Storytelling in Content Marketing: Effective Methods to Infuse Color, Meaning, and Life to your Marketing

Do you know how powerful stories are?

Have you ever imagined how boring life would be if you did not have stories to share?

Each one of us has stories to tell. It is something that we all experience. Some are good, and some are bad.

Some of the stories you know are taken from the adventure books you read if you can not sleep at night.

We can’t forget the bedtime fairy tales that your parents usually read to you or the movie you watched.

These stories will add life, deeper meaning, and color to our communication.

Now, imagine what storytelling can do to your dull and lifeless content marketing campaign.

Storytelling in marketing can attract an audience like moths to a blazing streetlight.

In this post, I will share with you how storytelling magnetizes your readers and helps you succeed.

But before that, you have to check out these stats first:

An average Gen-Z attention span is 8 seconds. So if they find your content boring after reading the first few lines, you will lose them.

You might be asking, why does this stat matter?

It’s because more than 70% of Gen-Z say they can influence their family’s purchasing decisions on food, drinks, furniture, etc.

It means your product will not get the attention it needs if you cannot convince Gen-Z. The group makes up 25.9% of the U.S. population and comprises 40% of the total consumer markets.

I am mentioning these stats because these numbers have a significant impact on the success of your marketing campaign. Obviously, you cannot ignore these numbers. However, you should not just focus on Gen Z.

Due to the pandemic, many people rely mainly on the internet, which significantly changed how brands tell their stories. Gen Z can be a juicy target, but they are not easy to deal with.

And the best way to attract the majority of the consumers is by incorporating storytelling in your content marketing.

Storytelling in Content Marketing Methods

It is easy to understand why storytelling is a hot topic for marketers. People get easily hooked up on good stories. Furthermore, it matters that people can easily remember stories.

Why?

The human brain’s desire and capacity to identify patterns is one of its most notable characteristics. Because stories follow a predictable beginning, middle, and conclusion pattern, they are captivating and powerful.

It’s a pattern that our brains are hardwired to recognize and grasp onto. In such practices, we’ll most likely recall the messages. Since stories are patterns, our brains are trained to accept and retain them. Thus, they are highly effective communication vessels.

The Golden Circle

Golden Circle

According to Simon Sinek, successful personalities like Steve Jobs, the Wright Brothers, and Martin Luther King Jr. used The Golden Circle model to motivate their followers by inspiring them rather than manipulating them.

Sinek believed that people don’t buy what you do. Instead, they buy why you do it.

Do you know why many businesses failed even if they applied the Golden Circle model?

It’s because they are starting with “What,” then they make their way back to deal with “How” and “Why.”

Why denotes the reasons for doing what you are doing.

How signifies the various ways it can help their audience.

What indicates the product or service you can offer.

When making a story following the Golden Circle, you should communicate in an inside-out type of thinking. Start with the “WHY” and then move your way out to “HOW” and “WHAT.”

Why should you follow this pattern?

It has something to do with the parts of the brain. The “What” question makes use of the analytic part of the brain. While the “Why” and “How” communicate with feelings and deal with human behavior.

Some of you may agree with me that people buy things based on emotions and justify them logically. So by getting into your follower’s emotions and feelings, you can build trust, inform your followers, build connections, and begin conversations.

Incorporate Emotions

Incorporate Emotions

According to the graph below, campaigns with purely emotional content performed roughly twice (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content. However, those with purely emotional content performed slightly better (31% vs. 26%) than those with rational and emotional content.

Campaign Effectiveness

Source: Neurosciencemarketing.com

Adding emotional details to your content is one of the simplest techniques to execute storytelling in content marketing. If you write with emotion, your audience will be more likely to connect with it on a profound level.

Storytelling, in whatever form, should be powerful and emotional. Emotion can take many forms, ranging from laughter and happiness to sadness and grief.

If you don’t use emotions to bring your story to life, your message will sound like every other sales pitch you’ve ever heard.

When a story is both personable and relatable, it fosters brand loyalty and strengthens the bond between the brand and its customers. In addition, emotion draws in new customers.

In addition, consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by emotion, and without it, businesses have a lower chance of closing the deal. Therefore, marketers who combine emotion with customer needs will be successful.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent rapid rise in digitalization across all industry sectors, the way brands tell their stories must evolve to keep up with the times and meet the newly discovered needs of consumers and channels.

In today’s multichannel world, people’s attention spans are becoming shorter, and the best way to elicit emotion effectively is through video content.

Why?

It’s because videos are more engaging, and thus they will continue to play a vital role in marketing, not just this year but also in the future.

Their simplicity makes them easy to understand, digest, or share. Additionally, they tend to foster a stronger bond between a company and its customers, increasing brand affinity.

Check out New York Presbyterian Hospital‘s social media post and video. Instead of enumerating their services and what they can offer, they presented simple patient stories that captivated the hearts of their audience.

Tell True and Real Stories

Tell True Stories

Making up stories to create your content viral is not a good idea. Instead of attracting and getting the trust of your consumers, you will lose them in the end. One of the best examples is what Samsung did when they introduced the S21 series.

Part of their marketing campaign was to show the high-resolution image you could click from the smartphone camera. They made up stories about the type of photos their units are capable of taking. Photos were posted, and they claimed that they were taken using one of their phone models. But, experts think that these photos were fake. 

Source: mspoweruser.com

Because of this, people now doubt the quality of products Samsung produces.

So, never make up stories!

The stories you want to share are already there. You just need to find them. Below are questions you can use in figuring out your story angle:

  • How did the company start?
  • What problems did the business encounter, and how did the company solve them?
  • What is the company’s background?
  • Who is your story’s hero?
  • Who are the key characters of your story?

National Geographic content marketing storytelling is a good example. Do you know why?

They are famous for their photos. But what makes them ahead of others is the way they tell the stories in their captions.

In every photo, they show the subject is the main character.

National Geographic

Source: National Geographic

In the above photo, we learned that the Montana Glacier National Park and the Waterton Lakes National Park were recognized in 1932 as the first International Peace Park.

For National Geographic, the stories they tell are about the people, places, and animals they photographed. The brand slips into the background to let the subjects come through.

Telling true, unique stories about your audience and customers makes your storytelling content marketing engaging.

Can You Use Storytelling Technique Only On Interesting Products or Services?

No, you don’t need to have a conventionally exciting product to use storytelling in your content marketing. Unfortunately, that is a widespread fallacy that prevents marketers from experimenting with storytelling in their marketing communications.

You just need to correctly write a story about how using your products or services can potentially improve users’ lives.

The business nature or the product category is not relevant – the same way whether you can elicit a positive result from your followers. The whole thing depends on how you tie together the three vital elements of a story – the protagonist, the problem, and the solution with your content marketing storytelling and product features to win over customers.

Stories are compelling not just because the brain can remember it easily than statistics or information. Research also found that storytelling can release oxytocin, affecting how consumers behave, act, and decide on your products or services.

The research about how the brain’s auditory cortex responds when we listen to a story also states that stories are easier to remember. Storytelling can trigger brain activity for days.

Always keep in mind, in content marketing storytelling, one should be very careful in crafting it. Avoid complex words, jargon, and it should be authentic.

Seven Content Planning Tools to Boost Content Campaigns

“Content is King.”

This is a commonly-used phrase in the world of content marketing, which is still relevant today. But, the world of content is very saturated, and it is essential to opt for effective content marketing strategies to keep your business moving forward.

In a survey, 86% of organizations said content marketing helped them reach their brand awareness goals.

The need for effective content campaigns cannot be undermined, as it is essential to leave a lasting impression on readers. Robust content planning and marketing can grow your brand, increase your presence, and boost the results.

However, content planning is not just about creating and publishing content. Instead, it is a strategic process that involves researching, creating content as per the target audience, marketing it, and measuring the progress.

In this article, we’ve presented the seven most effective content planning tools to make your content campaign a success!

1. BuzzSumo for content ideas

BuzzSumo is an effective planning tool that generates noticeable results. It shows you the top-performing content for any particular keyword. It gives you an idea of what is most liked by the audience by reflecting upon the number of shares. This lets you prepare similar or even better content.

Moreover, it shows you the influencers you can reach out to promote your content, get more views, and convert more leads.

The best part- it is easy to use, and it hardly takes a few minutes to get content ideas on which you can work and excel.

2. Ahrefs for keywords and competitor analysis

Knowing the trends and popular topics will enable you to create valuable content. But it cannot guarantee you success. Why? Because you must have an audience to be inspired by it. This is where SEO comes in. If your article is well-optimized around the keyword, you can drive massive traffic to it.

Moreover, analyzing the competitor’s keywords and overall performance can help your content get a boost! This is where Ahrefs is a win-win! 

By subscribing to Ahrefs, you get access to its seven tools: Site Explorer, Positions Explorer, Content Explorer, Position Tracker, Crawl Report, and Ahrefs Alert.

Using this content planner can help you generate content ideas by understanding what people look for while searching any particular topic. The tool also makes it easier for you to build backlinks by getting data of competitors’ backlinks.

3. Grammarly to avoid grammatical errors

Next on the list of content planning tools is Grammarly

No matter how strategically you move and how informative content you produce, it cannot look credible with silly grammatical mistakes. That’s when Grammarly saves the day.

It notifies you of all your grammatical and spelling mistakes even in its free version. In its premium version, you get suggestions related to sentence structure, plagiarism, and much more. Moreover, you can filter it based on your target audience to make the content more suitable.

Overall, Grammarly is a great proofreader for your content that can save you from being trolled.

So, say bye-bye to any more grammatical errors!

Pro tip: You can use ‘Hemingway editor’ to make your content more  straightforward and more understandable. However, don’t make your content lifeless by accepting all the changes.

4. Canva for graphics

Great content is not just about great words. Your content is incomplete without infographics, posters, and other visual content. 

Although Photoshop and similar software programs can help you create great graphics, it’s not everyone’s game. Moreover, it may not be friendly as well as budget-friendly for most people.

As one of the great content planning tools, Canva lets you create and share graphics within minutes. So, how it does that?

It comes with many free pre-built templates and layouts, and it takes no time to drag and drop content. You can also use Canva to generate posts for different social media platforms as it gives you customized templates as per the ideal size.

You can get the Pro version for more appealing elements and templates.

These eye-catching visuals can genuinely leave a great impression on your readers.

5. HootSuite for social sharing

Sharing content on social media is as important as making it SEO-friendly. However, posting content on different social media sites at peak hours can be challenging to manage. HootSuite is one of the most popular post-scheduling applications that make this task much easier for you. 

Using HootSuite, you can connect with 35 social media platforms and perform different tasks from your dashboard like saving posts in drafts, scheduling them, and complying with your social media calendar.

Another great advantage is that you don’t need to look out for any other tool to correct your grammatical errors, as it has an in-built grammar checker.

6. Google Analytics for tracking

Once your content is posted online, your content planning does not end here. It goes beyond that as you need to understand its progress and analyze the success of the content campaign.

Google Analytics gives you great insights about your content by showing the bounce rate, average reading time, clicks, views, visitors, and much more. 

But how does that help? It makes your further content planning easier and effective. 

At what price? FREE!

Google does not charge you anything for it, and these statistics can genuinely enhance your website’s performance and presence online.

7. Mailchimp for email marketing

No matter how important SEO and social media promotion are today, email marketing is a game-changer. It is known to be one of the most effective ways of marketing content online. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media.

Mailchimp makes it easier for you by sending out customized emails, engaging the audience, converting leads, and measuring progress.

You can capture the emails of your first-time audience by providing them with free eBooks, webinars, and other lucrative guides. 

Isn’t that amazing? 

Conclusion

So, give a new direction to your journey with these seven fantastic content planning tools and see the magic happening. You will not just witness more reader engagement but also lead conversions and overall growth.

Six Ways to Generate Catchy Headlines for Your Next Blog

You spend a lot of time writing quality content, and it is the title that is side-lined every time. Of course, it is vital to make your blog informative and provide value to the reader.

But do you know that title plays the foremost role in deciding whether people will click through and read the rest? As per Copyblogger, 80% of your visitors will read your headline – but only 20% will go on to finish the article.

So, it is definitely worth investing some time generating catchy headlines for your blog that are difficult to resist clicking.

Here are a few ways to generate catchy headlines and strengthen your title-writing game for your next blog:

1. Learn headline formulas

There are some basic headline formulas that interest, engage and compel the readers to read a blog. 

Here’s an ultimate formula to generate a blog headline that really attracts: 

Numbers + Adjective + Target Keyword + Rationale + Promise

Example: 11 Free Social Media Tools You Must Use Today To Increase Your Followers

Apart from this formula, there are several ways to create a catchy headline:

  • Starting the headline with a number or making it a listicle.
    • Example: Six ways to generate a catchy headline
  • Promising something big can attract more readers
    • Example: 52 tools every content writer must use
  • ‘How To’ headlines are simple but work well for the audience trying to find how any particular thing can be done.
    • Example: How to learn driving a car without owning it
  • Reflecting urgency can drive reader’s attention, and they cannot let that go off.
    • Example: Six most luxurious deals you must not miss today. 
  • Questioning something to the readers can compel them to read and answer.
    • Example: Do you know how to switch from a night owl to an early bird?
  • Adding a negative element in the post can make people anxious to read.
    • Example: 7 Freelancing mistakes you must never do or be ready to lose a client
  • Surprising the audience can arouse their interest in giving it a read.
    • Example: This is how I make $10,000 a month by freelancing
  • Adding specific details in the post can drive the attention of people looking for particular results.
    • Example: Five-step guide to generate 2x more profit from your online business.

Moreover, many websites help you generate catchy headlines using effective formulas. Some of these are: Inbound nowImpact Blog Title Generator, and SEOPressor blog title.

2. Use Keyword Research

To reach an unlimited reader-base, implementing SEO is a must. Keyword research is an integral part of SEO. It also lets you understand what the audience is looking for. 

Adding the target keyword in the research is essential to let Google know what your content is about, rank higher on the search engine, and generate more clicks.

3. Pay Attention to Headlines

Whenever you click any title to read the post, take a moment to think about what is that X factor in it that drives you towards the content.

You will realize that it is some basic tweaking of words and not really rocket science that generates interest and engagement.

You can also check out Buzzsumo. It is popularly known to generate massive engagement through its headlines.  

By analyzing headlines, your creative and headline-generating skills will improvise naturally, thereby helping you generate more catchy headlines.

4. Do Not Use Clickbait

Some sites generate traffic by using clickbaits or titles that promise to deliver something big but do not.

Examples: Lose 20 Kgs in 1 month, 50 Ways to grow your blog (but actually mention only 35.)

By generating such headlines, you can allure your readers to click through once or twice but not always. They will not return to you if you break their trust by not providing them with what you promise.

So, make sure that your blog’s content matches the title and you deliver what you promise.

5. Keep It Short

You cannot set a fixed number of characters for all your headlines because it depends on the topic, what you are aiming at and what you are delivering. However, it is crucial to keep it short and concise to make it ideal for SEO.

Ideally, the headline should be 50-60 characters, and it should not exceed 70 characters.

If it exceeds the limit, it gets cut off in the search engine results and does not make sense.

However, it can be somewhere between 8-12 words for sharing on Twitter and 12-14 words for Facebook posts as these received the most number of likes.

6. Write Blog Headlines for YOUR audience

Indeed, many successful headline formulas have been effective in generating clicks. But, not everything works for everyone. Therefore, it is essential to understand what YOUR audience prefers and how you get a better response.

Initially, you can use these formulas in your blogs to attract an audience, but sooner or later, you need to see what is working better and use that.

To understand what is working well, you can do A/B Testing in which you send two different headlines to the audience to see which one derived more clicks and better results.

Similarly, you can look out for statistics and analytics to understand what worked well and why.

Conclusion

Remember that writing THE PERFECT headline comes with practice as no set headline formula works in every case and for everyone. Even professional copywriters discard numerous headlines before coming up with a perfect one. You must devote the required time and patience to get that winning one. The above-stated tips would make the task easier for you to generate a catchy headline for your next blog.

Content Editing Tools: Making Life Easy, Or The Content Lifeless?

When you ask writers about the tools they commonly use, Hemingway and Grammarly take the top-most positions.

Why?

Well, they make lives easy.

But, even if the writers do not want to, they need to use them in most cases. There is no escape.

And, guess what? While making the lives of the writers easy, they make their content lifeless.

Before we talk about how these tools make content lifeless, let us see why they are used by writing professionals and the corporate world.

Why are content editing tools used?

Content editing tools like Hemingway and Grammarly are useful as they give you suggestions to rephrase/add/remove/replace words to make them grammatically correct and “easy to read.”

Grammarly particularly focuses on making the text grammatically correct and in the right tone.

Hemingway Editor aims at simplifying the text to the extent that even children can understand it easily. It does so by highlighting the areas that need your attention.

For newbie writers and those with not-so-good command over language, these tools might help improve the sentences structures and make the content more presentable. 

Running the content through the editing tools before finalizing/publishing might help by highlighting some mistakes and offering suggestions that might save one from obvious mistakes.

But then, why are these tools not so cool?

Although made to make writers’ lives easy, the editing tools actually make their content lifeless. 

But how? 

Let us have a look below:

1. No creativity, only simplicity

The structure and style of content have become uniform for most content online. The editing software suggests changes in words that remove the creative side of it.

For example, Hemingway suggests removing words that are not directly related to the content. 

If a writer does so, the content does not offer a new perspective but instead serves information that is provided elsewhere. 

So, simplification is not the only thing that makes content shine.

2. No personal voice of the writers

If you read books, you might have some favorite authors, which makes you read more books. 

How?

They have their own voice that you resonate with. 

But, in digital times, due to online tools and algorithms for ranking, that unique voice has faded away. 

It is like putting on a colorful t-shirt with bleach and take it out bland.

3. Sometimes they are also wrong.

If you are a user of Grammarly, you might already know how it sucks at times by suggesting some incorrect words, and after you change those, it shows that as incorrect again and gives more suggestions. 

For instance, on typing “you’re,” it suggests “your” even when there is no possession. Changing it to “your” leads to another suggestion, i.e., “you are,” which actually is correct based on the context.

It seems like a hit-and-trial method, isn’t it?

And, these tools are mostly against using passive voice, but they must realize there are no better alternatives at some point.

4. Machines are machines!

No matter where the technology is taking people, AI cannot be as real as humans. 

Humans write with emotions, experiences, and their personal touch. But machines simply cannot!

Humans can tell stories; machines cannot!

By suggesting to remove certain words like “really” and “actually” and “own,” these tools take away those emotions that connect the writer with the readers.

Using these editing tools might make your content clear, but along with that, it would also make it clean. So clean that your own voice and style of writing would vanish away. 

It is high time we start acknowledging the distinct voices and styles of writers and stop expecting them to incorporate all the suggestions that editing tools highlight. 

So how should you edit your content?

Editing content should include fact-checking, checking for grammatical errors by proofreading, and asking a WHY to yourself after every sentence to ensure it has some logic.

You can read out the content loud to make sure it sounds right and conversational.

For the formatting, you should consider the platform where it will be published, the audience who would read it, and the brand pattern.

Should you never use editing tools?

Irrespective of the fact that these tools take away your unique voice, they simply help the content for the general audience.

Thus, completely eliminating the use of this software might not be a wise decision. 

You can run your content through these tools before finalizing to reconsider the highlighted parts. 

Remember, RECONSIDER and not mandatorily change. Because the suggestions they show might act as constructive criticisms and not MISTAKES. 

Whether you should accept those and modify them or not depends upon how you want to convey something.

If you feel like the sentence reflects your unique voice or personality or gives it a personal touch, it is fine to keep it and not be bothered about the suggestion.

But if it doesn’t, it is better to adhere to the suggestion to make the content clearer to the readers.

Final Words

Mandatory proofreading and optimization, incorporating every single suggestion offered by the content editing tools, just do not let the writers be writers. Yet, writers usually depend upon these tools because of the fear of making mistakes or being rejected. 

So, the next time when someone asks you to “improve” your writing style by incorporating every suggestion that these tools provide, you are a human and not a machine. 

You have your voice- your unique voice for a reason. You should use it to make the most out of it.

No matter how well you do, everyone may not appreciate your writings or understand them well. But you don’t have to please EVERYONE

So, focus on connecting well with those who acknowledge your distinctness and wish to know more of you through your writings.

Seven Reasons Why Your Business Should Hire a Copywriter

Have you ever wondered why your visitors are not converting into customers?

What’s the reason behind your website’s higher bounce rate?

That’s perhaps because the content on your website doesn’t serve its purpose.

You might be wondering if you should outsource your content to a content writer when you can write it on your own.

As per Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing. Yet, it generates approximately three times more leads.

A copywriter can help your business in numerous ways. To start with, a copywriter isn’t just a person who writes a copy. The tasks of a copywriter include researching, keyword planning, and urging, to mention a few.

When you reach the end of this article, you’ll rush on to connect with a copywriter. You’ll also realize how important it is to have one.

So, let’s dig a little deeper into it to find out why you should hire a copywriter today.

They know how to persuade people

Anybody can write content, but not everybody can write it well. Copywriters master the art of persuasion. They know how to excite readers, arouse their interests, and connect with them. They also know how to get people glued to your site.

And why is that important? 

It is your content that leaves a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of people. By providing valuable content to your readers, you can build their trust and loyalty towards your brand.

They know how to convert

Analysts

Let us accept it! Every business aims at maximizing its turnover by generating more leads! 

And this is what a copywriter knows how to conquer. Throughout their content, they subtly tell the readers to take action. This is achieved by connecting with them personally and making them feel that they need this. 

It’s the placement of words in a sentence that can decide whether it’ll convert or cost you. 

Initially, getting a strategic copywriter may seem to you like an expense. But as it’ll progress, you’ll know that it’s an investment and the return would be worth it. Even Marcus Sheridan, a content marketing legend, said that great content is the best sales tool in the world.

All of this can result in increasing the company’s turnover and the profit in the process. Now you know whether you should save those bucks or invest in a copywriter. 

But wait! There’s more to it.

They can increase your organic reach

It is the goal of every entrepreneur to build a strong network of clients. For this, the content must have an organic reach, without which the scope is limited. There’s no reason to write if nobody reads the content.

The right copywriter knows how Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) works and uses its many techniques to uplift the ranking of the content. Rankings on search engines like Google ultimately drive a lot of traffic to the site. Ultimately, that means more clients!

As per Think with Google, around 60% of smartphone users have used the “click to call” option to contact a business using the search results.

This is a significant number! But how does a website rank among its competitors? By using SEO!

They can leverage copy for multiple channels

If you believe you can share the same piece of content across all your social platforms, you aren’t going to see the true potential of the content. Every medium has a different audience base. Hence, the consumption patterns and expectations of the users vary. Something may do well on LinkedIn but may flop on Instagram. Similarly, a post on Twitter may be a masterpiece, but it may not do well on Facebook. 

Multibrain highlighted how one should customize the content based on the platform, to be highly effective.

Experienced copywriters understand the psychology of people using different platforms and target audiences accordingly to leverage content for different channels effectively.

They don't make grammatical or spelling errors

Copywriters are professionals who write hundreds of copies a month. They have a good command of the language and don’t usually make grammatical or spelling errors. On the contrary, a non-professional writer can make silly mistakes and typos that spoil a copy. Nobody wants to read something unclear or difficult to interpret. Moreover, the brand can lose its credibility because of such mistakes.

According to research conducted by a London-based digital communications agency, 42.5 percent of people were most influenced by spelling or grammatical blunders.

They are outsiders

You are too close to your business. So probably how you see it and what you think about it won’t be the same as how others (mainly the potential clients) look at it. It is essential to put yourself in their shoes to persuade them. 

A copywriter being an outsider can give you a fresh perspective. They are better positioned to write what your potential clients want to read and stay connected to your business and even products or services. 

Therefore, they can give you a third-party perspective, which is much needed!

They leave you with more time for core activities

You hire a CA to manage your accounts, an electrician to look after the technical things, and a sweeper to clean your office. 

Why?

Because they are professionals in their respective fields and you cannot afford to devote months or years to learn that skill because you have other core activities to look after. 

In research conducted by SEMrush, it was found that 72% of respondents believed outsourcing content work freed up their time for strategic tasks.

As an entrepreneur, managing a business should be your main task, and hiring a copywriter can leave you with more time to focus on that.

Conclusion

So, these were some of the many reasons why hiring a copywriter is a must today! I’m sure you aren’t going to give it a second thought and invest in a professional copywriter right away!