5 Benefits of Storytelling in Content Marketing
I fell in the shower the other day, not exactly a proud moment though. Don’t worry, I am OK now, minus a few bruises, including my ego, obviously.
But the fall got me to thinking, like the fall of apple got newton thinking. What if I was not ok? What if I hit my head and was seriously hurt? How long would it take someone to notice me? I started imagining the person who would first see me and how would he/she /they would get in touch with my family. I was staying at a hotel that moment, so it would be a stranger most probably—awkward right! The story could go on and on.
Writers often do this. We all build stories in our head based on things which happen throughout our day. It’s a small game, which all of us play to flex our muscles, just like athletes spend time lifting weights in the gym to prepare for their big game.
And in the end, if you remember anything from this article—it will likely be that you now know I can be clumsy and maybe even a bit paranoid. But you will probably remember. And that’s one of the first and biggest benefits of storytelling.
1. Story Telling Builds Memory
This is not rocket science. It’s 101% psychology. As humans, we all are geared up to remember stories, since our childhood. At a young age of 2-5, our moms read us nursery rhymes with morals and values which were designed to help us grow-up to become better people in our lives. These life lessons are told in the form of stories because that makes them entertaining, interesting, and most importantly memorable. The impact that stories have on us, doesn’t change much (rather at all) in adulthood. We all still love listening stories. And we remember them also. Sometimes we might not remember all of the in-between details, however we remember all the important things, which is why stories can be powerful for all marketers here!
Storytelling crafted strategically builds the memories which you wish to leave with your listeners and readers. Your stories don’t have to be a tear-jerking, groundbreaking, Oscar-winning tale. Personally, I love this quote from extraordinaire storyteller, Kindra Hall, “You don’t have to make someone cry. You just have to make them see the story and imagine themselves in it.” This is because storytelling is tactile. Stories help people to see, taste, hear, smell, and feel the message you are conveying.
All these senses turn on parts of their brain, which helps them to visualize the story and build their memories. So you have to make sure that they are the right memories.
Focus your storytelling on important messages and CTA’s and you will build memories that will insight action in your customers. And this brings us to the second point.
2. Storytelling is a natural motivator
With just a few words stick together, all these expert speakers are motivating you – whether that is motivation toward action, towards emotion, or towards sharing. They all design their talk with something accurate in their mind; which is, in the direct alignment with the mission of “ideas worth spreading”.
Think about what exactly you want your audience to do when they start thinking about the story you shared. For example, if your main call-to-action is that stories help people in remembering things, it can be beneficial to tell a slightly embarrassing story with a little bit of humour sprinkled throughout (perhaps about a shower incident).
Stories are a natural fit for marketers because as marketers it’s our job to get people to act upon a CTA. And what are the ingredients of all good stories have? A moral. Make it a point that your story drives the desired outcome from your readers/listeners and you should motivate your readers much more naturally than you would with a more forced cold message or sales pitch. Make sure you know your audience to get the biggest bang for your story buck! Knowing your audience helps ensure that your story builds relationships.
3. Storytelling Build Relationships
Relationships are the gold of marketing. Individuals who feel a connection with your brand are likely to not only become the repeat purchasers, but they will (probably) phone a friend or two. The trick to selecting your stories for your ideal customer can directly relate to the detailed map for each of your customer segment.
Whether you call these maps personas or profiles — they work! They help you in understanding your customer at a more personal level.
This is what turns a good story into a great story; the kind with which your audience will hang onto until the very end. You will know what your audience responds to when they will start to picture themselves in your story and will start relating to you. Slowly they will start experiencing the faces behind your brand for themselves and will forge a true and meaningful relationship.
All of us are in this falling out of the shower, clumsy world together, right? Kidding. Sort of.
4. Storytelling Makes Content Exciting
One of the most common questions I frequently get is – how to develop a good content strategy for all these “boring” industries outside. Firstly, there really is nothing as a “boring industry”. I am sure, there might be a lot of businesses who lend themselves more easily to exciting content. But if there is a marketplace for your business, then there has to be a way to make an interesting and engaging content.
Storytelling is an excellent approach which can be used for both exciting and dry industries. Stories tap into the emotions that are characteristic of the people in your industry.
I will be honest with you. As a content marketer, at times I feel that if I read another listicle I might pull out all my hair. But we can’t disagree with the fact that lists are a simple and clear way for organizing information.
5.Storytelling Can Make Something Old, New
Last, but not the least, another common problem faced by content marketers is coming up with new ideas daily, every minute. Just as lists have been used in a million different ways, search engine optimization, blogging, and content marketing have all been around for a while now.
There is a lot of competition out there for reaching your target audience. And there are chances that somebody has already written something related to the so called “brand new” idea which you thought up on your drive to your home from work.
It is very challenging to keep thinking of new ideas which are truly adding value to your conversation with the target audience. According to the Content Marketing Institute, this becomes a big problem when, almost half of the content marketers reported that publishing new content to their website daily, or at least several times a week, is becoming tougher day by day. You have to come up with a bunch of new ideas, and that too often!
Storytelling helps you to take up something that someone has already written about and put a new spin on it so that it addresses the interests and needs of your target audience. Not only will this audience specific (or customer-centric) content help you to make the process of polishing the stale old ideas, but it will also perform better for you and will increase conversions.
Get Your Story On!
“Because people who tell stories, rule the society!” – Plato
There is a reason that storytelling has become somewhat of a buzzword in the marketing industry lately. Stories are a simple, natural way to make interesting content that motivates your audience to act. What more could you ask for as a content marketer?