In the age of digital, when distractions are abundant and attention spans are short, the ability to make your content stand out and capture your audience’s imagination is critical.
With so many competitors vying for clicks, comments and shares, many brands are asking themselves how to create content that not only drives traffic, but also drives conversions and builds lasting connections with their audiences.
The answer? Mastering the art of storytelling in marketing to create content that speaks to your readers’ sensibilities.
The power of storytelling in marketing
At the heart of every connection is a compelling story.
Stories have a unique power: They engage emotions, spark curiosity and leave a lasting impact on the reader. In a world flooded with webpages bursting with information, it’s a relatable narrative that will resonate with and influence your audience.
A well-crafted story can do wonders for your brand. It can help to create a deep and emotional connection with your audience, leaving an impression long after a reader closes a tab on their internet browser.
When members of your target audience connect with your brand on a personal level, they’re more likely to become loyal customers. Plus, they’ll likely advocate your brand through word-of-mouth or peer-to-peer marketing, which are about five times more effective than paid advertising.
Increased brand loyalty not only reduces the cost of acquiring customers, but also increases the lifetime value of each customer (i.e. they’ll spend more with your business over a longer period). Both of which will help to sustainably boost your bottom line.
Crafting compelling content: Knowing what story to tell
Brand storytelling is an extremely useful tool for ensuring that your content stands out as king among court jesters. But the question remains: How can your brand craft a narrative that captivates your audience?
Let’s take a look at a few strategies you can use to produce compelling content.
1. Know your audience
Before you can create content that speaks to your audience, you need to know who that audience is. The needs, wants and preferences of those individuals will shape the narrative you create and there are a few steps you can take to better understand these.
The first step to understanding who you’re talking to is to thoroughly research your audience.
Here, you’ll want to look at:
- Demographic information: These are things like age categories, gender identities, income brackets, educational levels, locations and the digital channels they use.
- Psychographic information: Elements like your buyer’s values, interests, hobbies and spending habits.
It’s likely that you can easily access a fair amount of this data through various analytics platforms on your website as well as email marketing and social media platforms. You can also send audience surveys to your audience to garner more information.
When your customers speak, listen. Their feedback can provide valuable insights into their experience with your brand—and if it’s living up to their expectations.
There are plenty of ways that customers can provide feedback to your brand, whether that’s in the form of Google and other search engine reviews or feedback on your products or services on your website.
Social listening is an incredibly useful tool here. To do this, you’ll want to spend some time on the various social media channels that are used most by your target audience.
Take note of the comments that users leave on your brand posts and search for your brand name as well as any hashtags that are relevant to your business to see what people are saying about it.
Keep track of competitors
If you’re looking for a cheat sheet on how to talk to the people you’re targeting, take a peek at the content your competitors are producing.
Keeping an eye on your competitors can help you better understand what your target audience wants. Consider the types of content they’re focusing on, the stories they’re telling, as well as how engaged their audience is to spot gaps and opportunities in your content strategy.
It’s important to note, though, that similar products and services can be aimed at completely different types of consumers. So you’ll want to do a brief analysis of their audience to avoid heading down the wrong path.
2. Write for an audience of one
Writing content that resonates with a broad audience can be challenging. Plus, trying to appeal to everyone can mean you end up engaging with no one. So it’s best to write for an “audience of one.”
Once you’ve figured out exactly who your audience is, it’s time to start creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. It includes the typical background, goals and challenges of your ideal buyer.
Having well-defined personas that represent each segment of your audience will help you to tailor your content to these “individuals.”
When you know who these ‘individuals’ are, you can easily write for an audience of one, which will help you to create specific, relevant content that’s more personalised and therefore helps readers to connect with your brand on a deeper level.
There are a couple of tricks you can use to easily write for an audience of one:
- Use personal pronouns: Speaking directly to your readers by using personal pronouns like “you” and “your” is one of the simplest ways to build a connection.
- Make them the hero: All customers have experiences and aspirations. If you’ve done your research right, you’ll know these. Use this knowledge to craft a story that places your customer at the centre, making them the hero.
- Address their pain points: With buyer personas on hand, you know exactly what kinds of challenges your audience is facing (and the values they hold). Use this information to craft a narrative that speaks to this.
3. Meet your customers where they are
No matter how good your narrative, your story can only resonate with your audience if they get to read it.
To ensure that your message reaches your buyers, you’ll need to use the insights that you gained during the audience research phase.
Aside from direct answers about the channels that they use, demographic and psychographic information like age, location, occupation and interests can indicate which platforms are popular with these individuals—and where you might garner even more attention.
After pinpointing the places where your audience is most active, the next step is to ensure your narrative is consistent across all of them. Here’s how:
- Consistent messaging: Your core message, values and brand voice need to be consistent across every platform that you use to promote your products. Whether it’s a blog article, social media post or video, it should convey your brand’s personality.
- Uniform branding: Elements like logos, colour schemes and visual aesthetics should be the same across all platforms. This uniformity will help customers recognise and trust your brand wherever they happen to encounter it. Brand guidelines are extremely useful here.
- Adaptation not duplication: Although consistency is key, it’s also essential that you adapt your content to suit each platform. What works well on Instagram might not work well on a website—or even LinkedIn. You’ll want to tailor the style and format to fit each channel.
- Repurpose content: Don’t stress yourself out trying to create a tonne of content. Rather, think about how one piece of content (like a blog post) can be transformed into a variety of other media, like images, videos or infographics. This will save you time while ensuring your narrative reaches different audience segments.
- Cross-promote: Having repurposed your consistent content across platforms, you can promote each piece across various platforms to show your multi-channel presence and reinforce your brand narrative. For example, a Facebook post can link to a YouTube video or a blog on your website.
Happily ever after: Narrative-driven storytelling wins clients
With such fierce competition for customers’ attention, storytelling in marketing is an incredible tool for captivating audiences.
Beyond simply attracting traffic to your website, it can help your brand foster connections with your buyers and, ultimately, drive conversions.
Stories have an unmatched ability to ignite readers’ emotions, pique their curiosity and leave lasting impressions in their minds. Crafting narratives that resonate deeply with your audience can nurture brand loyalty and inspire word-of-mouth marketing that can help you improve your brand’s bottom line.
Let us help you optimise your digital marketing efforts and unleash the power of storytelling to set your brand apart. Get in touch today!