Do you realize that millions of blog posts are being published every day? Even more, millions of ads are being pushed daily in front of billions of people, who simply do not have the time to inhale this entire ocean of bits.
So, how do you expect your content to make it to your target audience and get them to read it and click on your links? How are you securing your place in their mind and all the way to their wallets?
The Answer Is… Storytelling
We, as humans, are hard-wired to listen to stories, ever since the first cavemen stood around the fire and passing on wisdom to the younger generations. Everybody loves a good story, especially stories that we can personally relate to.
Marketing through storytelling takes blogging and content creation to a whole new level. Not only are stories more relatable, they are more inspiring, emotional and memorable.
By adding stories to your marketing mix (as opposed to just naming the features of your product or service), you can help your audience see how you can solve their problem and increase their willingness to buy. Storytelling helps to get your readers excited in ways bullet points and product specifications simply cannot.
Here are three simple ways you can effectively share good stories with your customers:
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1) Tell Your Founding Story
Every business has a story, a reason that made it come alive. Why do you do what you do? Why does it matter to you? Why should people trust you? Why should they choose you over the competition?
Whether you’re selling online courses, design services, a mobile app or custom apparel, there is a moment in time when you decided to bring it to the world. Talk about that moment. Share your fears, struggles and how you’ve overcome the obstacles along the way. This will make a huge difference in how people relate to you and trust your band.
A classic example of powerful branding dates back to the 50s with the rise of the Marlboro Man. The campaign presented an archetypal rough, masculine, unaffected American cowboy and within a short period of time the company’s sales skyrocketed with over 5,000%. Men instinctively identified with the cowboy archetype and loved the brand for decades.
The power of identifying your brand with a timeless story is that the story already exists deep within the collective subconscious. Your job is to simply evoke it with cues that resonate with people and trigger an emotional response.
2) Reframe The News
New stories come out every minute, but not all of it matters to your audience. Become a curator and pick the most relevant trending stories and reframe them in a way that is useful and meaningful to your audience.
Give them the essence, put a spin on it and tell people why they should care and how does it affect them. The more noise you can dissipate, the more important you become and the less likely for them to look elsewhere when they need something that you offer.
For example, Mark Zuckerberg held a Q & A session in Chinese back in October last year. This might not sound like worthy news in itself, but if you’re a business owner it might just mean that Facebook could potentially get approved on the Chinese market and you could be able to advertise to a trillion-dollar market. And that’s just one spin to the story.
3) Share Your Customers’ Success Stories
If you’re in business, it means you have at least one happy customer. J Ask for a testimonial, do a case study or an interview that reveals how your product or service improved their life or business.
It could be a story of how you helped someone make more money, save more time, have more fun, alleviate physical pain or just help them out with custom services like copywriting, design, financial planning, life coaching – it could be anything.
Think about your own process of selecting products and services, you most likely search for reviews from past customers to make sure you get the best possible deal. Don’t you love when you read success stories of people who’ve bought this or that from a company? It just makes your life so much easier when you decide to open your wallet and make that purchase.
Just to give you an example: Starbucks constantly shares photos of happy, delighted customers who enjoy their coffee in different places around the world. The company focused on creating a “third space” concept, where people would be happy to go, besides work and home. The relaxing Starbucks experience and atmosphere has proven to be very attractive for their customers and has led to a viral marketing blitz throughout the years.
It all comes down to telling a good story and creating an experience for your customers. The more you can relate to your audience, the more they will trust you and when the time comes, they will buy from you instead of your competitor.
Storytelling isn’t just for writers, it’s for any business that really wants to stay in business and compete on value rather than price. The more unique you are, the more irreplaceable you become and the more you can charge for your products and services.
Always try to level with your audience and make them feel like you know what they’re going through. Make them think of you like a close friend who knows what they’re doing and that they’re genuinely interested in helping them solve their problems.
Be their partner, connect with them and help them develop trust in you. This will go a long way and bullet-proof your business for the future. Creating stories is the easiest way to build a common ground with your audience, so they begin to like and trust you (more than your competition!)
Your goal is to help your readers visualize themselves in your story and make them aware of their problem and the need to change. By planting these seeds in their mind, you will have their impulse to click-through and buy your product going through the roof. This is the power of storytelling. It makes people to pay attention, relate and remember you.
This is the ultimate dream of any business!
So irrespective of whether your next piece of content is promoting a new product, a new app update or even a new blog post, make an effort to frame the news into a story that will engage readers and help them feel part of your journey. Present your story in the context of their problem and make them understand that you have what it takes to relief their pain.
How do you intend to use stories in your content marketing? Are you using it already? What results have you got so far? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.