Storytelling is at the Heart of Content Marketing: Here’s how to Use It

Image courtesy of mararie/Flickr.

Think about the last good movie you saw or that book you can’t put down. Or try to remember the last case study you heard at a conference or even the last conversation you had with a coworker. What is it about those things that make them memorable and worth remembering? The fact that they included a good story.

Storytelling makes us sit up and listen, engage in the facts and details that lead up to a conclusion and somehow make us feel closer to the subject.

Why Storytelling?

KISSmetrics recently published a post that discussed how businesses can use their content to get more conversions and how storytelling “is the secret weapon of successful content marketing.”

Content that tells a story automatically gets attention and makes people want to keep reading. It makes something ordinary more interesting and makes a business or brand more memorable. A good story encourages interaction with content or a business and inspires the audience to take action.

You wouldn’t remember every detail of that great movie if it didn’t have an enthralling story. The case study you just heard about would be boring without details, plot and a conclusion.

If you use stories in your own content, your blog posts, articles, case studies, videos and social media posts will become more interesting to your target market and help you paint a picture and convey messages that get a response.

Tips for Telling your Story

Most good stories have a few common elements and when you know what they are you can tell virtually any story using different types of content to market your business.

Simple Details

First, simple stories are easier to follow. When you only use the most important details and you keep your story succinct and clear, it is easier to use as part of a content marketing plan. Outline your story, maybe about why you launched your last product, and then summarise it in just a few bullet points. Then, use those points to tell your story through blog posts, website pages and other online content.

Memorable Features

The most effective stories are memorable. There is something about them that is unique, unusual, incredible or funny that makes people remember them long after they have read your content. If you can, choose a memorable story to begin with. If your story lacks interest, look for an angle that transforms something normal into something extraordinary.

Relatable Elements

Once you have an idea of the kind of story you want to tell, find ways you can make it relatable for your target market. Relatable stories often bring better results, since the audience is closer emotionally and intellectually to the subject. For example, if you are telling a success story, describe the customer in a way that makes it easy for potential customers to visualise themselves in that position.

Clear Conclusion

Finally, conclude your story in a way that makes it relevant and adds a call to action. Once people have heard your story, what do you want them to do? Using the example of a success story, you might conclude by telling your reader that they too can get the same great results by using your products.

The conclusion is vital, as it makes a story into something that inspires people to take action. Use your calls to action strategically and make sure they are targeted at the audience.

As you create content marketing and online branding strategies, look for ways you can use stories to make your messaging more memorable and inspire action, so your campaigns will be more effective and you will see better results.