Let's kick things off with a poignant message from one of most highly regarded fiction writers to come out of the 20th Century...
There’s no denying it: humans love stories. It’s what we’re used to day in day out. It’s what we find easiest to consume. It’s the reason why storytelling is such a fundamental part of meaningful content marketing.
Storytelling is an age old art and - done well - can attract 300% more readers (Buffer) who are willing to spend up to 520% more time on the page.
It’s starting to look attractive now, right?
But how can you do it well and ensure it’s related to your brand?
Cut the crap…
...it won’t get you anywhere worthwhile!
“Audiences are beginning to tire of the idea of content for content’s sake. Simply blogging to have a blog or updating social media for the sake of it won’t cut it anymore. You need to engage with your audience and tell them a story.” - Mike Templeman
Creating content just because you think it’s what you should be doing is a waste of your time and resource, and will probably end up pissing off your customers.
So even though we’ve said it before, I’ma go right ahead say it again. MAKE IT MEANINGFUL! Otherwise, what’s the point?
The content you create and distribute has to offer something of value to those you want to attract. Which is where storytelling comes in.
“Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories. A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different and the results is persuasion and sometimes action.” - Jennifer Aaker
Who knew this would turn into a psychology lesson!?
Add a storytelling hook to your content marketing and create something that is universally accessible and easily digestible.
Captivate, compel and inspire your audience and build lifelong loyalty.
Take readers on a journey
Creating a compelling narrative means taking the reader on a journey. Engage them with thought provoking insights and unique viewpoints and bring it all to life with real-world examples.
Set the scene and call upon your personal experiences, anecdotes or conversations. After all, contextually appropriate stories will humanise the blog post and grab the reader.
Hook, line and sinker.
Look at your business from a different angle - the challenges and the pain points - to grab your audience’s attention. Nothing will captivate an audience like your war story to overcome the odds to achieve success, or even survive. Where did you get your scars from?
And don’t worry, it doesn’t matter how dry you think your subject matter is - there’s always an angle. Specialising in B2B inbound marketing, a lot of our clients worry that this type of content marketing isn’t suited to their business or their customers.
And yet, from roof tiles to accounting software, you can find a way to ignite your topic.
The idea is to paint a picture for the reader and make the content more accessible...
Your audience probably isn’t looking to read endless blog articles about the makeup of your roof tiles. But they will be intrigued to learn about the company that saved money and boosted customer satisfaction.
"If your stories are all about products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger." - Jay Baer
Honing the human story
Stories which tap into the human side of the product or service will hook the readers into continuing. And this is the real hook. Look beyond your core offering and the key data sets.
This means digging deeper for that meaty angle…
Stories are all around us. We just need to know where to look.
So get out there - talk to your employees and customers, ask probing questions, get inside the Chief Exec’s head, visit the floor and see what’s really going on.
Do this and you will find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Now set about creating an epic and humanised introductory narrative:
- Include anecdotes from your experiences
- Incorporate fictional relevant stories to grab attention
- Anchor to a well-known story that will resonate with people
- Feature pictures, painted with words, and tap into more of your reader’s senses
- Add metaphors to make the content more visual and more accessible
But don’t lose focus. Always return to your core objective - what makes your audience tick.
Adding storytelling hooks to your content marketing is a sure fire win, but only if it’s offering something valuable to your ideal customers. You can scale the quality of your leads and the rate of conversions much faster than those taking the blog for blog’s sake approach.
So refer back to your buyer personas and create content that appeals to not only their pain points, but also their habits, interests, quirks and thirst for content that takes them on a journey.
Go forth and inspire!
Storytelling is everywhere. It’s a fundamental part of everything we do in our lives and there’s no getting away from it. It’s the most engaging route of communication. Full stop.
Use it to connect with your audience and inspire them.
Use it to show them where you’ve come from, where you are now and where you’re going.
So now you know what you ought to know about adding a storytelling hook to your content marketing, go forth and transform your blogging attempts!
For more killer insights on how to boost your B2B blogging, download your free 35-page guide today!