Who doesn’t love a good story? We flock to anyone who can make us laugh, cry or think, whether it’s the barfly spinning a tall tale or a favorite teacher recounting his younger days. A good story also gives your content marketing a personal touch.
People tell stories for all sorts of reasons. Some want to entertain or connect, while others want to teach a lesson. These are the same things you want your content to do. Think back to the kinds of stories you enjoy hearing and incorporate them into your content marketing strategy. Here are a few examples.
Your Humble Beginnings
Superheroes aren’t the only ones with origin stories. Your business has gone through a series of ups and downs and twists and turns. It could have taken five years or 50, and it could have been a straight path or a rocky road. However it went, it brought you here, so share the story.
It doesn’t have to be excessively long; a few hundred words will suffice. Focus on the very beginning and the milestones. Start with the founders, where and when they started the business, and how they made it grow. From there, talk about new products, new owners and leaders, and any accolades picked up along the way. View this storytelling tactic as an opportunity to get people to care about your brand.
Customer Anecdotes or Case Studies
Social media is popular because people read about consumer experiences without the marketing filter. A 2013 study shows 90% of online consumers are influenced by customer reviews. Your most powerful story is your customer’s, so tell it as often as possible.
Encourage happy customers to give detailed accounts of their specific issues and how your products and services resolved them. Customers can provide written accounts or videos, but you might want to do some light editing to correct mistakes and make them more appealing. Happy customers can be turned into free brand ambassadors if given the chance.
How did pizza come to America? Who was the first marketer to use direct mail? How long does it take to build a skyscraper? People might search if the question crossed their minds, but you could tell the story on your site and save them the trouble.
The history of frosting might be interesting to a bakery’s customers. A photo history of awnings would appeal to buyers of signs and displays. A marketing agency could attract attention with a countdown of the most successful web campaigns. People like trivia, so they like sites that provide it. Make yours one of them.
Newsjacking and Events
Some of the best stories happen when we’re doing something outside our routine or caught up in an extraordinary event. If your business participates in events around town, the goings-on provide a perfect opportunity to tell a story and capture readers’ attention.
Give a recap of a public event you sponsor, or of a local or industry event you attend. Comment on a hot news story and its effect on your customers. Tying your business to the news of the day makes them more relevant to readers, which makes your solutions more valuable.
However, make sure to use this tactic, well, tactfully. Oreo took advantage of the power outage at the Super Bowl with their “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet. Oreo saw an opportunity and capitalized on it.
Make sure to discern which opportunities are appropriate to capitalize on. Adora Bull, a writer for Modern Women Digest, tried to take advantage of Paul Walker’s death by publishing a post titled Top Five Reasons Why I’m Glad Paul Walker Is Dead. Instead of increasing her following and thought leadership status in her industry, she received horrible backlash from readers.
Make Something Up
Fiction has always played a role in marketing, from Ronald McDonald and the Geico gecko to commercial actors playing happy families. Montgomery Ward once boosted its Christmas promotion with a book about a red-nosed reindeer. Real stories are important, but fictional content can be just as effective.
For the best results, connect the story to your customers. For instance, write about characters whose lives and needs mirror those of potential buyers. Also, choose the right tone for your business. A serious tone is appropriate for things like healthcare and investments, while a playful voice makes sense for clothing or entertainment.
Storytellers always attract a large following. Become one and you’ll see better results as a result of your content marketing strategies.