reposted from WriterAccess
We live in the information age, but its stories we crave.
When it comes to content marketing, a great story can move your audience in ways that even the highest quality information simply can’t. Successful stories allow customers to understand your brand and philosophy. They help buyers envision themselves meeting their needs and overcoming the obstacles blocking the path to their goals. And, if you’re lucky, content marketing services that concentrate on telling great stories can make doing business with you feel like an experience, not just a transaction. Before you know it, your customers will become your raging fans.
So, ready to use stories in your content marketing? Here are a few tips to get you started:
Tell the Truth—and Nothing But the Truth
Telling stories is smart marketing; telling lies is not. (Did you HEAR that political candidates?!)
Every story you share with your prospects must be unequivocally true. Of course, you have legal and ethical reasons for being truthful, but you face important business considerations as well. As human beings, we allow stories to bypass our logical defenses and touch our emotional core. If you get caught abusing that privilege, your customers abandon you in droves.
Know Your Audience
Make sure you understand your market. Ask yourself, “Who are my customers and what causes them pain? How can I meet their needs?” While you must commit to speaking the truth, you will have to choose how to frame the stories you tell. By understanding who your audience really is, you can strategically select the approach most likely to resonate with those you serve.
Concentrate on Conflict
Fiction writers keep readers riveted by putting their characters in difficult situations and dialing up the pressure. Readers expect drama in their novels, and they want it in your marcom materials too. A good story—even a good marketing story—needs conflict. Ask yourself which of these examples is more compelling:
1. “Our company decided that protecting nature was important, so we committed ourselves to reducing our environmental impact. You can feel good about doing business with us.”
2. “It didn’t take us long to discover that area wildlife was in trouble. Polluted streams had decimated the local salmon population, and the animals at the top of the food chain were starving. Despite industry resistance, Benevolent Corp knew this business had to change if we were going to protect our natural heritage.”
The first example is a yawn. The second example is infinitely more compelling because it employs conflict to heighten tension and provide insight into the company’s philosophy. Who are you more likely to buy from?
Be Open and Approachable
Finally, be open and approachable. Use stories to give prospects a sense of who you really are. This allows customers to identify with you. If you are successful, doing business with you will become a chance to interact with a friend instead of a faceless corporation. Consider Apple Computer. Do you know what they’re about? Of course you do: elegance, simplicity, and ease of use. How do you know? Because that’s the story they consistently tell.
Of course, you don’t have to be Apple computer to benefit from the power of telling stories in your marketing. Just follow these tips and move forward with a plan. Even if your business is a one-person operation, the power of stories can take your marketing to the next level.
Matthew R is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.