Content marketing or even marketing in general is a lot like telling a story. You need a relevant subject and interesting anecdotes to accent your points. But more often than not, people do not associate a website's content with telling a story.
But here’s the thing. Engaging your customers online is like telling a story. You get people interested in who you are and what you offer with the story you tell through digital and social media. You get them to come back to your website time after time through storytelling. If you do not tell the right story, in the right way, consumers lose interest.
So how do you tell a good story in the digital world? These 7 tips for digital storytelling will help you capture attention and build trust.
1. Be genuine.
Marketing can be tough. All marketers are liars, right? That’s what some people think, so it’s your job to convince them otherwise. You have conveyed your brand’s message in a way that is honest and appeals to people. Spend a minute thinking about the recent stories that have been proven to be false and how that worked out for people. Or even think about that phrase that all of us have heard over the last 3-4 years, “Fa#@ News”. Do you want to be associated with that?
2. Utilize your resources.
Not sure you have a story? There are so many around you that you can tell. Use them! You have access to clients, your staff, and industry full of people willing to talk. Tell those stories. Most of your clients or staff probably won’t take the initiative to share their stories on Facebook or other social media outlets. Seek their stories out and share them.
3. Seek out stories and write them down.
This one seems simple enough, but most of us forget to do jot things down…which means we forget about them. Keep a running log of things you can use in the future. If you overheard an employee talking to a customer and felt the message was great, write it down, record it, do whatever it takes to get a record of that story so you can retell it down the road. It’s not every day that you get to share how your company helped make someone’s dream come true or life easier. But if you look for these stories, you might be surprised at how often they actually do happen. Write them down so you can remember to share your story with the community. That also helps you avoid those social media upkeep panic moments, because you’ll always have a good story to use.
4. Ask others to share their stories.
This tip goes with the one above. Sometimes you are not going to be able to tell a story as well as the person who originally experienced it. If that story helps further the community you are growing or helps engage your customer base, ask the individual to guest blog or sit down for an interview. You can’t get more genuine that that. Plus, everyone else sees a customer who cares enough or had a good enough experience to share their story with the world. That’s powerful!
5. Pick the right moment.
This is probably just a general marketing rule, but even the best stories will fall on deaf ears if they are not told at the right moment. Think about it and plan. You want the right message, in front of the right people, at the right time. There’s nothing wrong with using tools to schedule part of your digital engagement, but if you forget to monitor what’s happening in the world you could accidentally make your brand appear insensitive, self-absorbed, or just tuned out of what’s trending.
6. Be creative.
Again, this is marketing 101. In addition to being creative with how you tell your story, the whole process needs to be creative. You need to look in different places to find the stories. Of course take the obvious ones that come your way, but don’t forget to turn over a few rocks or dig a little deeper so you can deliver something unexpected every once in a while. Then challenge yourself to find new and interesting ways to share those stories instead of doing the same thing every time.
7. Pick the right medium
Some stories can only be told in person, face to face. Others can work well in a video or as a speech. Some have the greatest impact when paired with an image, making them good choices for channels like Instagram or Facebook. Some are easy to tell in a few words, while others take a little more explaining. The point is, you need to find a way to deliver your story that fits the story and your community. Choosing the right medium will help you maximize the impact of each story and get it in front of the most relevant audience.
When it comes down to it, a lot of the work we do is storytelling. One way or another we are trying to help our clients tell their story to the world. Your brand has a story. As a marketer, part of your challenge (and opportunity!) is to find all the different chapters, scenes, and memorable lines that make up that story and share them with the world. If this is done correctly, it will help you grow your community and engage your customer base in a way that improves the relationship.