Why Your Content Strategy Needs To Include Storytelling

Written by Lucy Jones

Nov 14 2016

content strategy storytelling

Brand storytelling helps to align your business, prospects and customers by creating a genuine, human connection. Here's what you need to know to include storytelling in your content.

Connect With Your Audience Via Brand Storytelling

Why do you create quality, consistent, buyer-relevant content?

 

At a top-level your answer may be ‘to generate leads’, or ‘to build brand awareness’, or ‘to help my SEO’.

 

But thinking deeper, your content must also inform and help your buyers and encourage trust-building and connection with your brand. It must work to distinguish you from the ever-growing digital noise.

 

In short, you create content to stand out and create a connection with your audience - which is exactly what storytelling achieves.

Why Your B2B Business Needs To Start Storytelling

Storytelling is more than a campfire activity or part of your children’s bedtime routine.

 

Brand storytelling is about creating an alignment between your business, your prospects and customers by making a human connection and being genuine.

On average, Google processes 40,000 search queries every second. That’s a lot of people looking for a lot of content.

Of course, making a memorable connection in today’s marketing landscape is hard. According to HubSpot, the average adult spends more than 20 hours each week accessing digital media. On average, Google processes 40,000 search queries every second. That’s a lot of people looking for a lot of content.

 

So how can you get in front of your audience and earn attention with so much content? The answer is to give your audience (your buyers) content they can relate to and connect with; content that resonates with their own stories and worldview (as Seth Godin details in his book ‘All Marketers Tell Stories’) and helps them solve their challenges.

Give your audience content they can relate to and connect with; content that resonates with their own stories and worldview.

How To Create Great Brand Stories

Brand storytelling is about creating an alignment between your business, your prospects and customers by making a human connection and being genuine.

A brand story is more than what you write on your website, and is more than your product, industry or business history. A great brand story explores why you’re doing what you’re doing, and tells it in a way that appeals to your audience.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. - Simon Sinek


If you’re already supporting your marketing campaigns with persona-driven, challenge focused content, you’re on the right track.

 

But are you telling great stories? To incorporate storytelling into your content:

 

  • Make sure you firstly communicate why you do what you do, then explore how you help your buyers, before detailing what you do/offer. By focussing on the why first, you can tap into the buyer’s feelings and emotion - and start building that relevant connection.

 

  • Ensure you can create emotional appeal in your content. Emotional appeal works to attract attention and makes your story memorable. To achieve this, you need to understand your personas inside-out. What makes them tick? What are their pain points that you can solve?

 

  • Create content that is always empathetic, authentic and genuine, then present it in a clear and concise way. Consider your tone here; typically second person can work to build a connection with your audience, but first and third person may suit, depending on the context.

 

  • Consider the three main elements of storytelling in each piece of content. You need:
    • Characters: These are the readers (or buyer personas) that your content must help and speak to. Think: what attributes do your buyer personas have that the ‘characters’ in your content must reflect? Are you addressing a specific job title? Are your 'characters' based in a certain area? Your buyer persona readers must recognise themselves as the central ‘characters’ within your content in order for that content to resonate. Make sure the theme, tone, and subject of your content relates to your buyer ‘character’ for it to appeal.
    • Conflict. This is the lesson in how your character can transform through solving their challenges (i.e. their persona challenges and pain points). The conflict is the central driver behind your story and must align with your personas, their business pain, and their position in the buyer’s journey.      
    • Resolution. This is how the story ends; i.e. how your characters can advance, and how the conflict can be resolved. Resolution may form the concluding part of your content - or it may be explained further in a next step (ie, a CTA to another content download).

 

Lastly, make sure you think about the wider 'story' (buyer, challenge, resolution) in every piece of content you create, from video to case studies, to articles. A brand story isn’t just an abstract idea - it should be a present part of everything you create.

Starting the Story

Ready to create your own stories in your content? To begin, make sure you really understand your buyers and their challenges. If you’re already basing content around the business challenges your buyers have (that you can solve), you’re on the right track. As BuzzSumo recently explored, it may also help to focus on data to drive your storytelling. Trends, comparisons, and unusual data can lead to great stories, so long as the data resonates with the buyer/character.

 

Above all, be relevant, focus on building meaningful connections - and always remember to start with why you do what you do, not what.