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Friday 6 September 2013

The Power of Story Telling: Content Strategy Tweaks Businesses Can Implement Today (Syed Balkhi)

The Power of Story Telling: Content Strategy Tweaks Businesses Can Implement Today
Have you ever been at a conference where the speaker talked, or should I say read, from their PowerPoint deck and you couldn't stop yourself from yawning? The worst part is after the talk, you forgot all about what they were talking about even before leaving your seat? I have had a lot of those experiences in the past, but I have also attended keynotes where the speaker barely looks at their notes and instead tells a riveting story about their experience. These kind of talks always get me thinking and often inspire me to take action. Story telling is a powerful tool. To be effective in business, the ability to tell your story is a must if you expect to grow and attract an audience to your brand.
Creating unique and useful content is a great way for you to inform your clients and potential customers about your products or services. Content created for the sole purpose of selling is often woefully ineffective because it fails to tell a story. Remember when you were in school? Which professors or classes did you enjoy the most? Which ones were most memorable for you? For me, it was the professors that were great story tellers in teaching lessons.
Why Use Stories In Your Content Strategy?
Thanks to online content marketing, business owners are now able to reach many more people in a much more efficient manner. Along with using content marketing to attract the attention of potential customers, content must also be able to move people in order to be truly effective. One way to accomplish this is by telling stories. Compelling stories entertain, inform and offer value to your customers which makes them more likely to engage with your brand.
Telling Your Story Humanizes Your Brand
Storytelling should not be used solely as a selling tool. It should be used as a medium to build strong relationships with your clients and customers and to transform them into strong loyal advocates of your brand. I consume a lot of content myself, and I am often more likely to be inspired by other content producers who share their personal story instead of just selling to me. Stories offer your readers relatable human perspectives that help them better connect with your brand.
Stories Help Your Audience Better Understand Complex Ideas
Some ideas and theories are difficult to understand on the surface. When you utilize story telling as a narrative to illustrate complex concepts and ideas, it can help make your message easier to connect with and much more relatable.
Stories Help Establish Your Authority
When you tell a story about your professional successes, it tends to better build your authority. When you share stories about your experience and not just the usual boring bullet points, you not only give your readers a glimpse into your business, but your story also serves as a testimonial to your success.
How You Can Use Story Telling In Your Content Marketing?
The ability to tell great stories can have a dramatic impact on the way we think act and feel. Our brains are, after all, wired to tell stories. Stories can be a great way to capture your readers imagination. They can also help make things much more relatable in a way that cold, hard facts simply can't. If you want your message to cut through the noise, here are some tweaks you can add to your content marketing strategy:
Begin Your Articles With A Story
One of the best ways to quickly capture your audience's attention is by starting off with a story. It's one thing for visitors to click on your link because of the title, but it's whole other thing to get them to read the entire article. You can certainly share anecdotes and metaphors, but by telling a story that relates to your personal experience, your audience will be much more likely to relate to your brand on a deeper level. Everyone has a story to tell. We are all shaped by our life experiences, both professionally and personally. When you share your story, you give your readers the opportunity to better connect with you and your brand making them feel that they know you personally.
Use Photos And Images To Tell Your Story
As the popular saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Why do you think Instagram is such a huge hit? People enjoy sharing and looking at photos. It allows them a brief peek into their friend's lives. There are several ways you can use images and photos to tell stories as part of your content marketing efforts:
  • Make use of infographics when sharing significant milestones or data. Instead of just writing in all text, why not use images to communicate those same ideas. Not only is it more interesting to read, it is very impactful and easy to share.
  • In order to make your content more compelling on social networks, use images when sharing your links. Make sure to choose relevant and attention grabbing images that represent your brand's story and message.
Tell Your Story Through Video
Aside from photos, video is another effective way to connect with your audience. Videos allow you to tell your story visually. With advances in technology, you can now create professional looking videos without breaking the bank. Here are some ways you can incorporate video into your story telling strategy:
  • Instead of the usual photo and text formatted post, add a video of yourself as part of your about page.
  • Take advantage of the popularity of social video sharing sites like Vine and Instagram. Not only are they cost effective, but you are also able to connect with people where they are already engaged.
  • Consider using UGC or (User Generated Content) as part of your story telling strategy. Create contests or ask your readers or customers to send in their videos related to a campaign you're running. This way they can participate by telling their stories too and feel like a real part of your community.
User generated content has worked great for us. We've utilized it on several occasions. For example our twitter tips and blogging tips article were a big hit. We also used this to gain traction for a new site, and it worked prefectly.
Tap Into Your Client's Success Stories

Most people have compelling stories to tell and this includes your clients. If you have built a meaningful, long term relationship with them, then you probably already know their story. However, before you tap into your client's stories, you have to make sure you get their permission first. Most will be happy to share their stories as long as you don't reveal confidential information. Not only are you helping your client build their authority, but you are also inspiring your customers and readers. There are several ways to tell your client's story. You can certainly do it through a written article, but why not consider doing an interview with your client about how they have built a successful company and share it with your community.
The beauty of telling your client's story is that when potential clients read your content, they learn from your client's unique story. You also build on the relationship you have with your client and increase the possibility of working with them in the future.
I have shared my story with products I use. For example my article on HitTail is widely referenced.
Content marketing is here to stay. People will always seek out content that entertains, informs and is relevant to their interests. Companies must implement effective ways to share meaningful content if they expect to grow and thrive in the 21st century. Tell interesting stories and tell them well. What's your story? How will you incorporate your story into your marketing strategy? Share with us by leaving a comment.

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