Content marketing and the ancient art of storytelling

When marketing your brand online, your greatest challenge is standing out from the competition.

In an online world full of advertisement, people prefer to feel like they’re not being sold something, and intrusive marketing methods are in decline these days. Storytelling, however, has been popular throughout the existence of the human race. Telling a story is a great way to define your brand and connect with people on a higher level.

What’s your story?

A story is more than just a fixed collection of facts presented in an ordered narrative. Your aim is to connect with your audience, so your story should be told in a way that will trigger a response in them. Get to know what your audience is talking about on social media. Establish what matters to them, and then adapt your storytelling appropriately.

The elements of a good story

You can find various definitions for what makes a good story. From a content marketing viewpoint, however, ask the following five questions:

• Is your story going to be relevant to your target audience? If you need to consider multiple audiences, you can always adapt your story for different channels.

• Is now the right time to be telling your story? Some stories are universal and timeless, but others might seem outdated or only appeal during a particular season.

• Is there a conflict involved? Just like with a good novel, readers love to hear about how the main character overcomes challenges and adversity.

• Does your story have a unique twist? Stories with an unusual element are generally more appealing to readers.

• Does your story present a human face for your brand or company? People rarely fall in love with corporate entities, but if your story can humanise your brand, it will be easier for people to form an emotional connection with it.

Be empathetic but credible

Savvy marketers appreciate the importance of meeting the emotional needs of the audience. With your story, you can help people to feel the emotions they want to feel. One way to achieve this is to have your audience at the centre of your story, because this shows your empathy towards them.

At all times, you should avoid the temptation to mix in elements of fiction to make a better story. Trust is the most valuable commodity a brand can have, and this will be instantly lost if the audience realizes you’ve been less than honest in your storytelling.

Be consistent

Once you decide to tell a story in your content marketing approach, it’s important to keep your story consistent over the various channels you use. For example, you want to avoid publishing something on Facebook that directly contradicts an article on your website news feed.

To avoid recruiting full-time staff, you may be using freelancers, news writing services, or various copywriting services. You may possibly even be using a mix of different freelancers and services for different channels. It’s therefore vital to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your story.

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