reader’s time.
Ideas to Help You Write Compelling Stories for Your Marketing Audience
While storytelling looks like an excellent way to elevate your content marketing game, writing a compelling story isn’t a walk in the park. HubSpot says that writing one needs ample time, effort, and regular practice. The process can be more challenging if you are not a talented storyteller, or if you are writing a story for the first time.
But, don’t give up if you are not a talented storyteller. The following ideas will help you get started, as well as hone your storytelling prowess.
- Choose a character for your story
According to Jeff Bullas, a renowned figure in the world’s content marketing industry says that people don’t enjoy reading through abstract content. They love reading stories that sound authentic and relatable.
So, how do you write such a story? Jeff recommends that you tell the story from your point of view or someone’s point of view. If you are narrating it from someone’s point of view, make sure that you name that person.
- Build your story on a scenario that touches on and solves your customers’ pain points
After identifying a character, tell your readers the problems that your character went through before finding the product or service you are looking to sell. Afterward, show how the product or service solved the character’s problem.
- Make it easy to follow
Many people bounce back once they find out that your story is hard to follow and boring to read. If you want them to read it from start to end, organize your ideas in a simple logical way, and use the appropriate language for your audience. Hard to follow stories don’t convert.
- Spice up your story with data
Just like any piece of marketing content, supporting your account with facts will make it more authentic and logically appealing. So, before you start writing it down, look around for statistics and other pieces of data that would make your story sound real and authentic.
- End your story with a Call to Action
Just like any story, your content marketing story should have a happy or sad ending.
However, since marketing stories are meant to market your products or services, you will want to wrap it up with a strong call to action. Such an ending will help your prospects to respond appropriately.
Having a clear CTA not only helps with your content engagement, but it also helps you do SEO like a pro since you will be able to track the soure of traffic and further optimize your content for better ROI.
Ideas to Help You Integrate Storytelling Into Your Content Marketing Plan
The following ideas will help you integrate storytelling into your content marketing plan:
- Understand your audience
Synthesio’s business experts say that audience analysis is an essential process in the development of a marketing plan. The process helps you target the right audience with the most appropriate content, and it gives you the data you need to develop a sustainable strategy.
So, before you start writing your story, take your ample time to understand your audience’s needs, pain points, demographic information, and any other pieces of information that would help you come up with the right story for your audience.
Use the insights to create a story that resonates with the target population in the right way. A story with the right content will keep your readers engaged, and it will convert a majority of them from first-time guests to loyal clientele.
- Define your goals
In a business setting, storytelling is not just about keeping your customers entertained. But, your marketers use it to cement their brand visibility, convert visitors to customers, build lasting relationships with clients, as well as increase their ranking in search engines.
So, before you pen down your story, identify the specific goals you wish to accomplish with your content marketing plan. If you want your content rank high in search engines, identify the right keywords that will help you develop and optimize your story.
If you aim at selling your product to your prospective audience, make sure that you include the benefits of that product in your story. You will need some creativity to create a story that entertains, informs, converts, and sells at the same time.
- Come up with an outline of your story
The story writing process can be frustrating without a proper framework. However, the process can be quick and straightforward if you have an outline to walk you through your story writing ordeal.
The outline will save you from leaving out essential ideas while writing and it helps you arrange your ideas logically.
It will act as a road map through the entire writing process.
- Write, edit, and refine your story
With a detailed outline, start writing your story. In the beginning, you might feel like you aren’t on the right track. But, seasoned content developers suggest that you just focus on making a draft that captures everything you wish to communicate. The draft doesn’t have to be precise.
Afterward, take your ample time to edit the draft. Eliminate pieces of content that don’t add value to your content, tweak the writing language to suit that of your target audience, and polish up everything till you get the refined story you have been dreaming of.
- Distribute your content
You can post the story on your newsletters, website, blog, email, as well as your favorite social media network. As an alternative, you can post your brand’s marketing story on paid media or shared media.
Nonetheless, experts from the Content Marketing Institute say that your captivating story cannot convert, sell, or generate a positive return of investment, if you post it on the wrong digital channels at the wrong time.
Thus, before you post the story on any digital platform, make sure that it aligns with the content personas on that platform, and it observes the digital platform’s rules of engagement. Moreover, you should make sure that your story’s language fits into the communication style of prospects that frequent the digital platform you choose.
For instance, if you are selling winter apparel to millennials, post your content a few months heading into winter. You would want to make use of social media platforms since many millennials are likely to visit social media, rather than read a sales email.
Final Thoughts on Boosting Your Content Strategy with Storytelling
Storytelling is a powerful tool in content marketing. Unlike plain logic content, stories make your content more attention-grabbing, and they give your customers a lasting brand memory. Moreover, stories deliver better conversion rates, generate more word of mouth referrals, and they make boring content fresh. Learn to improve your digital marketing skills by mastering storytelling with data and integrating storytelling to your content marketing campaign, and watch your business grow sustainably.
Forbes blog on storytelling https://www.forbes.com/sites/celinnedacosta/2019/01/31/3-reasons-why-brand-storytelling-is-the-future-of-marketing/#57fe902655ff
HubSpot blog on storytelling https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/storytelling
Content Marketing Institute on use of jargon language for content marketing https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/04/stop-jargon-pulling-plug-from-powerful-content/
WireBuzz benefits of storytelling https://www.wirebuzz.com/benefits-of-storytelling/
Forbes article on benefits of storytelling https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2015/11/30/4-benefits-of-using-storytelling-in-marketing/#60e0c24c4616
Jeff Bullas https://www.jeffbullas.com/viral-power-storytelling-content-marketing/
Synthesio blog on audience analysis https://www.synthesio.com/blog/benefits-of-audience-analysis/
Content Marketing Institute blog on content distribution https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2018/04/content-distribution-essentials/