Any successful modern marketing strategy should contain a robust approach to content marketing. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to bring your brand to life and empower your content strategy. It humanises your brand, makes you relatable and authentic – all crucial elements in creating connections with consumers.
Brand stories, or brand journeys, are all about the experience. Providing something that resonates with your audience is far more effective and progressive than your standard advertising. Emotional branding is what drives the modern consumer to develop brand loyalty.
The foundation of storytelling
Humans are captivated by stories; they celebrate our culture, give us hope, inspire us and teach us. Therefore, your stories must be engaging and offer something to the audience. When creating your brand story, you must find your voice and explain who you are and why that matters.
The foundation of storytelling is understanding that stories aren’t always works of fiction. Storytelling is about emotions and experiences – that is what you add to the brand narrative; that is how you add value to the message you want to deliver. You evoke emotion in your customers with the stories you tell about your business and your company journey.
What stories to tell
Deciding what stories to tell can seem difficult, but ultimately it can be anything as long as you make it personal. Think back to how your company/brand was born, where your inspiration came from and what you hoped to achieve. This is your story.
Your customers are the main characters in the story and your business is the supporting act – the trusty sidekick always on hand with the solution to the problem of how to save the day.
For example, say you donate some equipment to a local school; the story focus should be on why the equipment is needed and who benefits from it. Hone in on two relatable, compelling characters who benefit directly from the donation and concentrate on highlighting the difference it will make to their lives but get the testimonial/praise line from someone outside of the company.
Where to tell your story
A story can be told anywhere from blogs to TV to social media. Each platform will have a certain type of audience so tailor your story to work the audience you are targeting. Knowing which story to tell on which platform is crucial to getting the most out of your interactions.
Great storytelling includes listening to your audience properly to ascertain their feelings. With this understanding of their hopes, fears, and beliefs you can redraft your story to better connect with your audience. It is important to keep listening as the story develops to gauge their reaction and thus grow your brand and evolve.
The fourth act
The rules of storytelling haven’t changed much since the dawn of time; emotion, authenticity, reliability and connections, that’s what storytelling is all about. Like all stories, the best brand stories are made up of three acts: the set-up, the conflict and the resolution. However, business stories have a fourth act – the call to action.
Without a call to action a business story is rather useless. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to inspire and encourage people to buy a product, use a service or visit a store. The call to action is the most crucial part of the storytelling process. Only with a great call to action is anything done.
Give your audience a reason to move beyond the story and off to wherever you want them to be. Whether that’s signing up to an email or committing to buying something. Storytelling may seem old-fashioned, but it’s the most contemporary form of marketing and inspires people where data and plain information fails to. It’s also one of the easiest, cheapest forms of marketing. What’s not to like?