Why Your Content Marketing Requires A Story

5 Actionable Storytelling Tips For Your Content Marketing

Storyteller You can have the most useful information in the world for your target market but if you don’t package it so your audience can understand, it’s useless. You literally have seconds to win your audience’s attention or they’re onto the next thing.

How do you make your content stand out and grab your audience’s attention? Tell a good story. It provides an emotional connection and context that draws your audience in and makes them remember it.

Recently, a colleague made a presentation on the mechanism for measuring and improving customer satisfaction. Instead of providing the more accessible, consumer-friendly background for word of mouth marketing and how to use it to improve the customer experience, he jumped straight into the nuts and bolts of his presentation losing a significant portion of his audience in the transition.

Why? They had no context in which to understand the facts he presented.

If he had started with a story, he would have positioned the topic in terms the audience could emotionally connect with. As a result, he could have turned a good presentation into a great presentation.

Like my colleague, most marketers would be more effective if they incorporate stories into their content to make them memorable and actionable. Here are 5 actionable storytelling tips to make your content come alive for your audience.

  1. Understand the basic story archetypes. Dating back to myths and the Bible, the goal is to leverage these universal storytelling forms. Christopher Booker outlines the 7 main story archetypes in his book, The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories (Amazon link). They are:
     
    • Overcoming the monster
    • Rags to riches
    • The quest
    • Voyage and return
    • Comedy
    • Tragedy
    • Rebirth

    Understand that Booker is referring to classic stories such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Homer’s The Odyssey.

  2. Create a strong protagonist with whom your audience can identify. This means consider your audience and what’s relevant to them, not to your boss. Your central character doesn’t have to be larger than life but rather someone who your audience can relate to. It can be Harry Potter or the AFLAC duck.
  3. Incorporate the basics every journalist uses: who, what, when, where and why, This information adds credibility to your story.
  4. Add a moral arc. Your story must contain and reaffirm a lesson your audience already knows. Think of Aesop’s classic fables with moral at the end.
  5. Use rich details to make the story real. The more specific you are, the more universal your story becomes. Make your stories visual for your audience.

Start with a short example that makes your point tangible to your audience. Think basic story: beginning, middle and end. The beauty of this approach is that you give your reader something they can relate to and remember. This provides a useful context for the more complex information you want to share.

Once you’re finished developing your content, review it in its entirety to ensure it provides a consistent story that makes sense and is memorable for your audience.

What has your experience been incorporating stories in your content and what were the results.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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Return on Authenticity:
Making Effective Storytelling and Content Performance Align

Return on Authenticity: Making Effective Storytelling and Content Performance AlignJoin the discussion on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM PT/ 1:00 PM ET with Nancy Slavin, SVP of Marketing, Macy's Merchandising Group, and Dan Kimball, CMO, Thismoment.

According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.

Today's digital currency is arguably authenticity, and what attracts customers - especially the digitally dependent, savvy millennial - is not just content. It is the delivery of authentic, unvarnished content from their peers.

Join the CMO Council on Wednesday, October 29, at 10am PST/ 1pm EST for a one-hour webcast that will invite industry experts in content marketing and user-generated content who are effectively leveraging authentic storytelling as part of their content marketing strategies. We will also feature an interactive Q&A session at the conclusion of the speaker presentations.

Register for this Free Webcast today!


 

 

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  • checkfloor

    thanks for story telling tips for blogs

    http://www.checkfloor.com

  • Hoot Marketing

    Great blog and good tips thanx. Surprised you didn’t start with more of a story though.