The Power of Storytelling in Content Marketing

The Power Of Storytelling In Content Marketing

When you set out to sell a product or otherwise persuade someone to do something, your brain probably immediately turns to facts and figures. After all, once people hear that your new product is less expensive and more effective than your leading competitor, why wouldn’t they buy it?

The problem is, research shows that facts and figures alone aren’t persuasive. What makes people more likely to take action? Emotion. And what evokes emotion? Story.

“If I ask you to think about something, you can decide not to,” writes story coach Lisa Cron in her book Wired for Story. “But if I make you feel something? Now I have your attention.”

Humans have been telling stories for as long as we’ve had a language to tell them in. Our ancestors knew that stories were a powerful way to relay important information to their audience. When the brain processes information, it translates it into a narrative. We think in stories, remember stories, and turn our experiences into stories.

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What is storytelling content?

Storytelling is simply the art of using “an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment” to share a message. In content marketing, storytelling is the process of using narrative to connect with your audience.

A good story provides useful information in the form of a narrative, is emotional and engaging, and conveys a message that is important to your customers. A good story also inspires or motivates the reader to take action.

Storytelling is both an art and a science. It requires creativity and vision. It takes time and practice to identify the proper message for a good storytelling campaign and to execute it in a way that elicits the desired emotional response. It isn’t something you can master in one sitting.

The power of storytelling is also supported by research. Studies show that a good story can increase the brain’s levels of oxytocin — a neurotransmitter that helps motivate positive reciprocal behavior. Oxytocin can elicit empathy and cooperation, which may inspire someone to perform a beneficial action. Our brains are wired to respond to stories.

How effective is storytelling in marketing?

Stories don’t just evoke emotion, they’re also more memorable. Stanford Marketing Professor Jennifer Aaker reports that “Stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone.”

Today’s consumers are adept at filtering out traditional advertising strategies. But, they will still become invested in a story. Effective storytelling can boost a company’s conversion rate by 30 percent, reports Search Engine Watch.

Still, many organizations have yet to embrace storytelling as a marketing strategy. If you haven’t incorporated storytelling into your company’s content marketing, you’re missing out on a powerful tool that can help you build relationships and increase your conversion rate.

Benefits of storytelling in marketing

When done well, storytelling can:

  • Help build a stronger connection with your audience
  • Add a human element to your brand, which can help make your brand appear more trustworthy and authentic
  • Bind together content that may otherwise seem disconnected
  • Helps organizations share their brand values and vision in a way that captures the reader’s attention
  • Helps build brand loyalty
interactive content

How is storytelling used in content marketing?

The key elements of storytelling in content marketing are the same elements that make for a great movie or a book you can’t put down: you need a relatable character, conflict, and a resolution. Conflict usually means that your character wants something, but something is preventing them from achieving their goal of realizing their desired outcome. If the character immediately gets what they want, there is no conflict, and thus no story.

In content marketing, your product or service is typically what brings about the resolution — it allows the character to overcome the obstacles, reach their goal, or fix their problem.

What are the storytelling techniques?

Before you sit down to write your story, you need to figure out a few key components. Try these techniques for crafting compelling and emotionally evocative narratives.

1. Know your audience

You can’t write a story that will captivate your audience and entice them to take action if you don’t know who they are and what they care about. If you don’t already have written buyer personas, take the time to create some before you dive into storytelling. This will help you figure out what your audience wants, and what’s keeping them from getting it.

2. Define your theme

Every story has a theme. The theme is the story’s central topic or core message. What is the statement you are trying to make with your story? What do you want your readers to take away from it? Your theme should be clear, but don’t be heavy-handed with it. Let readers figure it out for themselves.

3. Determine your call-to-action

Not all stories will elicit the same response. What sort of action do you want to inspire in your readers? Do you want them to buy a product, donate to a worthy cause, or simply sign up for your mailing list? Make sure you give your readers a clear call to action, and that it aligns with the tone and message of the story.

Need help with storytelling in your content marketing strategy? Contact the team at ContentWriters. Our vetted writers are ready to craft expert content for any industry.

She is the Director of Content for a medical marketing agency, and is certified in inbound marketing, content marketing, email marketing, site structure, and keyword research.

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