Today’s consumers are used to a flood of marketing and tune out blatant attempts to grab their attention. However, there’s a way to get your audience invested: storytelling marketing. This advertising approach isn’t new, but it’s also not easy — the human brain is wired to respond to organic storytelling and can easily tell when efforts aren’t genuine.
There is a way, however, to create an earnest narrative that engrosses the audience while cementing your brand in their minds. The key is understanding the core rules of successful storytelling and incorporating them seamlessly into your marketing.
What Is Storytelling in Content Marketing?
A content creation strategy creates a solid foundation for all other digital advertising. It fills your website with informative, well-written content and produces engaging posts for your blog. High-quality content serves as a vehicle for search engine optimization, encourages backlinks and creates a recognizable brand voice.
However, content on its own isn’t storytelling. Storytelling requires three things:
- A protagonist
- An antagonist
- A narrative
The protagonist is who the audience roots for — the hero in classic tales. While it’s possible to create sympathy for super-human protagonists, the simplest and most effective route is to make them relatable. For brands, this usually means positioning consumers as the protagonist — the heroes of their own stories.
The antagonist supplies the conflict by acting in opposition to the protagonist. Sometimes the antagonist is a person, but it can also be a cultural or societal norm, the environment or the hero’s inner demons. In a marketing context, it could be the glass ceiling, a traffic jam or self-doubt.
The narrative is what we generally think of as a “story.” The protagonist encounters the antagonist, engages in conflict and resolves it. This is where you illustrate how your company helps the protagonist overcome adversity. For example, if you sell coffee, the narrative could be that a young person (a stand-in for the consumer) experiences lethargy (the antagonist) in the morning. Your coffee gives them the energy to greet the day smiling.
What Can Storytelling Do for Your Brand?
Where can storytelling content marketing succeed where other techniques fall short? For starters, it gives you control over the narrative.
Your branding, company history and media reports impact how consumers view your enterprise. Based on this information, people will assign motives to your business, whether accurate or not. Incorporating storytelling into your branding gives you the best tools to influence consumer perception.
It’s also key to getting the audience to identify with your company. Today’s consumers are wary of faceless corporations and more likely to see them as antagonists than allies. Storytelling is so uniquely human that it can bridge the gap between a person and a corporate entity. In fact, the first parasocial relationships were those with fictional characters. Creating a narrative gives consumers the right context to see the human behind the logo.
What Is the Best Approach to Storytelling Marketing?
The fluid nature of storytelling allows brands to craft a narrative unique to their goals. While the specifics of your strategy will vary widely from your competitors, there are a few principles you can use to guide your efforts.
First, be genuine. Audiences can tell immediately when a storyteller is trying too hard, which comes off as manipulative. In contrast, people instantly connect with genuineness because they see themselves in it. To stay genuine, ditch the buzzwords and lofty pronouncements; speak to the audience with words they understand.
Second, know your audience. Who do you want to bring in the door? Whose opinion matters? Understanding these demographics will help you create a narrative that resonates with potential customers.
Third, utilize many types of media. While storytelling is often associated with the written word, there are many ways to spin a tale:
- Photos and illustrations
- Audio plays and music
Social media is the perfect place to experiment with the format since algorithms reward diverse media. It’s also an opportunity to invite consumers into the narrative by asking them to share their own stories.
Effective storytelling content marketing takes skill and investment. If you’re unsure where to begin, Unwired Web Solutions can help with our team of marketing experts. To learn more about our services, get in touch online or give us a call. With the right support, you can take control of your story.