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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.