A few weeks ago, I plucked up all my courage and faced one of my greatest fears head-on — in the form of a day-long public speaking workshop.
I must say, not my favorite eight hours on record. But after a painfully long day of watching myself on camera making earnest attempts to maintain eye contact in front of a roomful of staring people, I did walk away with some powerful insights on how to connect with your audience. Unsurprisingly, many of these also stood true for connecting with your audience through content, and the day got me thinking about one aspect of engagement in particular: storytelling.
Regardless of ever-changing strategies and tactics in the field, marketing’s main challenge remains the same: every marketer must be able to create messages that reach and engage people. And, although it’s often overlooked by B2B marketers in particular, one of the most timeless and effective ways to engage people is through the art of storytelling.
Marketing Through Storytelling
Think back to your favorite stories as a kid, and how you felt when you read or heard them. You watched characters overcome obstacles, you related to the hero of the story (perhaps even imagined yourself to be him or her), and ultimately, you left feeling inspired, with a slightly different perspective on things and a newfound motivation to bring about change.
Now think of how powerful it could be if your were able to capture this same emotion with your marketing messages. It’s an exciting prospect, isn’t it? Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can use elements of storytelling to make your marketing content more compelling.
Relate, Relate, Relate.
It’s simple: you’re marketing to humans, so your marketing should have a human element.
All too often, marketers get so caught up in trying to impress their audience that they forget to relate to them. And in terms of revenue, there’s a very compelling argument for showing off your human side: having a best-in-class product is key for attracting customers, but getting them to relate to the people behind that product is what turns these customers into lifelong customers and advocates of your brand.
The good news is, it’s not hard to give your marketing a human element. You’ve probably faced many of the same obstacles and crises that your reader has, so put some of your own story into your marketing content. Share how you’ve overcome difficulties, what you’ve learned, and how these lessons have influenced the product you’ve created.
Final note on this: don’t forget to keep your language human as well — you’re not trying to impress your audience with your knowledge of industry jargon, you’re trying to relate to them with your own experiences.
Make Your Customer the Hero of Your Story.
Who’s the hero of your marketing messages? If the answer is your product, stop and rethink.
It’s the single most important thing to remember when crafting your marketing messages: you’re not pushing a product at people, you’re helping them to overcome a challenge. The fastest way to grab your audience’s attention is to describe a problem that they can identify with, then show them how they can solve it. And stop singing the praises of your product — your ultimate goal here is to make your customer the hero of the story, so show them how they can use your product to triumph over their own obstacles.
Call the Reader to Action.
The best stories are those that inspire, leaving the reader bursting with new ideas and anxious to take action. If you’ve done your job correctly, your content can have this effect, so don’t let this feeling go to waste. You’ve identified the challenge and you’ve outlined the goal, now let your reader know what they need to do next to overcome that challenge and accomplish that goal. Maybe it’s purchasing your product or maybe it’s moving on to more detailed educational content, but make sure the next step is obvious with a clear and effective call to action.
What are some other ways that you can utilize storytelling in your marketing strategies? We’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments section below, and for more help with creating effective marketing content, be sure to check out our free Content Creation Guide.