Beyond Content Strategy Part 1: Storytelling
Moving from content strategy to storytelling – making evergreen pieces to support your brand.
Everyone knows that content strategy is the cornerstone to any modern marketing effort. You have been developing content for your brand for awhile – producing articles, infographics, perhaps even videos that show off your product and services, expertly targeted to specific segments of your market. Now it’s time to take the next step!
It’s time for some brand storytelling.
With the explosive growth of social media and content marketing, there are huge opportunities to step beyond messages to truly tell the story of your brand in a
Storytelling goes beyond a simple sales pitch, it is your chance to cast your brand as the hero, building a message that crosses platforms and unifies your marketing message.
Content strategy can be:
- Unified across platforms
- Your message to the world.
Simply put, brand storytelling is the process of crafting a message that summarizes your brand’s journey, an effort that will last for a long time and can convey your message in ways that piecemeal content never could.
By harnessing the power of storytelling with evergreen content, you are creating marketing tools that last longer and do more. It’s that simple!
What is Evergreen Content?
Evergreen content is SEO content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers.
Evergreen web content has no expiration date and ideally will retain its value over the long-term.
Evergreen content is not:
- Articles focused on a current trend or pop culture fad
- pieces about a specific holiday
- A one-off piece to target a specific segment
What Is Storytelling?
Humans are social animals who communicate through stories. Throughout our history, we have relied on stories to pass information, share knowledge, inspire and warn. Even in our data-driven 21st century world, stories are a deeply-rooted shortcut to influence customers and obtain a valuable emotional buy-in from your customers.
Emotion, authenticity, personal connections and narrative – These are the cornerstones of brand storytelling.
How Do You Combine Evergreen Content and Storytelling For Your Brand?
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand and a main component of a truly integrated content marketing approach.You are giving your products and services an identity – capturing and sharing their stories- and by doing so, you take your target audience on a journey. In order for consumers to form a personal connection with your brand, company stories must be authentic, creative and inspirational.
Creative ways to harness the power of storytelling:
- Curate user-generated content
- Sharie content from executive leaders, employees, and brand advocates.
- Interview customers or audience members and share how your brand helped them solve their problem.
- Develop stories around misconceptions or social issues that resonate with their fans.
When crafting your brand story, you must illustrate what your voice is, what you stand for and why it matters to the lives of the audience – each member of which has their own stories.
Outline concrete steps to be taken – and show readers how they can recognize the reward.
These stories can be useful for years because they evoke the same emotions each time and portray the same emotions.
Why Is This Great For Your Brand?
Brands gain increased engagement with storytelling because:
- It appeals to viewers’ preference for visceral content that relates to them.
- It allows for non-linear narratives across multiple platforms that fall in line with the way web users explore content.
- It unites multiple marketing efforts to create a ‘snowball effect.’
- It stands out from the usual types of content marketing formats.
- It allows the end user to participate in the story being told.
Storytelling is not just inventing a story. Instead, it is sharing the very reason why your business exists, why you have developed products and services and why you do what you do.
Good storytelling isn’t even directly about you, your brands and your solutions/products. It’s about emotions, experiences, needs and the written and unwritten images associated with these emotions and needs.
Different Ways to Deliver Your Message
Brand storytelling is no longer limited to just text and images. Today, marketers are able to use a variety of media to share stories, including:
- Video series and streaming video via Periscope, Meerkat, Twitch.tv, and Blab.
- Podcasts, radio shows, other audio segments.
- Comics and creative manifestos.
- Interactive experiences that incorporate text, video, images, audio, and animations.
While characters like Allstate‘s Mayhem can be very effective in presenting brand messages and stories in a variety of ways, you don’t need to create a fictional mascot to tell brand stories.
For example, create buyer personas and tell stories from their perspectives. Tell stories from your employees’ points of view or from a third-person point of view. This allows your users to envision themselves in the story, and encourages them to take an active emotional stake.
The important thing is to create characters that enable your audience to become emotionally connected to them to such an extent that the audience wants to follow their character arcs.
With storytelling, your goal is to go beyond a simple content strategy to begin building a unified message. By doing this, you will surround your consumers with a variety of experiences that allow them to interact with your brand.