by Pierre de Braux, content strategist at Spiralytics, Inc
Storytelling has been the basis of content marketing for over a century now, one of the original storytellers being agricultural equipment manufacturing company John Deere. The company published a brand magazine back in 1985 not to sell products, but to educate farmers on how they could become successful business owners.
Since then, many brands have jumped on the storytelling bandwagon and utilized “non-promotional” content to build relationships with their existing and prospective customers through traditional media channels. However, with the mass adoption of the internet, the barriers to entry into the storytelling world have all but gone. Nowadays, through blogs, social media and a multitude of other content distribution channels, any brand can easily begin publishing content online with minimal effort.
The benefits of Storytelling.
Storytelling provides brands with an opportunity to connect with their audience on a more personal level. Something that cannot be achieved with equal effect when using promotional advertising that is brand or product-focused.
Here are just a few of the benefits that come with storytelling:
It can help brands develop their personalities. Whether it’s through owned content or user-generated content, you should never be afraid to humanize your brand. It makes your message more relatable and can really help distinguish yourself from the competition.
It can strike an emotional chord with your audience. This can really help your audience members develop a positive affinity with your brand, increasing the propensity for them to become loyal customers and brand advocates. Telling real stories that evoke feelings and emotions forms bonds between readers and your brand, encouraging engagement and appreciation.
It can keep your audience coming back for more. Not only does this increase the profitability of your current customers, it also increases conversion rates regarding your target prospects who haven’t yet made a purchase. When the stories that your brand tells are truly compelling, your audience will thank you by being loyal and helping to spread the good word.
The Psychology Behind Storytelling.
Since the beginning, it has been the power of storytelling that has tied the minds of us humans and connected all of us in astonishing ways. Stories have the universal power to take simple words and give them a soul, allowing them to take on a life of their own. When you’re a marketer or salesperson, using storytelling to captivate your audience really does grab their attention and keep them listening.
Stories have the ability to stir emotions deep inside us, a direct consequence of neurochemistry which causes our body chemicals to affect the way that we feel about something. These chemicals have also been known to create sensory experiences that increase the likelihood of a person is parting with their money.
Humans are naturally inclined to care about other people over inanimate objects, so make sure that your story has characters they can relate to. This will increase your ability to invoke sympathy and really get through to your audience. When you’re able to take your readers on a mental journey, you can really start to appeal to their pain points and provide a solution through your brand and its offerings.
Wrapping Things Up.
Chances are, if you’re a marketer or a salesperson, you’re probably already incorporating storytelling practices into your traditional pitch. However, being aware of the emotional triggers and exactly what elicits the strongest response from your audience can enhance your abilities to attract, convince and convert.
Keep in mind that the most compelling stories always have a hero, a goal, an obstacle and a moral. These factors will define your story’s success and provide your audience with an actionable message. Another element that really boosts your story’s credibility is the “truth”. Honesty is a refreshing attribute these days, so use it to give your story something remarkable for your audience to remember.
Whether you’re storytelling to build awareness for your brand or you want to utilize it to enhance your ability to attract customers, your audience will greatly appreciate your efforts, as long as you’re doing it right. Great stories translate to sales, making them an extremely powerful marketing tool.
Your brand’s story can be an amazing one, you just have to know how to tell it.
Pierre de Braux is a content strategist at Spiralytics, Inc who enjoys reading, writing and learning about pretty much anything sales and marketing-related. He loves sports, food, meeting new people and of course, watching cat videos. Follow Pierre on Twitter @PierredeBraux.