Do you want to know what content marketing really is?
It's easy, content marketing is all about storytelling? By the end of today’s article, you should know exactly the connection between storytelling and the skills to become one so that you can help brands, professionals, and businesses just like I do to help them generate growth, build strong audience relationships and generate leads which in turn increase their sales and profitability
Humans need an emotion to trigger actions. Having a positive emotion in content can stimulate the person much more than logic or numbers do. If you have seen children, they adore stories simply because they can relate to it. Just like that we adults can resonate with stories as sometimes we see ourselves as the character struggling or travelling on a fantastic journey to magical places. They bring forth visuals in your mind and fond memories of your life.
The Power of Content Marketing Through Storytelling
When a brand uses stories, it really gets closer to its audience and gets rid of all the objections and blockages. Of course, the stories must be real when it comes to branding.
“Content marketing is the gap between what brands produce and what consumers actually want.” — Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group
Millennials and Teenagers for example love fantasy and adventure movies like Lord of the Rings, magic, and wizards such as Harry Potter, and people such as Superman and Wonder Woman with superpowers and special abilities. Recently Series have taken over from main screen cinema to home theatres with extraordinary stories and characters.
Tell me a brand or a business out there that doesn’t want to share their stories to their audience and build strong relationships with them. Tell me someone that doesn’t want to grow and scale? Who doesn’t want leads?
Everyone wants all these things and Content Marketing involves a lot of storytelling. Not all Content Marketers are storytellers, and it takes years and years of training and practice to become a storyteller, but every content marketer is creative. A significant advantage to content marketers is the fact that they have a natural ability to learn storytelling skills. All they need to do is build those skills to be able to craft engaging stories especially in a business and brand context.
There is one thing that I see a lot is Marketing simply used as a means to sell. Marketing is not selling. People are tired of being sold to. A typical person gets around 10,000 ads every day if you combine all the social and online channels he / she is in. They do not want another ad or sale landing in their inbox. As soon as they see a brand they have formed an impression that 90% of brands only try to sell you by talking only about their products and spamming for the subscribers and sending spam ads all over.
Stop selling honestly. Great marketing shouldn't feel like selling and marketing is not selling. It is a part of the selling funnel and that's it. As a marketer, you are talking to humans, don't forget that. Just because you are online it doesn't mean you automatically treat people like bots or robots or AI. Humans are still humans whether online on social media or offline. You are a human so learn to communicate and treat everyone as humans.
"Many companies have forgotten they sell to actual people. Humans care about the entire experience, not just the marketing or sales or service. To really win in the modern age, you must solve for humans." - Dharmesh Shah, CTO & Co-Founder, Hubspot
Content marketers can be excellent copywriters, and most are as they write every single day of their life for diverse types and formats of content. Long blogs and articles cannot be considered as stories just because of their length and many creatives mistake this as the ability to story tell but this is simply not true and not the same.
There are certain people such as Journalists who are ideal storytellers and can be excellent Content marketers because it's their job to collect stories, interview individuals and write impeccably for magazines, newspapers, and other publications. The way journalists write articles is unique. In fact, they are taught when gathering information based on the 5 w's – who, what, when, where and why. When you answer all these elements in an article or news story the emotional effect and impact on the audience is tremendous.
If you look at top brands, they usually hire professionals such as journalists for their content marketing simply because it's that much easier and economically viable for them. Some brands do amazing because they have understood the concept of storytelling far better than others.
Their marketing teams of brands are usually exceptional in connecting with the target audience and attracting their attention. A few examples are Apple, Microsoft, Google, Coca Cola, Red Bull, and I can go on and on with the list. All these brands have managed to identify their unique stories whether it's from a garage or from its corporate side. People don't buy goods or services, they buy trust, value, emotions, experience and something to connect with.
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relationships, stories and magic.” Seth Godin, Content Marketing Guru
Now that I have explained Content Marketing and its Connection with storytelling, it's time for me to tell you what the essential elements are that go into storytelling along with some tips that are necessary for effective storytelling.
TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE STORYTELLING
1. Define Your Core Message
If you don't have a core message your story's going to sound useless and boring. There must be a point to your story. You can't just tell a story because you want more sales and more conversions or more people to follow there's no point. People need to know why they should continue to pay attention to the story
2. Decide What Kind of Story You're Going to Tell
One version of storytelling is to get other people to act and do something positive. If you tell a story that motivates people you can get them to act. Another way of storytelling is to tell people about yourself. you can have a story about yourself with difficulties and successes you went through. It could be motivational. This can help inspire other people to resonate on your story and follow your personal brand, follow you over the social channels.
Personal storytelling is extraordinary. When people get to know you, they relate more, they're more likely to follow you, and your personal brand is more likely to grow.
Conveying value is another way of telling a story that gets people to join you. What I mean by that is if other people believe in the same values as you do, they're more likely to relate with you and follow you as well. This not only helps generate sales for your company but also helps with your personal brand.
The philosophy behind storytelling is that people typically tell stories to educate and pass knowledge on. They’re more likely to retain that knowledge and be able to execute on it in the future. It connects with them visually in their mind which is why audio is so good and why children are glued to stories.
3. You Need to Establish Your Call to Action If You Tell a Story
So, you got people hooked and they're all talking about you, they’re supporting your personal brand and your business. But if they don't know what to do next, you're not really going to see any sales or conversions. you need to tell them to do things like, check out your company, follow you on the social media channels, join your email list whatever. it doesn't have to be a major commitment. it doesn't have to be where they have something to buy right away. It could just be as simple as joining your list so that you can tell them more stories, build more of a connection with them, build more of a relationship and then eventually convert them into customers.
My recent video on Content Marketing & Storytelling if you want to listen.
Now before I end this article because you have all the steps. I want to give you 3 quick bonus tips. I've been storytelling for a long time, and I found that when a story includes these 3 main things, it does much better.
1. You Need to Have Characters
This allows people to see themselves in the story and be part of it. without characters there will be a disconnect between you telling this story and the person listening on the other end. always have characters and make them relatable
2. You Need a Conflict
Without the conflict there's not going to have that hook that gets people in there waiting to figure out what's happening next. When we don't have conflict, and all is well and smooth the people are like okay cool this is boring. always have conflicts in a story
3. You Need Resolution
You have characters and the conflict, now you need the resolution to go with it. If you follow all the steps plus the bonus tips, you'll do well when it comes to storytelling. if you need help with your content marketing & strategy, if you want to grow, generate leads, connect with your audience.
If you enjoyed reading my article, I would love your feedback in the comments and suggestions on other topics that you want me to write on related to content marketing in detail as I have done with this article.
Novnish is a Content & Campaign Marketing Manager EMEA - helping companies and brands generate results with marketing activities. He is a passionate, cross-functional, creative and result driven marketing specialist with almost 8 years of marketing experience across product marketing, digital marketing, project management, content and campaigns. He believes that marketing activities should create value within the market and to the consumers using data, insights and innovative strategies.