Life would be boring without stories. We all have a story to our lives, and in turn the businesses we build.
How does a business use the art of story telling for their content marketing? As a member of the CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing I know the importance of words.
Definition of content marketing
So what does content marketing actually mean? According to the Content Marketing Institute, (CIM) content marketing is defined as:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
I think any form of quality content should be used to complement a business’s long term business growth strategy. Keeping content in line with Google’s seriously researched EAT guidelines not only will Google begin to thank you, and rank you…..but more importantly your audience will enjoy reading, learning, watching, listening and sharing. Content is not only the written form, we are digital now and access a variety of content marketing platforms, including video and podcasts.
As digital and content marketers our job at Pickled Ginger is to help you engage your ideal audience and help with conversion rates. Story telling is one of our most loved roles when working with clients! Finding out about you, your business, your audience, your objective and your overall “why”.
The art of storytelling has changed drastically over the years owing to our attention spans! The Technical University of Denmark carried out a study in 2019:
“A new study finds increasingly narrow peaks of collective attention over time, supporting a ‘social acceleration’ occurring across different domains.”
Scientists studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years. In addition, they have gathered data from Google Trends (2010-2018), Reddit (2010-2015), and Wikipedia (2012-2017).
Results of attention span studies
What do the results tell us, the marketers, and the business owners when we want to get out content out into the Google ethers?
The results? We are made aware of something happening faster, and therefore lose interest more quickly. So how to we grab someone’s attention and more importantly, keep them engaged and get them to action.
How to write a successful digital content marketing campaign
Right, you’ve got the science and you’ve got the definition, now how to succeed marketing your own content?
Of course there are many offline ways to boost your content, including advertising, guerrilla marketing, printed books, merchandise (the classic storytelling + products = happy days)*
*obviously your storytelling and products must be of quality…..
Storytelling formula ideas
You might think your industry is too dry, too data driven, too academic, too frivolous, too visual.
That’s just a mindset, absolutely any of what we do as a business can be formulated into great content. Of course in this blog I’m talking about storytelling rather than a whitepaper or research paper. Storytelling is building your brand through your personality. A little like a case study!
Seth Godin, describes marketing as
“the art of telling a story that resonates with your audience and then spreads.”
You know what? There are many simple formulas you can follow, and here are some examples:
#1 Formula to share relevance
Incident — Share a relevant, personal experience
Action — Describe the specific action taken to solve or prevent a problem
Benefit — State the benefits of the action
#2 Formula to grab attention
Star — An attention-getting, positive opening
Chain — A series of convincing facts, benefits, and reasons
Hook — A powerful call-to-action
#3 Formula for suspense
Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
I’ve borrowed that one from Pixar 😉
This blog, for example.
I’m writing it because I know my audience would love to get their content out to their audiences, so my thought is to write a blog that will reach out to them, give examples, solutions and I’m adding my CTA at the end asking them to visit the Pickled Ginger website to receive free resources and learn more.
I’ve added internal links that can be opened in new tabs, I’m offering external links to websites I think are also useful to the reader.
I hope I am sharing advice and solving a problem.
And anyone can get in touch if they’d like to know more.
Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
The 5Ws plus a How ….
Imagine you are a solicitor in the area of commercial law. Woah, dry right? No, not at all. You are B2B so you’ll have great examples of case studies you have worked on to share with potential businesses needing your help (if not right now, then in the future….think brand awareness). So if you have an existing case study, bring it out of its shell and give it a new lease of light by turning it into a story.
Who is the client (ie your audience)?
Why did they come to you?
What were you able to do help them with?
When did their problem arise?
Where did the problem affect their business?
How did you solve their problem?
If you are a fashion designer and sell your own brand but need help getting clicks to your site, want more paid customers, would like to collaborate, like the idea of influencers working with you to widen your baby then story telling is perfect. Online retail is tough, no question about that. Through videos, infographics and blogs you are able to convey your story too.
What have you been working on lately?
Why you think this trend or style is perfect for [xxx]
Who do you think it will benefit?
When could or should they wear it?
Where can they buy it?
How can they buy it?
Mix up the questions and have fun.
Infographics are great visual storytellers
Remember, a solid content marketing strategy isn’t only about written content, our in-house graphic designer and brandster, Mel, gets overwhelmed with written content, so she’s definitely a visually content lover, that’s what keeps her engaged and keeps her on a page wanting more.
Infographics are such a fun way to bullet point written content into a visually pleasing piece of content.
Sometimes it’s tricky to take a subject that might be hard to explain in words, when an image can tell a thousand words.
Want more website traffic though? You know, I can’t emphasise how Google Analytics is so good to track your content and what’s coming through to your website. I mention Pinterest below in the Social Media section, but wowsers that’s an immense platform for CTR (click through rates).
Social Media Campaigns to share your content
The important part to get right, when running a social media campaign, is to respect the context of the platform.
Instagram | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Twitter | FaceBook
Instagram is perfect for videos and now Reels has kicked in there more you can show off, especially if you are product based. Tell a story through images and videos.
LinkedIn is perfect for the professional side of you and your brand. You should have a company page to complement your personal page. There has been some research this year (2020) to say that external links added to posts are penalised. DON’T let you stop your content writing or videoing though! LinkedIn say their algorithm doesn’t penalise (but ultimately, they want people to stay on their platform rather than veering off to read something else). There’s a great little example of 4 posts done (3 with no links and 1 with) by a Social Media Trainer and Manager, Jon Simmonds and here’s his findings:
Conclusion of his findings by doing research on his own 4 posts were that the post that DID NOT link anything went down. Booo.
Pinterest is like a pretty Google. It is fabulous for your content marketing campaigns. It has an incredible search engine of its own and therefore isn’t quite the same as other social media platforms; this is a PERFECT platform for many small business lead magnet strategies. Integrate it with your Google Analytics on your website and you’ll soon see that with some thought out quality articles, offerings, simple hacks, freebie downloads attached to colourful pins your website traffic will be flowing.
The featured image on this blog is a classic example of how we use infographics here at Pickled Ginger.
The team and I are SERVICE PROVIDERS so it’s not just for visually gorgeous products or how to (e.g. hairstyles, style clothes, lose weight, change a plug…. You get my drift). Want to see other examples of what I’ve done as a service? Have a look HERE. Pickled Ginger’s account only opened up a few months ago, so as an SEO bod I know it takes TIME with any new search engine to trust a new account, but it’s doing so well already. I am offering QUALITY content.
Twitter respect what it wants and adhere its ethos. The bio is important. If you had just a few seconds (or in this case 160 characters) to explain your business to a complete stranger, what would you say? That will be your bio.
Facebook is a bit of a marmite platform nowadays. Groups are probably the way to go from a business perspective. Why not engage with some local groups depending on your audience. You can build relationships, ask to speak as an expert and offer some solutions – again story telling is like a case study for so many.
STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS – RECAP
- Set the Parameters. Your business story should be engaging. …
- Be Authentic. Authentic storytelling is key to gaining consumer trust. …
- Have A Clear Outcome. A great business story leaves your audience with something. …
- Be Consistent. …
- Get Customers Involved.
Technical University of Denmark. “Abundance of information narrows our collective attention span.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190415081959.htm>.