I read a lot of children’s books. Why? My daughter is a year-and-a-half old and she loves everything there is about books—the cute characters, the allure of the bright colors on the pages, and some books even have texture (touch and feel). We can learn a lot about content storytelling through many forms of art, from cave paintings to children’s books. If content storytelling isn’t part of your blogging game plan, then it’s time to get on board.
A Story About Storytelling
Imagine the earliest humans with their hands stained red or black with charcoal from fire and clay. They paint visual stories on the walls of caves, depicting images of epic hunts, sources of food, or even warnings to those who come into the cave.
Not only did the earliest humans use storytelling on cave paintings, but it was also told verbally and through sign language around campfires. As society advanced, tales were told time and time again to inform, educate, and entertain. There were laughs, celebrations, and feelings of triumph and loss that stemmed from stories. Stories of war, love, betrayal, and loyalty were spread far and wide from campfire to campfire.
Today, we still tell stories around fires. In fact, Smithsonian Magazine says that stories and conversations around campfires may have shaped cognition and culture. That’s some powerful stuff.
You remember someone reading a story to you at bedtime when you were a child. You see stories in major motion pictures or you read them in your favorite novel. Storytelling is a major part of life no matter your age and it’s ingrained deep in our DNA.
The importance of storytelling in marketing is recognized and showcased through statistics such as the following:
Image Source: One Spot
Today, the most masterful marketers have managed to integrate storytelling into powerful content that builds customer connections and improves business.
But how? One major component is tapping into the psyche of your customer base.
Does Content Storytelling Affect Your Customer’s Psyche?
You better believe it.
Reading a story that demands awareness releases the hormone cortisol, including content that causes stress—such as hitting a pain point. This can be used as top of the funnel content.
When customers connect with content storytelling that encourages positive feelings, such as nostalgia or excitement, dopamine is released.
In some cases, oxycontin is released in the brain and cause customers to react in a desired manner. It’s the high point of content storytelling that moves customers clear through the funnel.
Not only can storytelling alter the brain on a chemical level, it also can make your brand more memorable. Although I’m a big advocate of publishing data on blogs, the Harvard Business Review says that storytelling is more persuasive than facts and figures. This is because a good story is often more memorable than a statistic, regardless of how interesting the stat might be.
By combining the age-old concept of storytelling with modern culture, it’s no wonder that content storytelling is so powerful for creating customer connections. A powerful story makes your brand more human, making it easier for customers to relate to you.
If you’re unsure that storytelling is the best approach for your content marketing efforts, consider the following.
When Should You Use Storytelling in Blogging?
Storytelling is an impactful approach to content marketing, but it’s not always the right approach. First, storytelling is on the opposite end of the spectrum of statistical content. It allows more room for creativity vs. facts and statistical data. It also offers the perspective of events that occurred, whether that perspective is yours or your customers’.
Storytelling in blogging is best suited for:
- You have a character (yourself or your customer) and a plot (an event) that you want to share.
- You have a solution to a problem that you want to communicate in a unique way, and a simple “How to” or “Guide” doesn’t feel strong enough.
- The potential story brings out a strong emotion.
- Customers are hesitant to buy from you—perhaps because your product or service is expensive or very new to the market.
- You have a strong message to share with truth behind your story.
Crafting Strong Stories for Your Blog Content
You’re ready to move forward with blog content storytelling. You sit down at your computer, convinced that a good story will create customer connections that result in sales.
While there isn’t necessarily a clear roadmap from point A to point B, there are elements that you can add to your blog to create the best story possible.
Writing for the Right Audience
If you write a book, or any type of content for that matter, the importance of knowing your audience is critical. For example, if you write a book about beginner gardening techniques, you won’t have many people buying your book who are avid, life-long gardeners. You are looking at a specific group of people who are new at gardening and know next to nothing about it.
This is where target audience analysis comes into play.
Image Source: Medium
Here are a few ways of collecting information for pinpointing an audience:
- Surveys, including current customers or social media followers.
- Social media analytics
- Google analytics
- Keyword research
- Reddit, with subreddits existing for countless niches, categories, and topics.
- Quora, including related search
With these tools, you can find demographic data such as age, occupation, gender, and educational level. Psychographic data may also play a role, including interests, hobbies, and even attitudes or opinions on specific topics.
You’ll piece the puzzle together by developing buyer personas. The persona can be as brief or as long as you choose. Consider using Marketo’s downloadable cheat sheet for creating a buyer persona.
Tapping into Customer Pain Points
One element of successful storytelling in content marketing is identifying paint points. Think of it in terms of problem, agitation, solution. When a customer understands that you can relate to their problem, you’re one step closer to building a lasting connection through your blog.
These are a few common themes when identifying pain points in business:
- Financial: The customer is experiencing problems that are causing financial strife, such as not making enough money.
- Productivity: The customer doesn’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish XYZ.
- Process: The customer has issues with the internal flow within the organization.
- Support: The customer needs additional support at various aspects of the sales funnel.
Once you identify a pain point, you can begin to craft a story around it and mirror it back to the customer as they’re experiencing it.
The pain point allows you to set up the story so the customer knows what to expect moving forward. Most likely, they’ll expect you to offer a solution at the end of your blog post.
So, you know who is reading your story and you know what you need to do to hit certain pain points. How do you move forward from here?
Setting: Focus on How You Want Customers to Feel
In one way or another, stories make people feel some type of emotion. Do you want them to feel relieved that they found your product or service? How about feeling a sense of urgency? You can also help your customers feel empowered or inspired.
The way you make your customer feel a certain way all comes down to your writing style. You might even need to hire a copywriter to pinpoint the exact wording that can inspire your audience to act.
When it comes to word choice, you can implement power words throughout your post. This helps paint a picture of how you want your customers to feel at the given moment. These power words are great for writing blog headlines, but they are also effective for connecting to your customers when sprinkled throughout your content.
Word choice is very important when it comes to feelings, but so is setting. In terms of setting, focus on what matters most to your audience. What do they really care about?
With a feeling-focus approached, you’re on the fast track to establishing powerful connections with your storytelling and blogging efforts.
Customer Connection: Be Relatable
Have you ever read a story where you couldn’t relate at all? You probably zoned out or just stopped reading entirely.
No matter how you frame your story, customers will always see you as a business or brand. But that doesn’t mean you have to act disconnected through your content.
These are a few elements that will help make your content storytelling approach more relatable:
We Share the Same Problem
Demonstrate that you understand the problem your audience is trying to solve. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same problem as well. Go into detail with how this problem impacts your own life or the life of other customers you’ve worked with. This allows the customer to compare notes and see that they aren’t alone in their problems while you hint at a solution.
We Care About Improving Your Problem
It’s not always about making money. Give your customers a good reason why you care. Perhaps you’re offering a solution that benefits children and you have 3 kids yourself. Explain how the process of improving lives inspires you to get out of bed every day.
We Can Help You
It’s not about features and solutions or bells and whistles. At the end of the day, people want to know that you’re going to do as expected. You’re going to fulfill your end of the bargain and provide a stellar product or service.
When you hit the right marks by focusing on feeling and relatability, you can find customers connecting to your brand in the following ways:
Image Source: Business2Community
Leverage Your Unique Writing Style
Your writing style offers flair that you can’t find anywhere else. It differentiates your brand from the competition, and this style alone can keep readers coming back for more.
In this blogging tips video, I share a few ways to develop a unique blog writing style for your brand.
What’s Your Blogging Story?
If you’re ready to make storytelling a part of your blog strategy, we’re here to help. As a highly creative blog writer, I’m ready to help craft your unique story while connecting your brand with customers.