Why Storytelling Is the Missing Ingredient In Your Content Strategy
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Today, we’re bombarded with data and information. It’s difficult to remember everything we hear – especially when it comes from a brand we don’t know or trust.
In today's content-saturated world, content marketing is a must for any business. However, many companies are missing the key ingredient in their content strategy: storytelling.
We all want to be remembered by our customers and prospects. But how can you make sure your message sticks? Stories are one of the most powerful tools for marketing success because they’re memorable, emotional and engaging. They bring people closer to your brand by showing them who you are as an organization and why you do what you do. And that makes them more likely to purchase from you in the future.
Storytelling is the core of human culture and has been used to educate people and inspire action for centuries because it connects with our emotions on a deeper level.
The reason why storytelling works on our brains is because it taps into two powerful mental processes that make ideas stickier and easier for us to remember – social validation and emotional arousal. When we hear or read about something new, it’s not only hard for us to not only accept but also to remember this new idea if it doesn’t fit with what we already know about the world around us. That's where social validation comes in - when someone else tells us that they've heard of this new idea before, then we're more likely to believe them and accept their claim as true. This makes sense from an evolutionary point of view since being able to trust others' judgments was essential for survival.
Marketers need to start adding storytelling to their content marketing strategy if they want their content to be effective. There that your content is remembered and shared, the more that it motivates and inspires action, the more likely it will be successful.
Why do stories stick with us?
For a better understanding, let us take a look at why stories are so effective in the first place.
Studies show that instead of just deploying facts, using storytelling increases content recall by over 22%. Additionally, this technique motivates viewers to engage with content on social media. Studies also show that 92% of consumers want advertisements to tell a story and 55% saying they would be more likely to buy if they liked the story.
In fact, recent scientific research that shows chemicals like cortisol, dopamine and oxytocin are released in the brain when someone hears a story.
Cortisol assists with creating memories in brain.
Dopamine helps regulate emotional responses which keeps us engaged.
Oxytocin helps create deeper connections through empathy.
If you’re looking for a way to cut through the clutter and get your audience’s attention, storytelling is one of the most powerful tools available. It helps people remember what they hear (and see). Importantly, stories can drive home important points about your products or services like nothing else can.
So where do you start?
You can start by sharing stories that showcase your company's values and mission statement. Having a clear mission or purpose will help you improve content that is more likely to resonate with your audience.
In this one minute video 20EVO helped David Vanderveen introduce his new brand
Build your story around four main points
who you are
what you do
what you care about
why it matters
A good content strategy should focus on the human journey, not just your company's products or services. The right content can help you build trust and credibility with your audience which will lead them to become customers. Remember that content marketing is not about you, rather it's about how your products or services can help customers on their own journeys.
For XSNation we developed a short biography of
Anthony Walsh to help launch their Experience More campaign
If you're trying to share your company culture with the world, or if you want people to see what goes into making your product from start-to-finish, high quality visual content is key.
You can use professional video and/or photography to provide a visual for your audience which will deepen the connection. Having good quality images will help viewers picture themselves within the story being told.
Instead of a linear fashion, which leads to boring content, try to tell your story in an arch form having a clear beginning, middle and end. There's a reason this formula is used by most story tellers. It works! If you can do this well, your marketing will be more effective than if you just try to tell them everything at once.
When filling up all your digital touch points crafting your stories, keep in mind, most consumers have short attention spans. But don’t ignore the power of telling longer stories when the subject matter warrants.
Use a variety of styles and formats:
Blog posts with strong images
Long form videos on YouTube and your website
Shorter videos for Instagram, Facebook, TickTock, and the brand new YouTube shorts
Corporate videos offer a great starting point for brands to get their message out through a storytelling format. By telling your foundational story in a compelling way, you offer customers an opportunity to rally around the brand you are marketing.
To make your content marketing strategy more effective, start using storytelling. Studies show that by incorporating story into their communications, marketers can increase the amount of time people spend with a particular piece of content and, significantly, recall what they read or watched afterwards.
The most successful stories include four main points – who you are (tell them about yourself), what you do (give an overview of the services or products that you provide), why it matters (why is this important to those reading and viewing?), and how you have helped others in your industry before. Remember, it always helps if these points come across as personal.
You might think it sounds easy enough, but many brands struggle when they try to tell their story. If you’re having trouble coming up with content ideas, start by putting your content in the context of a human journey and consider how it can help people along that path. By sharing content such as blog posts, long form videos on YouTube or Vimeo, short videos for Instagram or Facebook, images that shape copy, and content that includes a video or image, you’ll be able to better tell your story.
Because it helps people remember what they hear (and see), stories can drive home important points about your products or services like nothing else.
Check out our page about documentaries where we used
story telling in "Returning Home" that fit our sponsored brands ethos
However you chose to share it, take the time to craft content that can have an emotional impact on viewers and improve engagement.
Are there areas where storytelling would help your marketing strategy? Let us know!
We're always happy to talk with our clients about their marketing strategies and see how they could leverage storytelling within them throughout all stages of the funnel, from lead generation through conversion rates. If you want more advice on implementing these tips or just need someone who understands marketing online, schedule a call. Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours?