You may not have realised it, but the way we converse with brands online has changed dramatically in recent years. Gone are the days of companies begging us to buy, and more and more brands are sharing the stories with us instead. There are many reasons as to why this is done, and this is why storytelling is an important element of any content marketing strategy.
Your Brand Can Relate to Customers
Many people have a favourite musician because of how they reached their goals. Others will relate to sports icons because of the efforts they make to ensure they’re in peak condition when it comes to sporting events. With this in mind, it can be worthwhile adding a personal touch to your blog entries to ensure that people are given a more immersive read. While a consumer may already like your product, adding some history as to how the company came about can give your fan base a more detailed overview of your brand, and it can hit home with those who have similar goals, and even convert some to become a brand ambassador.
If you’re unsure as to whether your brand’s journey carries any weight in relation to content, then why not consider some useful information instead? For example, you could offer a series of life hacks that can be achieved with your product or service. If you’re always looking to make your content both, immersive and informative, it’s likely that more people will find favour with your brand.
No Hard Sell
While there is a time and a place to offer a sales pitch, it does have to be in the right context. Those who simply post blogs linking to products and services will soon lose traction with their online audience, which can mean that they are forfeiting return readers as a result. However, adding a storytelling element to your content means that you can describe your services in many different contexts without it ever sounding like a hard sell, and this ethos can be employed in so many ways, regardless of the niche you are in. For example, if you have a site that deals with the selling of retro video games, you could offer a series of content surrounding this, such as ‘What was my first video game’ or ‘All about my first gaming experience’. This is what people like to read. Moreover, this approach ensures that your readers are furnished with benefits that your company offers, without it being shoved in their faces. As a result, you can expect a greater turnover when it comes to sales, as well as more attention around your brand.
Always Be Honest
One of the main reasons the Internet is so popular is because it offers those with something to say a platform to say it on. As such, companies trying to cover up any wrongdoing or error are often blacklisted by consumers. As such, honesty is always the best policy when creating content. If your brand made a series of mistakes initially, be sure to address these within your content. Sure, it may not have sat well with people initially, but people can also be very forgiving of brands who are quick to identify mistakes and instil a rectification in the first instance. Others will even relate to the brand as they have undoubtedly found themselves in the same position at some point and can relate to the troubles you may have had. A good example would be Moz, a software provider for online marketers that recently undergone tremendous job cuts (around 25% were laid off). Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz, has addressed this difficult time by being completely transparent with Moz’s audience and consumers. Must be painful, right?
Show Empathy Whenever Possible
As you will have probably already realised, there is very little value in offering your readers content that is not authentic, and the best way to ensure that your content always strikes the right chords is to show empathy whenever you can. This can be used alongside being honest with your posts, and understanding any issues that readers may have had in the past. For example, if you find that a large number of people are having some problem with your product, then why not offer some content that looks to rectify this and help consumers get the best from your product. Don’t get it wrong, acknowledging mistakes doesn’t make you a loser.
The Concept of Storytelling
In order to ensure that your content is deemed a success, you need to make sure that the right elements are used when it comes to storytelling, especially when it’s being used for content marketing.
As such, it can be worthwhile considering the following points when crafting your content.
1. Ensure It’s Relevant
Of course, not every piece of content will resonate with everyone, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look to offer content that’s relevant to your demographic as a whole.
2. Use a Strategic Approach
While crafting content that appeals to people’s desires and wants could be seen as manipulative, it’s actually something of a science. As long as you’re always honest with your audience, there’s certainly no harm in ensuring that your audience is emotionally-invested in you as much as possible.
3. Write to The Belief System of Your Audience
When marketing a product in any context, you need to ensure that your target audience is able to buy into what you’re selling. As such, a brand should look to craft their content from the viewpoint of the consumer. What kind of information are they looking for? What kind of content has been successful before? Taking such factors into account will ensure that your audience is always engaged.
Some may find that the crafting of a story can be a somewhat difficult task in the first instance, it’s worth remembering that this isn’t just a story, it’s your story. As such, you already have the source material to hand, you simply need to present it in a way that your audience can emphasise with. Looking at other blogs can give you a good idea of how other brands are communicating with their audience.
Keyword & topic research will also do wonders in giving you ideas of what your audience is looking for, and can help you craft your content accordingly.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.