We all love a good story.
Whether your friend is telling you about their dating dilemmas or you’re asking people how they got into their line of work, stories help us become better listeners and make stronger connections.
People are curious and nosey… Which is why storytelling in content marketing so well.
In fact, becoming better storytellers is a top priority for 41% B2B content creators:
From sharing a personal experience to telling the story of how your business started, you could be a winner if you’re using storytelling in content marketing.
The Importance of Storytelling in Content Marketing
Named as the “future of content marketing in 2018”, storytelling is a fantastic element to give your B2B brand a unique twist.
Your brand becomes more relatable
One thing that many B2B brands struggle with is relatability. They forget that readers are real people with real lives, resulting in content that only a robot would find interesting.
That’s not gonna get you far… Nevermind generate great results.
Combat that by using storytelling in your B2B content. Why? Because it proves to your audience that you know what it’s like to be in their shoes. Which in turn builds trust. And we all know how important trust is in purchasing decisions.
A study by Pennsylvania University found that people are more perceptive towards stories than they are to dry statistics and facts.
…But how does that work out when we’re always told to back-up sources and prove what we’re saying isn’t gibberish?
The answer: by combining the two. (More on that later.)
In short, using storytelling in content marketing makes you more relatable, furthers trust and helps to build relationships with your ideal audience.Use storytelling in #content marketing to drive results, says @elisedopson Click To Tweet
Stories provoke emotion
Along with relatability, stories provoke emotion. Whether it’s anger, happiness or frustration, stories make people feel something.
If the focus of your B2B content marketing strategy is to boost sales, you might just hit the jackpot with storytelling. That’s because buying decisions are 20% logical and 80% emotional.
In addition to this,
- A study by the NY Times found that emotional articles were shared more often
- Using scarcity and urgency helped one entrepreneur boost sales by 332%
- Playing to specific types of emotion can boost your chances of ‘going viral’:
By playing to your audience’s emotions and grabbing them more than traditional content would, you could hit the jackpot with storytelling content.
It sets you apart from competitors
This point is pretty obvious, but I wanted to mention it anyway:
There’s no better way to set yourself apart from competitors than to tell a story, unique to you. After all, nobody can tell your story like you can.
Why shouldn’t you be using that to your advantage?
The 3-Step Guide to Storytelling in Content Marketing
If you’ve reached the halfway point and are still on-board, awesome job. I’m glad I’ve convinced you to start using storytelling in content marketing. 🙂
(If you’re still not convinced, just trust me on this one.)
But you still might be confused about where to start. What stories should you be telling? Where should you be using them? What makes a great story; one that goes viral and brings in thousands of new customers?
Here’s my 3-step approach that works every time:
1. Make it personal
When we talk about storytelling, you might have an Einstein moment… “I’ve got an awesome story to share and my audience would love to read it.” That’s great news. But, make sure it’s unique.
Nobody wants to read the same regurgitated story that doesn’t offer anything new.
The best example I could find for this is by Zendesk, a B2B brand that offers customer support software. You wouldn’t be alone in thinking their stories must be boring. How exciting could customer support really get?
Zendesk created this video to share a unique story: Another business stole their name and started a different company using it. They decided to launch a fun marketing campaign, which revolved around Zendesk’s new customer service album.
To explain the story to their audience, they made a pretty cool video:
Unexpectedly fun for a B2B brand, right?
2. Explain how it relates your audience
You’ve got your unique story idea, a plan to tell your story and a list of goals you want to achieve with your plan to include storytelling in content marketing.
There’s one thing you’re missing: the explanation of how the story benefits your ideal audience.
Readers are selfish. We can even use you as an example.
The chances are, you landed on this blog post because you wanted to learn about storytelling in B2B content marketing. You aren’t really interested in my personal life, and will likely be heading outta here once you’ve got the information you wanted.
Your ideal audience isn’t any different. They want to know how your story can benefit them.
Boost your storytelling efforts by explaining this in your content. Bonus points if your story relates to a problem your B2B business can solve.
When I was 16, I couldn’t find SEO software that was affordable for bloggers. I spent tonnes of money on expensive programs that did more than what I needed, and my blogging business began to decline as my breakeven point was so high. That’s why I created X software: an affordable SEO solution for bloggers that provides premium tools at lower price.
Let’s break that down and see why it works.
My audience: Bloggers looking for SEO software that isn’t extortionately priced.
The story: I was in their shoes when I was younger and lost money because I couldn’t find anything to suit my needs.
How it benefits them: They can avoid this by purchasing my product.
Simple, but effective.When telling stories in your #contentmarketing, always make sure to show the value it's giving to your audience. Click To Tweet
3. Add relevant, supporting data
The final element of effective storytelling in content marketing is to add relevant, supporting data.
Let people know you aren’t the only one who’s experienced it and raise awareness about the problem you had being true for many other people.
To do this, you could:
- Call out for case studies about another person, similar to you, who’s experienced a similar thing
- Use DeepDyve to find relevant research studies on the same topic
- Ask influencers in your niche to comment on your story and add their own comment
Using data in your content marketing boosts credibility, too. It proves to people that your story isn’t just a one-off issue that you’re struggling with.
If you’re telling a story with the aim of making a sale, that’s crucial.
We all know that storytelling builds connections.
However, now that we’ve gotten to grips with the benefits of getting it right, there’s no better time to add storytelling to your list of to-do’s — especially when it’s a B2B content marketing trend set to soar in 2018.
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