Richard Branson writes his own blog posts. No, It's true. The founder of the multi-billion dollar corporation Virgin Group Ltd. churns out content for his company website each week, presumably from a swinging hammock in the middle of his luxury private paradise of Necker Island. Or at least that's how I picture him working.
Granted, a figure of his stature has no trouble garnering an audience to his written word, but there are fundamental elements to his blogs that reach top-of-mind awareness, engage readers, and create brand believers.
Ah, the art of storytelling - it is what captures attention and ultimately turns readers into customers. If you take a lesson from Branson, his ability to captivate is by simply drawing from his own business experience, sharing ideas and advice, and interacting with his audience via comments and social media. But there's more to it.
Want to add some zest to your content marketing strategy? Let's crack the code on how to capture your audience through the art form of storytelling.
A prospective customer needs to be inspired to help make a purchase decision easier. Too often, we don't realize the inspiration that makes us buy one product over another; Starbucks over Dunkin' Donuts (or vice versa). HubSpot says it best: "Marketers should be inserting themselves into their stories. Brand stories are not objective. In fact, the most successful ones are highly subjective." In other words, storytelling inspires people to take action.
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2. Personal Touch
People want to see the human side of a business. It's why companies now turn to social media platforms in order to boost visibility and connect with customers. Branson uses this ingredient in his blog posts when he discusses issues that speak out to him on a personal level like climate change or human rights. In one blog, "Living in the moment in Las Vegas," he writes about how he confronted a large audience at a speaking engagement and controlled the energy of the room with animated positivity and fun.
3.Share The Spotlight
It's too easy to take the corporate route and present a blog post about how your product or service has helped someone else. Actually, that's a blogging faux pas! Instead, make your next blog post a story about someone who has helped YOU. After all, blog posts are the pathway to educating your readers with content that resonates with them.
All of the great tales passed down from generation to generation have two essential ingredients that activate our brain; a challenge and a resolution. It's a brilliant marketing strategy that has bolstered some of the most successful brands to date. In order to capture your audience, create storytelling that's relatable.
Dove's slogan revolves around leaving your 'face and body feeling soft, smooth, and more radiant than ordinary soap.'
Challenge: ordinary soap bars strip skin of essential nutrients.
Solution: Dove provides a moisturizing cleanser that cares for the skin.
One way to develop an impactful marketing strategy is by creating a need. What better brand to illustrate this than Starbucks? Starbucks customers are willing to wait a little longer, pay a little more, and likely to remain loyal. Whether their customers are buying the experience or the story is debatable, but the point is that the power to change cultural behavior lies within a brand's ability to influence; this ultimately starts with storytelling.
7. What Are People Talking About?
Keep your ears open for any topics that have the potential to translate into avaluable blog post to be shared with your target audience. What do you discuss with your family and friends? Any interesting talks come up at the office or on your daily commute on public transportation?
Every great marketing plan is built upon the effective communication of a story. It's what bonds you to your readers as you develop credibility. Your brand is more likely to stand out among the crowd and capture your audience by offering an honest and personal insight into your company, rather than basic facts that bore. In fact, a recent study conducted by The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) found that consumers favor emotions, personal feelings, and experiences over information and facts; and that such a strategy was found to be more influential.
How has storytelling influenced your business? What elements have you used that made an impact on your brand? Share your stories with us!