I have a confession to make. I spent the weekend in the most unproductive (yet secretly fulfilling) way possible: binge watching House of Cards, Season 3. Don’t worry, this post won’t be an in-depth analysis of Kevin Spacey’s accent or give away any spoliers for those of you who are rationing the episodes. But our tendency to binge watch shows like House of Cards – and then spend the next 11 months and 29 days counting down to the next season – exemplifies the power that a compelling story has on its audience. And it’s this power that your agency needs to capture when telling your client’s story.
We all know what makes for a bad story: it’s boring, you start yawning, and then the next thing you know you’re wondering whether should hit the store on the way home from work for that buy-one-get-one-free sale on paper towels. Yikes! But what about the difference between a good and great story? Most clients have fairly good stories. As an agency, you’ve been hired to make their story great. Here’s how to take your clients’ stories to the next level with content marketing:
#1: Start with a clear goal. Are you humanizing your client’s brand, helping the audience understand a complex idea or service, or establishing your client’s authority within their industry? You can’t write a great story without a clear purpose in mind. Once you have a clear goal for your story, the rest of the parts like tone and voice will start to fall into place.
#2: Choose your words wisely. While the written materials you produce for your client’s content marketing program will likely be longer than a four-word tagline, you still need to think very carefully about each and every word that you write. Your word choice can humanize your client or be a boring collection of dry bullet points. Great stories entertain, inform and offer value – and engaging with the audience through compelling copy is the first step to achieving these goals.
#3: Add humor. Just as the tone and style of your words take your story from average to amazing, adding a touch of humor and personality will help, too. Even the most serious B2B-oriented stories can benefit from a little humor. For example, let’s say your agency is crafting a story about your client’s new project management software for inbound lead generation. You can still explain what is project management within the context of your client’s service, but consider using a lighthearted example to make a stronger, more memorable emotional connection.
#4: Don’t discount the power of testimonials. If you’re struggling to find the right words to tell your client’s stories, consider letting their clients do the heavy lifting for you. Seeing an actual client in a video testimonial can be a real boost for establishing strong emotional connections. Client testimonials are also a fresh storytelling voice free from much of the marketing jargon that we all too often use as a default when the right words escape us.
Erin M is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.