Let me tell you a story about…storytelling. A powerful story is the necessary foundation of successful content. As marketers, we can’t truly connect with our audience unless we craft a storyline that resonates with them. We need to give them something to relate to, empathize with, question or challenge. Storytelling is the secret to great branding and, ultimately, to buyer engagement.
Pixar, Dove and even Dos Equis have been lauded for their hard-hitting messaging, relatable characters and even tearjerker plot lines. There are a lot of tips and best practices B2B brands can take from these companies, but it’s not as easy as swiping ideas straight from their content arsenal. Creating a great story requires careful thought, understanding of target buyers, and maybe some outside inspiration. So this week, we’ve curated some fun articles that focus on storytelling tips and examples to inspire you:
- It all starts with an idea: “Duh, Alicia,” you probably muttered as you read this subhead. But I think we can all agree that it’s sometimes really challenging to come up with good ideas! This piece from Aki Merced, which was published on Business2Community, outlines five ways you can come up with stellar content ideas. Some of them are as simple as sifting through social groups and asking the right questions. Yes, it’s really that easy!
- Create an authentic story from your initial idea: Once you have an idea, consider how you can turn it into a relevant, compelling and authentic story. There are some key requirements, according to the folks at NewsCred. For example: It must be true, human and original. Most importantly, your story should serve your customers. Once you have the nuts and bolts in place, you can start to build your storytelling machine! This blog post offers five ways you can use storytelling in your content to drive business growth.
- Get your design team on board: Like your favorite fairy tale or storybook, great content has powerful visuals — whether they’re static or interactive. Collaborate with your design team to see how they can come up with visual elements, compelling callouts, custom graphics and even characters to augment your story. There are a lot of cool design techniques, technologies and platforms to help you create unique experiences. This blog from Ceros outlines a few recent examples of great animated microsites and content assets.
- Seek outside inspiration: Not every B2B brand can get Jean-Claude Van Damme to star in a commercial, but Volvo Trucks still has a really great story to tell around how its content went viral. Video was a really important ingredient in the content strategy, but the company always repurposed and reused content across multiple channels. This approach helped keep the story consistent and undoubtedly helped them get the story out faster to different audiences. (If you want to look deeper into the value of repurposing and get some tactical best practices, you can check out our best-practices guide here.) Always be on the lookout for stories like this to inspire you and help you refine your strategies. Companies like Contently are continually posting cool case studies and success stories like this one to inspire the content marketing masses.
As the content marketing landscape becomes more flooded with content, B2B firms need to do everything they can to differentiate themselves. And sometimes, a great story is all it takes to stand out from the pack. If you want to learn what formats your buyers prefer to read and share your stories, check out our latest Content Preferences Survey.