By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Oct 13, 2023
Everyone has jumped onto the content marketing bandwagon it seems. 69% of businesses plan to increase their content marketing budgets this year according to a survey by Semrush. This isn’t a big surprise, since 91% of in the 2021 survey claimed success with their content marketing. But it’s not enough to just push keyword-rich content out there. You need to grab the attention of your client’s audience and hold it. After all, the average person is exposed to thousands of commercial messages each day. So how can you break through the clutter to motivate your audience to action. Storytelling will grab your audience’s attention.
A good story has captured our imaginations from gatherings around the warmth of the first fires through to today. Marketing technology is all well and good, but it’s not nearly enough. Storytelling touches our humanity, and emotions to motivate people to buy.
It can be hard for us to relate to product or service descriptions or technical reviews. They often just sort of all sound the same. But when we tell a story of how someone used a product or how it changed their life, it can make it real. Good stories can often engender emotion, which makes your message more real and authentic. Stories help people relate to your company and its product and services. When people are touched by stories of your client’s product or service, they are much more likely to engage.
Our brains are hard-wired to respond to stories. They engage a different, older part of our brains than data and facts. Stories lower our defenses, and make us more receptive. Stories can motivate us to action when they engage our emotions. Sure, we still want to see that list of features, but it’s more to confirm a choice we are already leaning toward emotionally.
Consider the Taster’s Choice instant coffee commercials (easily found on YouTube) from the 90’s. In the first commercial, a woman knocks neighbor’s door to borrow some coffee. He turns out to be a charming man, and thus begins a romance that lasted through years of commercials. (As a point of geek interest, the man in the commercials was played by Anthony Stewart Head, best known for his role as Buffy’s watcher in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) People discussed these commercials as they might a soap opera. Would the coffee couple would finally get together and tie the knot thanks to their many coffee dates? And here we are still talking about them.
Building an emotional connection builds trust. When you humanize your client’s brand through storytelling, it helps build trust in the brand. People today do not want to buy from soulless, faceless corporations. They want to buy from people they can trust.
You can tell people all day long that your hardware client’s new laptop is fast. But speed is an abstract concept. A story about how your new laptop’s speed helped a student win a gaming competition and a scholarship brings it much closer to home.
Also, for complex products and features, a story can illustrate in a way that a data-based explanation can’t. You know all those examples your grade school teachers used for math problems? “Johnny has six oranges, but gives two to Fred. How many are left?” That’s basic story telling.
Another example that marketers can better relate to are customer success stories and case studies. The whole point of these is to illustrate how a company or a person with a specific problem can be helped by your client’s products or services. A case study can walk prospects through how people or businesses product’s features to achieve success. Storytelling illustrates how that new feature can make all the difference in helping the buyer succeed.
As a marketer, you know the fierce competition for eyes and ears these days. Storytelling can grab attention in a way that a dry recitation of features and benefits can’t. And once you grab attention, storytelling helps keeps readers engaged. All stories are not the same, but every story should have a hook. They may entertain, inspire, educate or maybe even surprise your audience.
Stories can bring people together in a common belief or cause. For decades, many people have been rabidly positive about the Apple brand. And a lot of that can be attributed to Apple’s adeptness at the art of storytelling. One example is the Mac’s first televised commercial at the Super Bowl of an amazon throwing a hammer through a screen of a Big Brother figure lecturing an audience of drones. Another is a video shown at the iPhone 15 launch which showed eight people who were able to celebrate another birthday because their lives were saved by a feature on an Apple device.
When storytelling is done right, it drives action. Engendering positive emotions and trust, creating clear, memorable messages, grabbing attention and keeping it, all can result in a significant brand boost that results in significantly higher conversions. If you want people to buy from your client and remain loyal, humanize their brand through storytelling. This includes telling stories about their business to make the business transparent, such as how they got started and how they do things. It also includes actual customer stories and fictional stories that illustrate how the product can help people’s lives or businesses.
If you need help with your client’s marketing strategy, including content marketing and storytelling, set up a free consultation with Umbrella through our website or call us at (866) 760-2638.
This week we told you why your clients need storytelling make their brands memorable. Next week, we will tell you how to do it.
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