Content marketing as a whole is all about building authority and trust, and one of the most effective ways to achieve that is through storytelling. Brands who share stories about their experiences and opinions provide others with an insight into their business and this serves as a testimonial. In developing a brand narrative, there are three elements that each story should include – relevance to your audience, authenticity and familiarity. When stories include these factors, it builds trust in a way that some other content marketing methods can’t always achieve as effectively. Here are some of the cornerstones of storytelling and how to incorporate this tactic into your brand’s content marketing strategy to foster connections and establish credibility.
When you’re disingenuous with your storytelling, it can quickly backfire. This method of content marketing works best when you’re transparent with your audience and share real anecdotes, backing them with quotes or third-party evidence. Consumers value the truth over what sounds best, so even if storytelling involves you acknowledging weaknesses in your business, the results can be hugely beneficial in the long term. Marketing guru Seth Godin points out that the trick to telling a great story is to be consistent and authentic, because “consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on”.
Support your storytelling with photos and video content
People enjoy looking at and sharing photos and videos, so adding these to your storytelling efforts is a great way to connect with your audience. There are a few different ways to achieve this, from making infographics that share data in a more visual way to making your content more enticing on social media by combining images with link sharing. To utilise video, why not add a video to your about page instead of the standard text and image or add videos to Instagram to break up your feed with different content. User-generated content can also work well to gain traction and engage your audience by developing a community that your customers can participate in. User-generated storytelling will help to build trust and expand your reach. There are various ways to develop this type of content, such as hosting a social media takeover with bloggers or through guest posts for your blog from influential customers.
Make it meaningful
When you’re crafting your story, you need to ask yourself if there’s a hook that will resonate with your audience specifically. Storytelling is most effective when it has a personal slant to it, so knowing what you know about your audience will come in useful here. Build your content in a way that your customers can see themselves in the story you’re telling. This can be done in a number of ways, from case studies and testimonials to content that features thought leaders and influencers. Whichever method you choose, it’s critical that you frame each scenario or challenge in a way that your audience can relate to, as empathy is key in gaining and maintaining their trust.
Shout about success stories
Your clients have stories to tell too, so harness this. Consumers have so many platforms where they can share their thoughts and opinions and if you’ve built long-term relationships with them, then you are probably already aware of their stories. But make sure you get their permission to share before creating content from them. Most people will be more than willing to share their stories, providing you skip over any confidential information, and there are several ways to create content this way, such as an interview with them. Employing these stories in your brand’s storytelling journey not only inspires your audience but it also helps your client build their authority as well, so it’s a win-win for both parties. The content curated from interviews are not only unique but they’re also genuine, something that your audience will really appreciate.
Make the most of recurring themes
When it comes to storytelling, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. Making the most of recurring themes helps to make your narrative more memorable and effective, and it’s a way of encouraging your audience to take note of what your brand has to say. Telling the same stories, but in different ways and from different perspectives, can help you develop an expanding and ongoing narrative that continues to build trust and confidence.
Back up your stories with data
It’s estimated that 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second, for each person on earth, by 2020. With this in mind, it’s vital that companies leverage data in order to create engaging yet targeted stories for their consumers. Using data to back up content helps your brand to cut through the online noise and provides more detailed solutions to problems your audience might be experiencing. Data is important when you’re developing useful content that doesn’t just tell a story but also resonates with your target consumers. Making the most of the insight data can provide helps your brand tell a unique story that you can be sure has demand and a need behind it.
Brand storytelling drives engagement and builds trust with your audience which can help to enhance your business’ performance. It’s also a way to differentiate your brand from others in your industry and makes you a thought leader, through creating emotionally-compelling content. People are always going to seek out content that informs and entertains them, and that is most relevant to their interests so as a brand so, as a brand, you need to find ways to share meaningful content that has them in mind.