Do you remember back in grade school when you used acronyms to remember things? Things difficult to remember, such as the order of operation or the branches of taxonomy, became short sentences that had characters and were easier to learn. ‘Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally’ or ‘King Philip Came Over For Grandma’s Spaghetti’ are more memorable than the concepts they represent. Why is that?
Humans are innately tuned to listen to and retain stories.
Okay, cool, but what does that have to do with marketing, and why should I care?
In the B2B marketing world, there are a lot of industries and companies that might, at first glance, sound boring. If you’re in one of those industries, coming up with interesting content might seem difficult. But, in the world of marketing, every industry and every company has a powerful story to tell. Powerful stories unite a company, build credibility, and engage current and future companies. If you’re looking to build up your brand and drive more customer engagement and revenue growth, you need content that tells engaging stories about your business.
Here are just a few of the stories you can use to fuel your content strategy and help your brand connect effortlessly to your audience:
1. Your own story
If you’re a company with a deep history, let your audience know that! Include pictures, a timeline, anything that will help the reader understand where you are coming from throughout your marketing efforts. If your company is younger, talk about your founders and what the purpose of the company is. Another thing to call out is your location – explain how long you have been a part of your local community, and anything you have done to support your locale.
You can also approach this strategy from a personal perspective by incorporating your future vision of the company. While you probably won’t write a page detailing your 5-year plan, you can keep your goals in mind and create content to express them. An example of this might be broadening your content topics to attract your ideal future client base, or writing thought leadership pieces that will make your website stand out from the crowd and open future networking possibilities.
2. Your customer’s story
One of the most influential types of content you can have on your website are case studies and testimonials. A study by Social Fresh found that customer testimonials have an 89% effectiveness rating among content marketing tactics. Throughout the research and consideration phase of your audience’s customer journey, they will be looking at what resources you have available to assess your abilities.
If you’re a long-standing company, you probably have a few customers willing to sign their names to a testimonial quote about you, your business, and your results. Testimonials are most valuable when you can link them to a specific person or company, but if your clients wish to remain anonymous, a thorough explanation of the problems you solved for them will suffice.
If you’re a younger company that hasn’t produced many quantifiable results yet, see if you can get some of your customers to provide quotes about how responsive you are to their needs, or about other traits that are good to have in a business partner.
3. An imaginary story
Okay, so don’t go posting a fictional tale about dragons and magic just yet. But do take a second to step into the story of your ideal client. Take a few minutes to think through what brought them to your website, what is troubling them, and what solution they’re after.
For example, say you run a car repair company. Get into the mindset of someone who needs a car repair. What information are you looking for when you conduct Google searches? What questions do you need answered? How are you feeling when you are researching companies? What is the most likely car issue that you have?
This process can provide the framework for a content strategy that truly speaks to your audience’s experiences. In the car repair scenario, perhaps you could create a blog series that teaches readers how to tell what the funny sound their car is making might be. Or you can create an interactive quiz to help a user determine what service they need. When you have an established idea of what your customer is looking for, it makes creating relevant storytelling content that much easier.
There are, of course, other ways to use storytelling in marketing, but these 3 story types will get you on the right track for a well-developed content strategy.
Need additional content strategy guidance? Learn more about our content marketing services.