Content marketing has always been about educating the consumer. This can be done in a variety of ways — you might write a blog post explaining to the reader why they need a snowblower, or you may create a video showing why one of your models is the best snowblower for a particular group of customers. In each case, your intention is to use your expertise and product knowledge to build your reputation, with the goal of enticing that consumer to eventually make a purchase from your brand.
While this method is undeniably effective, it’s not the only purpose for content marketing. There’s a whole other side to your business that you’re not showing your audience. And it’s time for your story to be told for the world to see.
The Importance of Storytelling
Today’s consumer isn’t interested in merely buying a product. They want a stellar experience from start to finish. They want to feel valued by the companies they support, and they want to feel that their patronage means something to those businesses. Conversely, modern shoppers also want to feel an alignment of values with the companies with which they do business.
The days of the soulless corporation that stands for nothing are long gone. Today, businesses must let consumers know what they’re all about, and not just from the standpoint of product offerings. Shoppers want to know what led the business to be created, what causes the business supports and how the company gives back to the community. Without this essential piece of the puzzle, a consumer never gets the chance to feel that all-important connection, which ultimately leads them to look for an organization that meets all of their needs.
This might sound like a lot of extra baggage for an emerging business. In reality, though, it’s quite the contrary. This need for transparency and authenticity creates a real opportunity for any business, new or old, big or small. Now, in addition to providing great products and services at an affordable price, you have the chance to truly touch people in a new and unique way.
Speaking Your Truth with Your Content
If you’ve been producing content for a long time, you know what it’s like to run out of ideas for future pieces of content. The good news is that storytelling is a get-out-of-jail-free card for those moments when your creative well is tapped out. Just look around your office and look at your staff, and you’ve got a great topic for content that shows your audience just who you are and what your business stands for.
You can produce storytelling content in a virtually limitless number of ways. Your founder can write a piece explaining their background and their motivations for starting your business. You can write pieces about the charities you support and any initiatives in which you donate items at specific sales thresholds. The sky’s the limit with the written word, as it is with images and infographics.
But if you really want to tug at the heartstrings of your audience, a well-produced video will accomplish all of your goals. First and foremost, it gives viewers a chance to physically see the people behind the operation. This allows people to both see and hear your story, providing a truly immersive look into the human side of your business. The right music and visual effects will only serve to accent the story you’re telling, conveying the effect you’re trying to create.
That’s all well and good, you may say. But how does this affect my bottom line? Glad you asked. More than half of all marketing professionals state that video is the marketing medium that yields the biggest ROI. Additionally, videos on social media are shared twelve times as much as text-based and image-based posts. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, viewers retain 95 percent of the marketing message when viewed in a video format, whereas they retain only ten percent of the same message in a text format. If you want to make an impact in the lives of your audience — one that will encourage serious brand loyalty — use video content to tell your story in an organic and approachable manner.
The best part about storytelling in content marketing is that you don’t have to do all the work yourself. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly acceptable — and effective — to incorporate user-generated content into your marketing strategy.
What is user-generated content? It’s exactly what it sounds like — instead of producing your own content, you can reach out to your audience to provide material. This can come in the form of testimonials, social media posts, Instagram pictures and video reviews.
The goal here isn’t laziness — you don’t solicit user-generated content simply because you can’t be bothered to do it yourself. Instead, what you really want is to showcase your brand’s story, told by the people that are currently getting the most from your products. If you produce skateboards, your user-generated content should showcase some amazing tricks and images by talented and passionate users. If you make shovels, users might show how those shovels can be used to make a difference in the community. Whatever the focus of your business, there’s a way to show how your products affect real people — as long as you can create enough passion to encourage your audience to post this content. And that loops back to the story you’ve told your audience, the pieces of the puzzle that made your consumers so enthusiastic about your brand.
With the right touch, you can dramatically reinvent your brand by incorporating your company’s story into your content. WriterAccess writers can help you to craft the perfect message for your audience. We can even create the script for your storytelling videos! To learn more about how we can help, click here.
Bryan B. is a freelance writer who specializes in marketing and marketing-related topics. He writes both marketing materials and articles about marketing, consistently pleasing his loyal clients. His success in these areas has led him to consistently rank among the top WriterAccess marketing writers. In addition to writing about marketing, Bryan also writes about personal finance, parenting, sports and business topics. His status as a full-time working professional gives him unique insight into the corporate world and how his articles translate into reality.