How to Harness Storytelling for Content Marketing

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Storytelling is not just for Pixar movies and Pulitzer prize-winners. Storytelling is a tool that any business can use.

Stories can bring your messages to life, helping you better engage your community and achieve your business goals.

Let’s take a look at how and why you can use stories for content marketing.

Why tell stories?

Just like in the entertainment industry, stories are used in marketing to engage people. If you’re a business, you can use stories to engage your customers or clients. And if you’re a non-profit, you can use stories to engage your donors or stakeholders. All businesses can use stories to engage their communities.

Content marketing

Content marketing has become one of the most widely used ways that businesses can communicate. It has overtaken traditional advertising in popularity. While content marketing is useful to businesses big and small, it does present certain challenges.

At our current pace, we produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. With so much information out there, it can be hard to cut through the noise. But stories can help you do just that.

The science

In its simplest form, a story is the movement from cause to effect. Because our brains are hard-wired to think in terms of cause and effect , storytelling taps into a powerful evolutionary process. By using the power of storytelling for content marketing, you can gain a competitive edge against other businesses that are putting info out there.

Listening to stories also triggers responses such as empathy and increased brain activity. Using stories to communicate with your audience helps them feel closer to you. It encourages them to do what you want them to do, whether that be buy your product or support your cause.

When and where to use stories for business

You can use storytelling across all your business communications. Here are a few ideas:

  • EDMs – tell stories in your email communications to share news or encourage actions
  • Social media – even a small tweet or post can tell a story to engage your community
  • Blogs – use stories to draw interest into your how-to articles or business updates
  • Case studies – demonstrate your successes and showcase your skills in compelling examples

How to tell stories

Method

Storytelling is a wonderful tool that any business can harness. Let’s look at the method behind it.

When you tell stories, you aim to:

  • Engage: Pique interest in time-poor consumers who must navigate huge amounts of information every day
  • Relate: Strike a chord with your community, show them you understand their needs
  • Stick: Because they’re emotional, stories help people recall what you have to say
  • Motivate: Importantly, your stories should drive action towards your desired outcome

Devices

Literary devices are techniques you can use to tell better stories. You probably use these on a daily basis without realising it. But, by being aware of these devices, you can better apply them to engage others in your content marketing.

Rhyme – like the nursery rhymes you heard as a child, rhyming phrases and headlines stick in people’s heads. The social post below rhymes “my space” with “my place”.

Alliteration – Krispy Kreme, Coca-Cola and PayPal all use repeated consonants to create alliteration. Royal Rehab does the same.

Acronyms – Your community is likely familiar with certain acronyms, so use these to shorten and simplify your messages. For example, NDIS and NDIA are well-known in the disability community.

Jargon – Jargon has its uses in certain contexts, but not in marketing storytelling. This post uses simple English.

Power words – Words like “community”, “friendly” & “empower” make an emotional impact.

Social proof – Describe how long you’ve been around for, how many customers you’ve served, or how many awards you’ve won. This evidence shows you are trustworthy. Royal Rehab has been around for 120 years.

The art of storytelling

As you can see, storytelling is an art that anyone can learn. Use storytelling in your content marketing to cut through the noise and engage your community.

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Natalie S

About

Natalie is a freelance copywriter and digital content producer from Melbourne. Her experience spans across industries including marketing, construction, tourism, and disability services.

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