Stories are not just about bears and princesses and poorly made houses – and storytelling is certainly not just for bedtime.
Due to the sheer amount of content flooding the web on a daily basis it is no longer enough to produce bland “so what” blog posts if you want to earn your target market’s attention. You need to tell a story.
Your audience has to be enticed by your content or they won’t keep reading and they certainly won’t help your engagement or conversion metrics.
Does your content pass the scan test?
Research has shown that 79% of web users just scan the content they see on the web without actually reading it word for word. This means that unless you can hook your reader within the first sentence or provide something that is so visually appealing it intrigues them, your content is most likely getting overlooked.
Put simply, people are busy. Consumers are inundated with information, and due to a luxury of choice they can afford to overlook a large portion of what is in front of them for a similar product or service that is bound to pop up down the line.
This is where storytelling becomes an important aspect of content creation, because essentially, stories have the power to engage and captivate an audience.
The AIDA model is a great example of how to build a story into a compelling piece of content: get the reader’s attention, build their interest, create a desire for the product or service and ideally influence them to take a particular action.
If you can use this method (or similar) to deliver your message you will have a much better chance of getting through to your customers, and avoiding them just scrolling past.
Tell a story – but also give it a credible source
It helps to think of storytelling as the framework for your message – it’s the language you use and the journey that you take your reader on, but your story still needs its’ “hero”, that is, something that your audience can take away from your content that benefits them. This could be a statistic, a news update, or a little known fact about your topic or brand.
Engaging your customers and keeping them interested is brilliant, but teaching them something is even better. There are plenty of articles on the web that simply regurgitate what is already common knowledge, just so companies can stay on their customers’ radar. To break away from the crowd and provide something unique to your audience it is important to do some research and give them something valuable, something they can actually use.
The best method for creating this kind of educational content is to base it off a credible source. Try using statistics discovered from a research paper or data from a survey as the hook for your article, and then create your story from there. It is far more beneficial for your readers if you can offer something fresh and interesting rather than just more listicles containing the same old stuff.
Providing verifiable and relevant information not only improves your credibility but is also likely to encourage your prospective customers to see you as a trustworthy brand. And as Google continues to seek out new quality signals, properly-sourced articles will pay dividends with better search results.
Quality over Quantity
This leads to another vital point which may seem counterproductive to the content marketing process: you don’t always need to sell.
Keeping customers loyal and staying on their radar can sometimes be more beneficial than jamming a call to action in every piece of content you create. Storytelling is intended to create strong business relationships and create familiarity with your brand – it doesn’t necessarily have to persuade customers into making a purchase right away.
Obviously the end goal will be to increase conversions, but if your brand can become trusted by your audience they are much more likely to consider you first when they do decide to make their purchase. If you can overcome bland and boring content like Snow White overcame the Wicked Queen, you too can be fairest of them all and win your customers hearts.