Your Content Marketing Plan Needs Storytelling

Your Content Marketing Plan Needs Storytelling

Never underestimate the power of a good story in content marketing, since it can help elevate a brand over its competition. How? By infusing identity and history into its products and services, a business can compel its audiences and customers. This is how brands like Apple and Nike have such a universal appeal: the former conveys the story of innovation and being different akin to its founder. The latter is synonymous with perseverance and athletic success much like the sports icons endorsing its products. So if you’re a business owner running a startup or SME, then integrating compelling storytelling into your content creation and marketing plan is crucial. With it, you can get the edge you need over bigger rivals.Still, a moving and memorable story isn’t that easy. If it was, every company out there would have profound and rousing origins and messages associated with their brands and they would all be raking in the big bucks. The reality is that brand storytelling is hard. You have to ask yourself what your company really is. Then distill that into a conveyable narrative that draws in your customers and make them loyal. It can be done, and here’s what you can do to create your brand’s unforgettable story:

Soul Searching and Asking Tough Questions

What does your company stand for? Looking inward is a prerequisite of excellent brand storytelling, but many would shy away from it. Why is that? Because the answers might not be pleasant. Not because they might unravel Terrible Dark Secrets, but that these truths might be mundane and unexceptional. No one wants to admit that. Nobody wants to admit that “we aren’t living up to our mission, we aren’t fulfilling our dreams.” And that’s exactly why these questions must be asked: not only to create a story but to make sure the company’s direction points that way too. By living the stories we tell, we make sure they ring true! You have to determine things like:
  • What are the company’s values?
  • How do we practice them in our daily affairs?
  • Are we upholding these values and standards we claim to represent?
  • How are our customers and our environment affected by our values and standards, and the way we practice them?
  • What are the challenges facing our brand and how do we face them?
  • If we asked our customers these questions, how would they answer?
This goes beyond just copy-pasting your company’s mission statement. Reflection, introspection and acknowledgement are in order if you want sincere and effective results (rather tham mediocre and insincere ones). Because this story isn’t just something you sell to your customers. It will also be how you see your own business, and how the organization regards itself. And this will shape how the business will carry out its affairs on a day to day basis.

Applying the Story Throughout Your Content and Marketing

Now that you have your story and are sincerely “practicing what you preach,” it’s time to integrate this narrative into your content marketing. And this has to be done cohesively and comprehensively. Your content and marketing should reinforce that message in order to cement it into your audience’s minds. The messaging shouldn’t contradict each other, your social media posts, blogs and online ads should be on the same page and on brand. Doing so will get your audiences nodding their heads. Remember, modern consumers are thoroughly connected. They’re parsing through all sorts of brand marketing and content – and filtering out unremarkable messages. Moreover, they’ll be able to perceive inauthentic and insincere materials, things that seem too fake and sale-sy. Even on Instagram, users and influencers alike are abandoning the platform’s stereotypically over-manicured aesthetic and going for more realistic styles. And they can quickly spot mistakes and remember them!

Maximize Mediums!

Storytelling is synergistic. As said before, when done right they complement one another and reinforce one another – becoming more than the sum of their parts. And when used incorrectly, the message might not go through because it’s not being broadcasted in enough mediums, or they’re contradicting each other and thus undermining the overall theme. Think about the best way brands get their messages across. Like blockbuster movies, which have a lot of resources but also need to recoup their exorbitant production costs. Nowdays a film like Avengers: Endgame or show like Game of Thrones won’t just rely on their trailers alone. While the previews are still highly anticipated they’re also supplemented by all sorts of interviews, brief behind the scenes snippets, social media promos, merchandise, advanced and hopefully spoiler-free reviews, and a smorgasbord of articles recapping the previous films or speculating on what’s going to happen or talking about the stars. Of course an average startup won’t have that kind of budget or reach, but the core idea is still the same content marketing-wise. An entrepreneur can boost his or her business by reaching out across all sorts of channels, by having a robust and responsive social media presence, having a well-designed logo that goes well with eye-catching imagery, smartly-produced videos, readable articles and other quality content. These can connect with one another. Like having the articles peppered with the images and with the videos embedded in them, social media posts previewing and linking to blogs, and infographics summing up articles or videos. All of these reinforcing the central message and story of what the business is, who are the people behind it, and how its products and services can help customers.

So Tell Your Story

Your brand deserves to have its story told in a worthy way that will be heard by and resonate with audiences. So up your content marketing game by harnessing the power of storytelling. Real narratives that will outshine the flood of generic and mass-produced material audiences are tired of skimming through. Above all else, your brand should be honest and truthful about about itself, Then its stories will be real, interconnected and compelling. -John Li