The power of content marketing and storytelling
Traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute; as a forward-thinking marketer, you need to think of a better way.
To survive, brands needs to have an edge of some sort. Small businesses need an edge just to make a name for themselves but also big companies need an edge to win over more customers and retain existing ones.
A great product or service may not be enough to succeed. So, what do you need? A strong content marketing strategy.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Instead of pushing your products or services in front of an audience, you provide truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their problems.
Content marketing is a golden opportunity to show off your unique voice and demonstrate how you can improve the lives of your customers.
Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process. Great quality content is the back and bones of all forms of marketing:
- Social media marketing: Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
- SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
- PR: Successful PR strategies address issues readers care about, not their business.
- PPC: For PPC to work, you need great content behind it.
- Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
- Content strategy: Content strategy is part of most content marketing strategies.
Developing the content in a content marketing strategy is about creating stories that resonate with your target audience. It’s about the differentiated experiences that we want to create for our customers. That’s why ‘storytelling’ is a fundamental skill any marketer should master when creating a content marketing strategy.
Storytelling is not intended to be a ‘selling’ tool – it is a method of building strong relationships with your customers and a thriving community of loyalists over time. Your story identifies what your passions are and serves as the foundation for all your future content developments.
What are the steps for a compelling storytelling?
How can you create content that sparks conversations across your niche? You want to develop great engaging content that is shared, mentioned and liked online with very little effort on your part. Here are some things you should consider before you start.
Set the basics
Before creating your company’s or brand’s storytelling, you must determine a set of information, such as your company/brand positioning, your customers segmentation and the business’ goals.
Having all this in mind is vital to establish the guiding thread of the story. You should be able to answer the following questions:
- What do you want to tell?
- Who do you want to tell it to?
- Why do you want to tell it?
- Where do you want to tell it?
- What is the main goal?
- How many leads do you intend to gain?
- How many leads do you want to convert into actual customers?
All these goals are a reference, but each company should adapt them to what makes more sense in a particular business area.
Develop the brief
There is no perfect and infallible formula to create a good story, but we know that a good story is measured by the impact it has on people, and not because it fulfils a list of requirements. All of the goals defined in the previous step should be a part of the briefing used to create the story.
It is a good idea to identify the target readers for your stories. Many brands and companies create a ‘persona’ to live that story. It’s a kind of imaginary character that helps the process of producing a story guide as if the story had to be told to that ‘persona’. We also know that telling a story is not enough. It should be kept in mind what is the message you want to convey even before outlining the strategy.
A powerful introduction
The introduction is a key element in the story’s structure. It is when you pinpoint the character, the location, the environment and the situation in which he stands before ‘something’ happens. Here, the process of creating empathy in your audience begins. At this stage, it is vital to create a strong connection because relating to the character will get your viewer (customer) interested in your story and continue paying attention to what you are communicating.
Define the problem
The presentation of the problem should immediately follow the introduction to make sure that the curiosity acts as a linking element between the audience and the story. The problem should be the pain points your target customers are facing in a particular situation. The problem should create empathy, and the audience should relate to the story. The story will then show your potential customers how you can solve their problems, establishing an instant identification between the potential customer and the product or service that your company is presenting.
This is the moment when we introduce your brand or your company as the big modifying agent that will help your ‘persona’ to solve the problem, which before seemed impossible to figure out.
A real example
One of our clients – GreenZone – is a great example of how you can use the power of content and storytelling to deliver a message with a bigger impact. GreenZone is a London based commercial and industrial cleaning company. They are the UK’s only truly environmentally focused commercial cleaning company. The company was founded in 2009 to address the identified need for a niche, highly service orientated and environmentally friendly cleaning company.
GreenZone aims to challenge all industry preconceptions and deliver the cleanest and most service focused customer experience, whilst achieving new benchmarks in sustainability and technical innovation.
Since 2013 GreenZone has been awarded with the Planet Mark certification for its environmental performance and strong values, which are embedded in the business and inspire the company’s attitude.
GreenZone is also working in partnership with Cool Earth, an award-winning charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction, to set a new standard in terms of sustainability awareness in an industry that is often not that respectful of the environment.
Through their content marketing strategy, GreenZone is aiming at setting a new benchmark in sustainability whilst inspiring behavioural change.
Over the years, the power of their stories has allowed GreenZone to communicate their core values and engage with like-minded brands and organisations, ultimately delivering more sales leads and customers.