If I asked you to tell me about your best friend, how would you do it? Would you use a PowerPoint presentation with slides of bullet points, or would you tell me stories of long talks and adventures and other shared moments? Obviously, the first option is silly and you would never use it to tell someone how great your best friend is. Nonetheless, when it comes to storytelling in content marketing, sharing our brand narrative can be dulled by such presentations when it should be invigorated through engaging stories.
No matter your brand, you should be enacting content marketing that incorporates storytelling. As humans, we all love a good story, whether it’s the latest blockbuster film, a novel, or just an anecdote from a friend. We connect with stories better than any other medium. In fact, the science backs this up: our brains are far more active when listening to a story than when confronted with that PowerPoint slideshow I referenced earlier. When we hear facts, one part of our brain is activated, but when we hear stories, several parts of our brain are activated at once—meaning that we experience the stories as we hear them and they stay in our minds long after the initial telling.
How can you unleash the power of storytelling in your content marketing? Try these three techniques!
Think about the Geico Gekko, Flo from Progressive, and Allstate’s Mayhem—with these characters, Geico, Progressive, and Allstate injected personality and humor into what is essentially a very boring product. They created engaging stories we can easily recite. Now, you don’t need to have a fictional mascot to tell your story—instead, use your employees to tell your brand narrative, or use a third-person point of view. If you create characters that your audience can connect with on an emotional level, your brand will be more memorable.
Remember the old adage that “a picture is worth 1000 words”? Look at the growth and popularity of infographics today: people like visuals, so don’t forget to incorporate them (graphs, pie charts, even a compelling photograph) as part of your storytelling in content marketing. Sometimes a single photo can say more than pages and pages of text, and it is easier for people to make an emotional connection with an image. There’s a reason that infographics are so popular!
Your brand narrative should be a simple, relatable, and succinct one. Think you don’t have the space in your marketing materials to tell a compelling story? Consider this tweet-sized tale by Ernest Hemmingway: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” It doesn’t get much more brief (or poignant) than that! Slogans are a great way to stay succinct—think of Nike’s (“Just do it”) or McDonald’s (“I’m lovin’ it”). Disney is the grand master of storytelling companies, but even if you’re not a multi-billion dollar film, you can still use the same techniques as Disney to tell a great brand story.
Content marketing is about creating content so good that people want to share your stories with friends. How will you unleash the power of storytelling in your organization? Sound off in the comments!
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